More Than Three Dozen Capitol Police Have Reportedly Tested Positive for COVID-19 Since the U.S. Capitol Riot

Virginia Chamlee
·3 min read

Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty U.S. Capitol building breached

At least 38 Capitol Police officers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the wake of the attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee told CNN on Sunday.

While the outlet noted that it's unclear how many of the those officers were on duty during the attack, health officials had earlier warned that the large gathering that turned violent on Jan. 6 had all the markings of a super spreader event.

"I do think you have to anticipate that this is another surge event," former U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield said in an interview earlier this month with McClatchy. "You had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol."

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A spokesperson for the Capitol Police labor committee did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for the latest number of positive tests among its officers on Monday.

The Jan. 6 riot took place after former President Donald Trump urged a crowd of supporters to march to the Capitol building and "fight like hell," in support of his effort to overturn the 2020 election results. Rioters violently clashed with police, killing five people.

The next week, Trump, 74, was impeached by the House of Representatives a second time on one charge of "incitement of insurrection."

Capitol Police has come under fire for its response to the riots. One Capitol police officer was among the five dead in connection with the insurrection attempt. Officer Brian D. Sicknick died from injuries he sustained "while physically engaging with protesters" during the rampage, the USCP previously said.

On Jan. 11, another United States Capitol Police officer who responded to the violent riots died by suicide, according to a family spokesman.

Several members of the Capitol Police were suspended for their behavior during the riots, with acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman saying in a statement that the suspensions came after the department reviewed video and other source materials of USCP officers and officials, which "appear to be in violation of Department regulations and policies" during the riot.

"Our Office of Professional Responsibility will investigate these behaviors for disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination," Pittman said.

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Several lawmakers who were forced to evacuate the Senate and House chambers and shelter in place also tested positive for COVID-19 following the riots. Some of the Democratic lawmakers who tested positive blamed their Republican colleagues for not wearing masks while under lockdown.

"We all got stuck in that room with Republicans who refuse to wear masks," Rep. Pramila Jayapal, of Washington, told PEOPLE after the Capitol attack.

Congress' Office of the Attending Physician told lawmakers in the days following the insurrection that they "may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection" during their prolonged time in lockdown.

The doctor urged lawmakers to take preventative measures against spreading the virus.

Shortly after the coup, then President-elect Joe Biden scolded the members of Congress who refused to wear masks during the attempted coup.

"Quite frankly, it was shocking to see members of the Congress, when the Capitol was under siege by a deadly mob of thugs, refusing to wear a mask while they were in secure locations," Biden, 78, said.

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