Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa revealed on Tuesday evening that he has tested positive for COVID-19, the infection caused by the coronavirus.
The 87-year-old occupies the role of president pro tempore of the Senate, putting him third in line for the presidency.
At such an advanced age, Grassley is at heightened risk of complications and death from the virus.
“This morning, I learned that I have been exposed to the coronavirus,” he said in a statement. “I received a COVID-19 test and immediately began to quarantine.”
He continued: “While I still feel fine, the test came back positive for the coronavirus. I am continuing to follow my doctors’ orders and CDC guidelines. I’ll be keeping up on my work for the people of Iowa from home. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes and prayers, and looked forward to resuming my normal schedule when I can.”
The only senator older than Grassley, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, was seen not wearing a mask around others in the Senate building on Tuesday.
Many Republican officials have had a relatively lax attitude toward the virus, following President Donald Trump’s lead in downplaying its threat and dismissing the importance of countermeasures. This behavior may be particularly dangerous in Congress, where many members are elderly and at risk for severe consequences from infection. However, they may be somewhat protected because they’re likely to receive high-quality medical care should they fall ill.
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