Three senators announced Thursday that they had tested positive for the coronavirus in a series of breakthrough infections.
All three senators said they had been vaccinated.
Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a critic of mask mandates on planes and trains, has tested positive, his office said Thursday. A second senator, Angus King, I-Maine, announced later in the day that he had tested positive, as well. And Thursday afternoon, Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., announced that he had the virus.
Wicker’s communications director, Phillip Waller, said Wicker was tested after he experienced “mild symptoms.”
“Senator Wicker is fully vaccinated against Covid, is in good health, and is being treated by his Tupelo-based physician. He is isolating, and everyone with whom Senator Wicker has come in close contact recently has been notified,” Waller said in a statement.
Mississippi has been reeling from the delta variant of the virus. The state’s top health official, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, told reporters Wednesday that Mississippi is experiencing the “worst part of the pandemic.”
“We’re seeing higher and higher numbers of not just cases but hospitalizations, people in intensive care units, life support,” Dobbs said, according to The Washington Post.
Early Thursday afternoon, King announced that he, too, had tested positive.
“While I am not feeling great, I’m definitely feeling much better than I would have without the vaccine,” he said in a statement. He said he is quarantining at home and added that “I urge everyone to remain vigilant, follow the guidance from health professionals, and get vaccinated if you haven’t been.”
In a statement, Hickenlooper said: “I’ve tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19. I feel good but will isolate per docs instructions. I’m grateful for the vaccine (& the scientists behind it!) for limiting my symptoms. If you haven’t gotten your shot — get it today! And a booster when it’s available too!”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tested positive earlier this month and was able to return to work about a week later, a feat he credited to the vaccines.
Wicker made headlines in October when he was spotted with his mask off for extended periods on a Delta flight to Mississippi. His office said he had forgotten to put his mask back on after he had a snack. Wicker was chair of the Senate committee that oversees transportation and airline policy at the time.
In June, Wicker introduced a resolution calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to end mask mandates on planes and trains for people who have been fully vaccinated.
“Federal mask mandates for planes and trains are hogwash,” he wrote on Facebook at the time. “The outbreak of COVID-19 challenged each of us in extraordinary ways, but it is time to reclaim what the past months took from our country.”