When Sen. Mike Lee showed up at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Monday, many people in the media freaked out because he had recently tested positive for Coronavirus. When Lee publicly announced he had received a positive diagnosis, he said he’d be quarantining until the Amy Coney Barrett hearings, which began Monday morning.
That matches with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on when you can safely be around others, which says “You can be around others after: 10 days since symptoms first appeared and 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.” Nevertheless, many media outlets and pundits were alarmed with Senator Lee following that guidance:
GOP Sen. Mike Lee, who tested positive for COVID-19 10 days ago, is attending the Amy Coney Barrett hearings in person and does not wear a mask during his opening statement https://t.co/uScvfX9o80 pic.twitter.com/G4XTaWLkNl
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 12, 2020
GOP Sen. Mike Lee, who tested positive for the coronavirus just 10 days ago, is in attendance at the confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett — and delivered his opening statement without wearing a mask. https://t.co/2FsrK3ukFo
— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) October 12, 2020
NEW: Sen. Mike Lee attended the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in-person and gave his opening statement without a mask, one week after testing positive for the coronavirus.https://t.co/WsImkbTZGx
— Axios (@axios) October 12, 2020
CNN Analyst Joan Walsh:
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) October 12, 2020
Mike Lee is apparently a fifth column among the Republicans, intent on making too many of them sick to confirm Barrett https://t.co/sjthgEJFuo
— Adam Gurri (@adamgurri) October 12, 2020
MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin:
Mike Lee tested positive just 10 days ago and he won't even wear a mask to protect those around him. https://t.co/0R4cpy9umN
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 12, 2020
To be clear: what Mike Lee is currently doing in the US Senate – appearing at a large gathering in a confined indoor space without a mask after testing positive for covid-19 – is illegal in most countries.
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) October 12, 2020
Mike Lee very recently tested positive for COVID-19. He may still be contagious. Here he is at the Senate Judiciary Committee speaking without a mask. pic.twitter.com/s7DoHLLwWi
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 12, 2020
CNN’s Chris Cillizza:
Mike Lee, who had coronavirus within the last 2 weeks, is now speaking without a mask at the in-person Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett.
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) October 12, 2020
Twitter, which has recently ramped up its efforts against Republicans, even put it as a trending topic.
It is unclear why these media figures believed that the CDC guidance should not be followed. In any case, Sen. Lee put out another statement from his attending physican:
Many of you have expressed concern about my health status. Please do read this letter from the Attending Physician. https://t.co/YGxrkPti2V
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) October 12, 2020
The letter, which recommends ending isolation, reads:
“Based upon current CDC guidelines, you have met criteria to end COVID-19 isolation for those with mild to moderate disease. Specifically, it has been greater than 10 days since symptom onset, you have had no fever in absence of fever reducing medication for at least 24 hours, and your other symptoms have improved. The CDC does not recommend repeat SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing if these criteria are met.”
In his opening remarks, Sen. Lee said of Supreme Court justices, “Your job is to decide what the law says” as opposed to inventing the law. Lee clerked on the Supreme Court and has been on President Donald Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees since 2016.