Rep. Jim Cooper has tested positive for coronavirus, the Tennessee Democrat announced in a tweet over the weekend.
Cooper, 67, said he only has “mild symptoms, because I have been vaccinated and received my booster. Everyone should be vaccinated and boosted as soon as they’re able. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
As cases surge across the United States due to the omicron variant, dozens of congressmen have tested positive, including several over the weekend.
Since last summer, a total of some 40 congressmen have contracted the coronavirus. At least 20 of those positive cases happened after omicron had been detected, The Hill reported.
Capitol physician Brian Monahan has said that congressional offices should return to “maximal telework” whenever possible and that it was a “critical necessity” to use only “properly fitted, medical-grade, filtration face masks” such as N95s and KN95s, the New York Post reported.
Monahan sent a memo to lawmakers last week in which he said the seven-day average positivity rate at the Capitol’s testing center had sharply increased from under 1% to more than 13%.
He added in his memo that 65% of those who tested positive were symptomatic and that “most” were breakthrough infections in those who had been fully vaccinated.
He stressed, however, that breakthrough cases “have not led to hospitalizations, serious complications, or deaths, attesting to the value of coronavirus vaccinations.”
Monahan pointed out that “the effectiveness of booster vaccinations in raising protection from infection is substantial, even for omicron variant coronavirus.”
Monahan also strongly urged in his memo that congressional lawmakers should comply with the latest recommendations by the CDC if one tests positive in an attempt to prevent more serious cases.