McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that he tested positive for antibodies against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, before he went in for a surgery on his elbow in December 2020.
The Republican leader said that a doctor informed him at the time that he had most likely contracted the disease “within the last two months.”
He said he took a COVID-19 vaccine during the interim period while waiting for his blood test results to return that showed he had CCP virus antibodies.
McCarthy said he “never knew” he had COVID-19.
“What’s odd is, I’ve probably been tested more than 50 times so it had to be in that short time plane probably right before the election or somewhere like that,” he speculated.
Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild to severe and may appear about 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Such symptoms may include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste and or smell, sore throat, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and more.
A person can also be completely asymptomatic to the virus, like McCarthy.
“I didn’t know it … and nobody on my staff got it [COVID-19 symptoms] either,” he told reporters.
The CDC said it doesn’t recommend getting a vaccine if a person is currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. However, a previous positive antibody test, which shows past infection, is no reason to not get vaccinated, according to the agency.
“You should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again,” the agency said on its website.
All lawmakers in the House and Senate are qualified to receive a vaccine and have had access to a vaccine since December 2020. More than 75 percent of House members have received a vaccine. Dozens of them have recovered from the virus.
Vaccine providers are required to report any serious adverse effects or vaccination administration errors to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), hosted by the Department of Health and Human Services. Vaccine manufacturers are immune from liability for any adverse reactions unless there is “willful misconduct” involved.
The federal government has a Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program that can pay compensation to eligible persons who suffer serious injury from approved vaccines. However, burden of proof has proven a challenging process.