“This afternoon, I tested positive for COVID-19, and I am experiencing mild symptoms,” the 82-year-old congressman said in a statement. “Thankfully, I am fully vaccinated and already received my booster shot.”
He continued, “I’m very grateful to the researchers, scientists, and medical experts who worked hard to develop the COVID-19 vaccines and to all the extraordinary public health workers and volunteers in our communities who have tirelessly worked to get shots into arms.”
Hoyer said he will be working from home for the upcoming week during his isolation period and will be using proxy voting to “protect the safety” of other Congress members at the Capitol. Proxy voting was approved in May 2020 in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and involves a lawmaker authorizing another lawmaker to vote on their behalf.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has called proxy voting a “patently unconstitutional practice” and mounted a legal challenge to such rules set by the Democrat-led House. The Supreme Court on Jan. 24 declined to take up the challenge.
Hoyer is the second House Democrat leader to have tested positive recently for COVID-19—House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) had tested positive in December 2021.
Other lawmakers who have tested positive include Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), each of whom announced they had tested positive for the virus in January.
He is among at least 54 House members who tested positive for COVID-19 after having had the COVID-19 vaccine. At least 12 U.S. senators have also contracted breakthrough cases of COVID-19. More than half of the breakthrough cases have been from December 2021, when the Omicron variant became the dominant strain in the United States.