WASHINGTON — Two members of Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar, said on March 8 that they are isolating themselves after determining they had contact at a political conference in suburban Washington with a man who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Cruz (R-Texas) said he had brief contact with the man at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) nearly two weeks ago and would spend the next few days at his home in Texas until a full 14 days had passed since their interaction.
Gosar (R-Ariz.) said he had made contact with the man at CPAC and that he and three members of his senior staff were under self-quarantine. Gosar called the disease COVID-19 in an official statement, but on his personal Twitter account, he wrote that he had “sustained contact…with a person who has since been hospitalized with the Wuhan Virus.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said in a tweet that Gosar’s use of “Wuhan virus” is “an example of the myopia that allowed it to spread,” adding the virus is “not constrained by country or race. Be just as stupid to call it the Milan Virus.”
After the disease caused by coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December, many media outlets referred to it as the “Wuhan virus.” Then, in February, the World Health Organization named the illness COVID-19, a name that was deliberately chosen so that it wouldn’t stigmatize a specific place or group of people.
“The only people who seem outraged by the term ‘Wuhan Virus’ are those whose primary goal is to continue politicizing the outbreak,” Ben Goldey, the congressman’s press secretary, wrote in an email on March 9. “Our priority is ensuring the health and safety of the American people, not debating the use of the term ‘Wuhan virus.’”