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Ted Cruz refuses to wear mask at Capitol: ‘Virtually everyone is vaccinated’

James Crump
·3-min read
<p>Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to reporters prior to the Senate Republican luncheons at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on 13 April 2021 in Washington, DC</p> ((Getty Images))

Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to reporters prior to the Senate Republican luncheons at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on 13 April 2021 in Washington, DC

((Getty Images))

Texas senator Ted Cruz has confirmed that he will no longer wear a mask while in the US Capitol, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to a CNN reporter on Thursday, Mr Cruz, 50, explained his decision by saying: “At this point I’ve been vaccinated. Everybody working in the Senate has been vaccinated.”

The senator then defended the practice by adding: “CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) has said in small groups, particularly with people who were vaccinated, don’t need to wear masks”.

CNN reported that after Mr Cruz made those remarks, he got into a small elevator with two aides, both of whom were wearing face masks.

Although Mr Cruz, a Republican, and a majority of his colleagues in the Senate have been vaccinated, the CDC recommends that people still wear face masks while among a group of people.

No vaccine is 100 per cent effective at preventing contraction of Covid-19 and the CDC says that vaccinated people should continue practicing all prevention measures.

“After you’ve been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, you should keep taking precautions — like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more,” the CDC states.

Some employees of senators and reporters covering the Capitol have also not yet been vaccinated, putting them at risk of becoming infected.

Although Capitol authorities have made vaccines available to journalists who covered Congress throughout the pandemic, several reporters and media teams are yet to be offered one or are not yet fully vaccinated.

After CNN’s reporter pointed out to Mr Cruz on Thursday that they had not yet been vaccinated, the senator replied: “At this point, virtually everyone here has been vaccinated. And everyone has the opportunity.”

He was also dismissive last month, saying that he would not wear a face mask while speaking on camera after being asked to by a reporter covering his comments.

“Uh, yeah, when I’m talking in front of the TV cameras I’m not going to wear a mask,” Mr Cruz told the reporter on 16 March. “And all of us have been immunised, so.

“You’re welcome to step away if you like. The whole point of a vaccine ... CDC guidance is what we’re following,” he added.

Mr Cruz is not alone in refusing to wear a face mask in Congress, as The Daily Beast reported that Rand Paul, Mike Braun and Ron Johnson, all Republicans, also decline to wear a covering in the Capitol.

Although officials in the House of Representatives must wear face masks while walking around the building, there is no such rule in place in the Senate.

The US has so far administered more than 198 million doses of the Covid vaccine. At least 78 million people have been fully vaccinated, totalling 23.6 per cent of the population.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 31.5 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached 565,000.

The Independent has contacted Mr Cruz’s office for comment.

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