Rep. Bill Pascrell tests positive for COVID, says it ‘spreads like wildfire’

Rep. Bill Pascrell is Congress’ latest breakthrough COVID-19 case, with the 84-year-old announcing Thursday that he had tested positive for the virus.

“Today I tested positive for COVID,” Pascrell (D-NJ) said in a statement. “I am fully vaccinated and boostered. Blessedly, my symptoms are mild. I am working from home and will closely monitor my health.” 

“Omicron spreads like wildfire and is no joke,” he added. “If you haven’t yet, get off your butt and get vaccinated and get boostered: these shots are the only reason my case is luckily mild. Don’t worry about me: get your shots!” 

Pascrell is serving his 13th term in Congress since first being elected in 1996 and last week announced his intention to run for re-election in 2022. 

At least 11 other members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 since Dec. 19, with all saying they were experiencing mild or no symptoms.

Pascrell is the latest of at least 12 members of Congress to have tested positive for COVID-19 since Dec. 19.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Monday, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) announced his “breakthrough” case. 

“Today, after being notified of a recent exposure, I tested positive with a breakthrough case of COVID-19,” the 75-year-old wrote on Twitter. “Fortunately, I am fully vaccinated and recently received my booster shot. I am feeling fine and currently have no symptoms.” 

“I will be quarantining and following the latest guidance from the @CDCgov and @ChiPublicHealth,” Rush added. “As cases rise and the Omicron variant spreads throughout the nation, I encourage everyone who has not yet done so to get vaccinated and get boosted as soon as possible.”

Last week, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Reps. Antonio Delgado (D-NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) announced that they had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Other members of Congress who have recently revealed their diagnoses include Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), as well as Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). 

Former Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) also tested positive for the virus last week, nearly eight months into her pregnancy. 

Congress is currently in recess for the holidays. The House will not reconvene until Jan. 10, giving Pascrell and other infected members plenty of time to recover under the new CDC quarantine guidance. The Senate is scheduled to reconvene Jan. 3.

The breakthrough cases come amid the latest spike in COVID-19 infections as millions of Americans travel across the country for the holidays. Omicron, the most recent variant of the virus, is believed to be behind the massive surge as it is more easily transmissible. 

Earlier this month, President Biden announced several steps to combat the surge — including opening new federal testing sites and mailing half a billion at-home COVID test kits to those who request them starting next month.