- Rep. Tom Rice, a South Carolina Republican, announced on Monday that he, his wife, and his son had been infected with the coronavirus.
- But just two weeks ago, Rice appeared on the House floor in Washington without a face covering.
- The conservative congressman said he was able to maintain 6 feet of distance from everyone on Capitol Hill and didn’t need to wear a mask.
- Rice said he came down with relatively mild symptoms of the virus on June 7 and that his son suffered from “a high fever and really bad cough.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Rep. Tom Rice, a South Carolina Republican, announced on Monday that he, his wife, and his son had been infected with the coronavirus. But just two weeks ago, Rice appeared on the House floor in Washington without a face covering.
When CNN reporter Manu Raju asked Rice why he wasn’t wearing a mask in the chamber on May 28, the congressman said he could maintain at least 6 feet of distance from everyone on the floor and in the halls of the Capitol and therefore didn’t need to wear a mask. COVID-19 can spread even from asymptomatic carriers.
“I do wear it sometimes on the floor,” he told Raju in May. “I make an effort to … stay 6 feet away from folks in accordance with guidelines. And when I’m forced into a situation where I can’t do that – like on a plane – I do wear a mask.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone wear a cloth face covering when they cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others.
GOP Rep. Tom Rice, who announced today he and his family were diagnosed with covid-19 last week, wasn’t wearing a mask on House floor when chamber was in session on May 28. I asked him why not, and he told me then: “I’m socially distancing. I’m staying six feet away from folks.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 15, 2020
Rice announced in a Monday Facebook post that he and his family had contracted the virus and were recovering from COVID-19, which he referred to as the “Wuhan Flu.”
“I wanted to let you know that all 3 members of our household: Wrenzie, our son Lucas, and I all have the Wuhan Flu. We are all on the mend and doing fine,” Rice wrote. “COVID-19 is a serious, sometimes deadly illness. We, however, have fared well.”
Rice said that while the virus was “not bad for me,” his son suffered from “a high fever and really bad cough.” The congressman may have already contracted the virus, and could have spread it to others, when he spent time in the halls of Congress in late May.
“I had a low fever and a mild cough. It was gone by Thursday. I never stopped eating or drinking or working or moving,” Rice said. “The only bad thing is I have completely lost sense of taste and smell. CAN’T TASTE BACON!!!”
Rice, one of eight members of the House who’ve been infected with COVID-19, celebrated being “DONE WITH CORONAVIRUS!”
Like President Donald Trump, a contingent of GOP members of Congress have refused to wear masks in many public indoor settings, despite strong scientific evidence that masks help contain the spread of the highly infectious virus.