In a sign of how widespread the Delta outbreak is in the United States, three vaccinated senators tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday — despite being hundreds of miles away from each other during the Senate’s August recess.
The first to make the announcement was Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker, who tested positive on Thursday morning after experiencing “mild symptoms,” according to a spokesperson, who added that he is self-isolating and in “good health.” Hours later, Angus King — Maine’s independent senator who caucuses with Senate Democrats — said he also tested positive for COVID-19. King said in a statement that he sought out a test Thursday morning after “feeling mildly feverish” Wednesday. “While I am not feeling great, I’m definitely feeling much better than I would have without the vaccine,” King said. “I am taking this diagnosis very seriously, quarantining myself at home and telling the few people I’ve been in contact with to get tested in order to limit any further spread.” After “experiencing mild symptoms,” Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper also announced he tested positive on Thursday. He also encouraged his constituents to “get the shot today, and a booster when it’s available too!”
The positive tests — and, more importantly, mild symptoms for the politicians aged 69, 77, and 70 — come as the Biden administration plans to announce that Americans should get a booster shot eight months after their last dose. While data shows that vaccines are extremely effective in curtailing the risk of hospitalization or death upon infection, the Delta variant has impacted the vaccines’ ability to stop the transmission of the coronavirus, though vaccinated people “appear to be infectious for a shorter period,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. With Delta spreading rapidly across the country, the seven-day average of new cases is now above 140,000. That number is at its highest since early February, though deaths remain well less than a third of what they were at that point during the pandemic. Nevertheless, the seven-day average of deaths is at 809, and is once again encroaching on four digits.