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18 Mar, 2020 23:03

Coronavirus strikes US Congress: Florida's Diaz-Balart, Utah's McAdams test positive

Coronavirus strikes US Congress: Florida's Diaz-Balart, Utah's McAdams test positive

Democratic representative from Utah Ben McAdams has contracted the coronavirus, becoming the second American congressman to test positive for the fast-spreading illness after Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart.

“My doctor instructed me to get tested for Covid-19 and following his referral, I went to the local testing clinic for a test,” McAdams said in a statement on Wednesday evening. “Today I learned that I tested positive.”

I [will] continue doing my job from home until I know it is safe to end my self-quarantine.

McAdams said he began feeling ill after returning home from the nation’s capital last weekend, developing “mild cold-like symptoms” which worsened into “a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing.”

Florida representative Diaz-Balart announced his own diagnosis earlier on Wednesday, stating his symptoms had subsided.

“I want everyone to know that I am feeling much better,” he said in a statement, but urged others to take the disease “extremely seriously.”

Diaz-Balart added that he entered self-quarantine on Friday out of abundance of caution and stayed in Washington rather than return to South Florida, because that would put his wife at risk due to her pre-existing conditions. He developed symptoms on Saturday, including fever and a headache, and was notified on Wednesday that he was indeed infected by the novel coronavirus.

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Both lawmakers are on the record as voting for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on the House floor late on Friday. An amended version of the bill was adopted in the Senate on Wednesday, allocating billions of dollars to paid sick leave, unemployment benefits and food stamps for Americans affected by the outbreak.

Several other lawmakers have self-quarantined as a precaution since a Covid-19 carrier was reported to have attended the CPAC conference last month, but so far all of their tests have come back negative.

There have been 9,236 confirmed Covid-19 infections in the US so far, and the disease has been reported in every state. More are expected as testing expands. As of Wednesday evening, there have been a total of 150 deaths due to the disease.

Also on rt.com Trump signs ‘families first’ coronavirus act, with additional $1 trillion stimulus in the works

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