Three U.S. senators have tested positive for coronavirus in a single day, despite having been vaccinated. Republican Roger Wicker – Mississippi, Democrat John Hickenlooper – Colorado, and Independent Angus King – Maine, announced on Thursday, August 19, that they had tested positive for COVID-19.
Hickenlooper, 69, said on Twitter, “I’ve tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19. I feel good but will isolate per doctor’s instructions.” As a precautionary measure, he has urged people to get fully vaccinated against the virus.
Wicker, 70, is reportedly experiencing mild symptoms. The top Republican on the Democratic-led Senate Commerce Committee is fully vaccinated, in good health, and being treated by his physician in Mississippi. “He is isolating, and all close contacts have been notified,” said Philip Waller, Senator Wicker’s Communications Director.
King, 77, disclosed on Twitter via his press team, “In spite of being vaccinated and taking necessary precautions, I tested positive for COVID-19 this morning. While I’m not feeling great, I’m feeling much better than I would have without the vaccine.” He further added that he will announce updates on his overall condition and recovery in the days to come. Additionally, he reiterated the importance of following up-to-date infection control guidelines from public health officials.
“While people are ready to move past COVID-19 and return to normal, the virus isn’t done with us yet. We must continue to look out for each other and remain united against this dangerous disease”, he commented.
The number of vaccinated senators who tested positive for coronavirus has risen to four after Republican Lindsey Graham – South Carolina, divulged his diagnosis on August 2. The 66-year-old Tweeted, “I developed flu-like symptoms. I’m glad I was vaccinated because if I wasn’t, I’m certain that I would not feel as well as I do.” Senator Graham has since made a full recovery, gone back to the Senate, and is urging unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.
Across the Senate and the House of Representatives, 71 members have now tested positive for COVID-19, according to nonpartisan monitoring group GovTrack. Among those was the 67-year-old Republican Ron Wright, who passed away from the virus on February 7, 2021, two weeks after contracting COVID-19.
This spate of infections affecting members of Congress who have been fully vaccinated is being driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. Referred to as “breakthrough infections,” these cases are being discovered in people who were fully immunized at least 14 days before catching the virus.
Breakthrough infections, however, remain rare. Moreover, among those who have tested positive after receiving both doses of a vaccine, the risk of severe disease remains much lower.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 166 million people in the United States are fully immunized. Within this group, there have been 8,000 breakthrough coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Currently, both the Senate and the House are on recess. They are expected back into the session on September 13th and 20th, respectively.