Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) announced Monday that he is among the Republicans in self-quarantine after learning that he came into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference.
Gaetz said he’s awaiting results from testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by this strain of the virus, but has not shown any symptoms.
Gaetz joins Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other Republicans who decided to self-quarantine after finding out they had all interacted with the same infected attendant at CPAC, an annual conference for conservatives.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) announced Monday that he too had interacted with the CPAC attendee but had no plans to self-quarantine.
Last week, Gaetz mocked coronavirus concerns by wearing a gas mask on the House floor just days before an infected man from his Florida district died. He tweeted Monday that he had merely “demonstrated his concern.”
Gaetz was on board Air Force One with President Donald Trump shortly before revealing his situation.
Earlier on Friday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham downplayed the possibility of Trump being vulnerable to COVID-19.
“Yes, he plans on still holding rallies,” she said on Fox News. “And I’ll tell you what: With our president ― this man who doesn’t sleep and who I have seen work 15 to 16 hours a day, every day ― I have no problem thinking that he’s going to be just fine and just healthy.”
Later on Monday, Trump’s new chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who has not yet started the job, confirmed he was self-quarantining for two weeks “out of an abundance of caution” because he, too, came into contact with the infected person at CPAC. However, his test for the virus reportedly came back negative.
As of Monday, there were more than 600 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. ― double the number from Friday. Twenty-six of those infected have died. There have been more than 100,000 cases worldwide, with the majority in mainland China.