Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who is 87, announced on Nov. 17 that he tested positive for COVID-19. He said he'd follow orders from his doctor as well as guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and would continue to isolate.
Grassley had begun isolating earlier that day because of potential exposure to the virus.
"I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes + prayers &look fwd to resuming my normal schedule soon," Grassley said in a tweet.
The diagnosis is significant because of Grassley's age and position. Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is the Senate president pro tempore, placing him third in the line of presidential succession behind the vice president and speaker of the House.
Most people who contract COVID-19 get well with zero or mild symptoms but some, especially older people and those with underlying health issues, require hospital care. A small percentage die.
President Donald Trump was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in October after testing positive; he received treatment and was discharged after a few days.
Grassley's absence from the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-47 majority, could affect voting. The Senate doesn't have remote or proxy voting.
Grassley said on the Senate floor this week that it was encouraging to see two CCP virus vaccines show positive results, calling it important to stop the surge of cases across the country and around the world.
"Countries across the world are seeing cases explode. It's critical for Iowans to step up their personal responsibilities, to stay safe and healthy for themselves and their loved ones. And that, of course, includes our tireless health care professionals, those on the front lines working to save lives," he said.
"This virus is hitting rural and urban areas alike. No community is immune. I ask every Iowan to continue to do their part to keep their family and neighbors safe. Wash your hands, limit your activity outside your household, social distance, wear a mask. We're going to get through this together, but we need everyone to do their part."