Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner, announced that she has tested positive for COVID-19.
Johnny Méndez, leader of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, two of Pedro Pierluisi‘s top aides, Rep. José “Pichy” Torres Zamora, Senators Carmelo Ríos, Luis Burdiel, and William Villafañe, and other members of the legislature also tested positive for the virus. The legislature has closed.
On August 16th, when primary voting concluded, Island leaders gathered to watch results. This appears to be the source of the contagion.
“I think it was a mistake on my part to be in a closed environment,” Gonzalez-Colon said on Facebook Live. “There were a lot of people, and you can’t control who could be infected and who not. That’s a good lesson, not just for politicians but for everyone in general: I think it was a mistake to be in a place with so many people.”
17 members of Congress
Several of the 17 bragged about not wearing masks, and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced that he would not wear a mask in the future because he believes that he is immune to the virus.
Wearing masks prevents virus-bearing droplets from getting into the air, and protects those around the mask-wearer, not the wearer of the mask.
Gonzalez-Colon’s identification of closed environments with lots of people as particularly dangerous is consistent with the current understanding of the disease. As much as 80% of cases are mild or asymptomatic, and those who are infected do not show symptoms immediately, even if they later become ill. It can take up to 14 days for an infection to become apparent. As Gonzalez-Colon said, it is not possible to know who may be carrying the virus, or to control the situation completely.