Two Texas lawmakers have chosen two different courses of action after both received confirmation of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Senator Ted Cruz chose to self-quarantine at home in Houston after learning he was exposed to the COVID-19 virus at CPAC. Rep. Louie Gohmert chose to not do that after the same exposure. Gohmert is carrying on with his life as usual.
On March 8, Cruz released a statement explaining his decision to self-quarantine after being contacted 10 days after his exposure. He had a brief conversation with the person at CPAC and shook his hand. Cruz consulted with the Houston Health Department, the Harris County Public Health Department, the CDC, and HHS. He spoke with this personal physician. And, he spoke with Vice-President Pence, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and Mark Meadows. Cruz exhibited no symptoms and said he felt fine. He was told that testing isn’t done until symptoms present themselves and since his interaction with the infected person was for maybe one minute or so, it was unlikely he would develop symptoms. He decided to go ahead and self-quarantine until a full 14 days passed since his exposure. His rationale was that since he is a public figure and interacts with many people every day, he wanted to use an abundance of caution in his decision-making.
Today I released the following statement: pic.twitter.com/XGXEa4ozcg
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) March 8, 2020
Louie Gohmert went the other way. He said a doctor at the CDC cleared him to return to Washington, so he did.
Gohmert did not say which CDC doctor called him on Sunday, but on Monday, the CDC advised Americans that “the novel coronavirus is capable of spreading easily and sustainably from person to person,” and as it spreads to throughout the country, “it’s likely many will become sick but most people likely will have mild illness.”
Not only did Gohmert return to Washington, but he also began conducting tours around the Capitol. On the day after Senator Cruz announced his self-quarantine, Gohmert was leading a group of students estimated to be about 100 on a tour.
This is an enormous group, well over 100 kids pic.twitter.com/BxQx944Rhu
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) March 10, 2020
Mark Meadows, Reps. Doug Collins and Matt Gaetz all decided to self-quarantine after contact with the same person at CPAC. Gohmert is 66 years old, and Meadows is 60 years old. The CDC uses the age of 60 as a marker for older adults who may be more susceptible to the virus. I have to say, I would be in the camp of the self-quarantined if I was told I had been exposed to COVID-19. It’s my nature to operate cautiously and it would just make sense to me to isolate myself from the possibility of coming in contact with anyone else carrying the virus. I have the luxury of working from home and it wouldn’t pose a hardship.
Today Ted Cruz announced that he is extending his self-quarantine for a few more days. He was contacted last night and told that he was exposed to COVID-19 earlier this month as he met with Santiago Abascal, the leader of the Vox Party in Spain.
“Unfortunately, last night I was informed I had a second interaction with an individual who yesterday tested positive for COVID-19,” he said in a statement. “On March 3, I met in my D.C. office with Santiago Abascal, the leader of the Vox Party in Spain. We met for about 20 minutes, sitting together at a conference table. We shook hands twice and took pictures together.”
Cruz added that he does not feel any symptoms of the new coronavirus, which includes fever, cough and difficulty breathing. He is consulting with medical officials and decided to extend his self-quarantine “out of an abundance of caution and to give everyone peace of mind.”
Today I released the following statement on my decision to extend my self-quarantine until March 17 out of an abundance of caution and to give everyone peace of mind: pic.twitter.com/BfleLLXAfz
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) March 13, 2020
As the COVID-19 virus runs its course and lawmakers continue to do their work, we can expect to see more of them under self-quarantine. Senator Lindsay Graham is the latest to announce such action. He spent time at Mar-a-Lago last weekend where the President of Brazil was also visiting. The president’s spokesperson tested positive for the virus.