Update: About 50 minutes after writing this~8:50am (but before the 10am publication), Democratic Senator Durbin’s office announced he has contracted COVID.
There are many reasons why the geriatric age of many Senate Democrats (including some of the good ones!) is an issue, but it’s particularly a problem during a fucking pandemic…
I’ve written this before, but if I were a senator, I would institute really rigorous office screening and wear a mask. Moreover, if enough of them get it, someone will get long COVID and be unable to attend for months (or even have to resign)–this applies to Biden administration officials too. And many of them are old, very old, and could be at risk for severe disease.
Democrats is learning! (boldface mine)
More Zoom. More masks. And more tests.
Facing the congressional calendar crunch and a wave of new infections, Senate Democrats are taking extra precautions to avoid further spread of Covid-19 within their ranks and help ensure they have enough votes to pass health-care legislation next week. The additional measures illustrate the party’s slim majority as it seeks to push through major policies.
Democrats canceled their weekly lunch Tuesday and instead spoke virtually. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of Schumer’s leadership team, said other in-person meetings among senior members of the caucus were also moved online…
All 50 members of the caucus and Vice President Kamala Harris would have to vote in person to approve the party-line bill if all Republicans are present and vote no. Time is running short for the marathon amendment process known as vote-a-rama that’s necessary to send the reconciliation bill back to the House.
Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) Covid infection deprived the majority of a full roster through this week. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hasn’t voted since June as he recovers from hip surgery, but his office has said he can be available for votes if needed.
“It just goes to show how critical how every senator’s vote is, that even having one or two not here really causes a lot of delays,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said.
Best system of government tho. And it would be nice if our policy makers thought the rest of us should be protected too. But baby steps I guess.
There was one discordant note though:
“Every possible meeting that we can make virtual is virtual, and more of us are masking up, ” Warren said. “Also, lots of hand sanitizer.”
Senator Warren is smarter than that*, though it does illustrate how little most politicians, even the smarter ones–and their staffers–really understand about most biological topics.
*Though having a senator absent due to a stomach virus would be just as bad. But this provides minimal protection against COVID, relative to masking.