Three Democrat Texas state legislators who fled from Austin to Washington, D.C. on two private planes last week have tested positive for COVID-19. The Democrats pulled the stunt to break quorum in the Texas House of Representatives and shut down voting on an election integrity bill. The pictures posted on social media of them inside the planes, all maskless, have come back to bite them.
While traditional media outlets sing their praises and describe the Texas Democrats as heroes who are saving democracy or something, the fact is that they arrogantly traveled by air to Washington, sitting in very close quarters and ignoring the latest statement from the FAA – wearing a face mask is required of air travelers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) remind the traveling public that at this time if you travel, you are still required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
The message sent from the fleebaggers is that they don’t have to follow the rules like everyone else, they don’t even have to show up for work if they don’t like the agenda. Did the three who have tested positive for COVID-19 contact it from fellow flyers that day? We don’t know. The names of those who are infected have not been released, according to the Austin American-Statesman. What we do know is that one Democrat tested positive on Friday night and two others did on Saturday morning after taking rapid tests.
One of the three members found out about their positive test result late Friday evening, but doesn’t have symptoms, caucus officials said. All House lawmakers were alerted and received a rapid test after that member’s positive result.
Two additional members tested positive in a rapid test Saturday morning, including state Rep. Celia Israel of Austin. Israel said in a statement that she is experiencing mild symptoms and plans to quarantine until she tests negative for the virus.
The three who tested positive on the rapid tests will receive a PCR coronavirus test, a more sensitive and accurate COVID-19 test. The positive members will isolate for 10 days before taking a follow-up test, according to a memo obtained by the American-Statesman.
The three members are vaccinated. The caucus did not release their names, but Israel confirmed her positive test to the American-Statesman.
To be clear, the Texas House Democratic Caucus did not identify the three who are infected. One state representative confirmed her test result to the Austin newspaper.
The fact that all of the lawmakers are fully vaccinated and still became infected is being pointed to as proof that the coronavirus is still with us.
In a statement, Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie, the caucus chair, said the caucus is adhering to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and following protocols. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and they are showing no symptoms. Also, if traveling in the United States, fully vaccinated people do not need to get tested or self-quarantine before or after travel.
“This is a sober reminder that COVID is still with us, and though vaccinations offer tremendous protection, we still must take necessary precautions,” Turner said. “We are in touch with public health experts in Texas to provide additional guidance. Our caucus will follow all recommendations from public health experts as we continue our work.”
A small percentage of vaccine breakthrough cases, in which a fully vaccinated person tests positive for the coronavirus, have been expected, according to the CDC, but they are rare and do not discount the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
When the Speaker of the House, a Republican, extended well wishes to the three via Twitter, one Democrat responded with her thanks. Her name may be familiar as she was the one who posted a picture of her underwear drying in her hotel bathroom.
— Donna Howard (@DonnaHowardTX) July 17, 2021
Howard has a background in nursing and is reported to have contacted a public health official for guidance on how the infected Democrats should handle the positive test results. Apparently, it is no big deal – they are to monitor themselves for any symptoms and no quarantine is necessary since they are fully vaccinated. Most of the Democrats are staying in the same hotel.
They have visited with many Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the D.C. area.
Members of the delegation have spent the last week meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris and congressional Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Cory Booker of New Jersey as they try pushing for passage of new federal voting rights legislation. They have also met with Senator Elizabeth Warren.
One of the state representatives making a name for himself on social media – and not in a good way – has been active posting snarky tweets about wearing masks and mask mandates. Self-awareness is hard for this guy. He didn’t appreciate those who were pointing out that no one wore masks on the plane.
Thank you @texascr!!!
I know the Old Republicans are pushing anti-mask and anti-vaccine positions.
It is tremendously brave of you to buck that trend and support full masking and full vaccinations!
There's hope for you yet. https://t.co/WudSjvH0yL
— Gene Wu (@GeneforTexas) July 17, 2021
The highest level person the Democrats have met with is President-in-Waiting Kamala. Her office isn’t too concerned about the news.
“On Tuesday, July 13th, Vice President Harris met with members of the Texas state legislature who are temporarily in Washington, D.C.,” Symone Sanders, Harris’s senior adviser and chief spokesperson, said in a statement late Saturday.
“Earlier today, it was brought to our attention that two of the members at that meeting tested positive for COVID-19. Based on the timeline of these positive tests, it was determined the Vice President and her staff present at the meeting were not at risk of exposure because they were not in close contact with those who tested positive and therefore do not need to be tested or quarantined. The Vice President and her staff are fully vaccinated,” Sanders added.