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Rand Paul Becomes the First Senator to Test Positive for the Coronavirus

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Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19 his office announced, becoming the first member of the U.S. Senate confirmed to have been infected by the disease.

In a message posted on Twitter Sunday, the senator’s office announced that he is currently asymptomatic, but “was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events.” He feels “fine” but is in quarantine, the message said.

“He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person,” the statement said. “He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time. Ten days ago, our D.C. office began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Rand Paul.”

On March 5, Paul was the only senator to vote agains a bipartisan $8.3 billion bill intended to help fight the outbreak, which included money for states and local communities to fight the virus as well as funds for public agencies to invest in vaccines, tests and treatments. Last week, he was one of eight senators to vote agains the Families First Coronavirus Response Act last week, which expanded paid sick leave, free COVID-19 testing, as well as additional food and unemployment assistance.

Paul has criticized his fellow Senators for leaning on “spending” to combat the spread of the coronavirus, and has advocated for alternative plans.

Two members of Congress have also tested positive for COVID-19. Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart and Utah Democrat Ben McAdam announced on March 18 that they had quarantined themselves after being tested positive.

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