News & Politics

Texas Democrats in DC Keep Testing Positive for Covid 

Legislators who fled the Lone Star state to thwart GOP voter-suppression plans may have brought the virus with them.

Illustration by Дмитрий Ларичев via iStock.

Six of the 55 Texas Democrats who flew to DC last week in an attempt to thwart a GOP bill that would restrict voting in the state have tested positive for Covid-19 since Friday, the Dallas Morning News reports. That means that their prospects of meeting with President Biden have “dimmed substantially,” Todd J. Gillman writes.

The traveling politicians are all vaccinated, one of the Dems told Gillman, but that doesn’t mean they’re invulnerable: They’re just unlikely to develop serious symptoms. The CDC advises any vaccinated person who has tested positive to isolate for at least ten days, which Democrats in the Texas party say they’re observing in their hotel rooms. The CDC refers to cases of Covid that defy vaccination as “breakthrough cases.”

It’s possible the Texas Democrats have passed on the virus to others in town: An aide to Nancy Pelosi and an unnamed White House official, both fully vaccinated, have tested positive since attending a reception for the lawmakers at the Eaton DC on Monday, Axios reports. (The event was held on the hotel’s roof, but guests could have traveled there by elevator.) Vice President Harris met with the Texas Democrats last week but later tested negative.

The lawmakers flew maskless to Washington on a private jet. Some of them appeared virtually on MSNBC Monday evening, following an admonition from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy: “I didn’t see the picture,” he told Lawrence O’Donnell and Jonathan Capehart, “but what I can tell you in general is that if you are on a plane, if you are on a train, if you are on a bus or in a subway, the guidelines say that you should be wearing masks to protect yourself and to protect others.”

During the height of the covid pandemic, DC had guidelines that required visitors from certain hard-hit states to self-quarantine after coming to Washington. But those guidelines are no longer in force. Now the District advises fully vaccinated people arriving for essential travel (and the Texas Dems can make the case under the rules that that’s what they’re doing) to follow CDC guidelines and employ common-sense precautions.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.