Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is showing symptoms of the disease, while expressing gratitude that he has been vaccinated.
“I feel like I have a sinus infection and at present time I have mild symptoms,” he tweeted. “I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now. My symptoms would be far worse.”
The 66-year-old said he started having flu-like symptoms on Saturday night and went to see a doctor Monday morning. He was seen at the U.S. Capitol on Monday wearing a mask before making his announcement on social media.
Graham said he will quarantine for 10 days.
Health officials ask that people who feel sick stay at home, unless they are seeking medical care, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They should separate themselves from other people, wear a face mask if possible, and call ahead before visiting their doctor.
CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted that over the weekend, Graham attended a houseboat party hosted by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). A spokesperson for Manchin declined to confirm Graham’s attendance to HuffPost, but said that Manchin, 73, is fully vaccinated and is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for people exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
It’s extremely rare for vaccinated people to contract the virus, though it is still possible because no vaccine is 100% effective.
Graham was vaccinated in late December and had publicly encouraged others to get the shot, saying in a social media post: “If enough of us take it, we will get back to normal lives.”
Several prominent conservatives have only recently started to speak out in support of vaccines, including Fox News host Sean Hannity, who’d previously called COVID-19 a “hoax,” and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Recent polls have shown that Republicans are more likely to express vaccine skepticism than people who identify as Democratic or independent. Vaccination rates have also largely been lower in counties that voted Republican in the 2020 presidential election.
Fewer than 45% of residents in South Carolina, a reliable Republican stronghold, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control. This is less than the overall U.S. rate, which is just under 50%, according to the CDC.
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