Three Republican senators test positive for COVID-19, adding to uncertainty surrounding Supreme Court pick

The coronavirus outbreak gripping the White House spread to Capitol Hill on Friday morning, raising the prospect that the virus could disrupt Republicans’ plans to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before the November election.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Judge Amy Coney Barrett spoke after being nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House on Sept. 26. Several people who were in attendance, including the president, have since tested positive for COVID-19, imperiling Barrett's confirmation process.


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Judge Amy Coney Barrett spoke after being nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House on Sept. 26. Several people who were in attendance, including the president, have since tested positive for COVID-19, imperiling Barrett’s confirmation process.

Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary committee — Mike Lee of Utah, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina – revealed Friday that they have tested positive for the potentially deadly disease.

Their positive diagnoses raised concerns that the virus had spread at a Saturday Rose Garden ceremony, at which Trump announced he was nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

On Saturday morning, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said he has tested positive for COVID-19. His office said he is not experiencing symptoms.

The senators are among six people who attended the event, which featured few masks and little social distancing, who have since tested positive for the virus.

Trump, the first lady, and top Trump aide Hope Hicks all attended the event and subsequently tested positive, showing symptoms in the expected five- to seven-day window following the event. Also Friday, the president of the University of Notre Dame, the Rev. John Jenkins, announced he, too, had tested positive for COVID-19. Jenkins attended the Saturday Rose Garden ceremony.

Earlier in the week, Jenkins sent a letter to university students and staff apologizing for not wearing a mask during Saturday’s Rose Garden ceremony for Barrett, who is a Notre Dame graduate and law professor.

Video of the event also shows Lee unmasked and hugging other attendees.

Both Lee and Tillis said they would isolate for 10 days. Lee vowed in a statement that he would “be back to work in time to join my Judiciary Committee colleagues in advancing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.”

While the Centers for Disease Control recommend those who test positive should isolate for at least 10 days after their symptoms appear, the agency said doctors may recommend longer isolation periods depending on the severity of the disease.

Guidelines issued by the CDC dictate that Barrett should quarantine for 14 days, because she met with Lee in person (and without masks) a few days ago.

Barrett was diagnosed with the virus over the summer but has since recovered, The Washington Post reported Friday — information that had not previously been made public. The science on immunity following recovery is unsettled. Though public health experts generally believe recovery from COVID-19 confers some immunity and the World Health Organization has said repeated infections are not common, researchers in Hong Kong recently reported evidence that a second infection is possible.

Since receiving the Supreme Court nomination, Barrett is being tested for the virus daily and had

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Connecticut Flower & Garden Show cancels February event over COVID-19 uncertainty

HARTFORD — Organizers of the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show announced Wednesday the cancellation of its February 2021 event due to uncertainty about the impact coronavirus will have over the next five months.

One of New England’s largest and most prestigious flower shows, the 40th annual show was scheduled to take place on Feb. 25-28, 2021 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

“This has been a very difficult decision but we believe that, as of now, we would be unable to produce a successful Connecticut Flower & Garden Show at the Connecticut Convention Center this February,” said Kristie Gonsalves, president of North East Expos, Inc. and a past president of the National Association of Consumer Show Producers. “I want to be sure we have a safe and profitable environment for all and it would be unfair to ask attendees and exhibitors – many of them small family businesses, like mine – to jeopardize their health and financial well-being just to continue with a tradition…even this beautiful, joyful one.”

North East Expos also produces the successful Connecticut Fishing & Outdoor Show at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. and the Northeast Fishing & Hunting Show at the Connecticut Convention Center. No decision has been made yet about the status of those 2021 shows.

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