WASHINGTON, D.C. — United States Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) released a statement Thursday morning saying he and his wife Anne Holton, interim president of George Mason University and a former Virginia secretary of education, recently tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.
Senator Kaine said he had the flu earlier this year and was treated for it. However, the senator said the symptoms lingered and by the end of March he was experiencing new symptoms. Kaine said his wife experienced fever, chills, congestion, and cough.
“After Anne got sick, we each talked to our health providers in early April and they thought it possible that we had mild cases of coronavirus,” Kaine said in a release.
Kaine said they did not get tested for the virus due to the national testing shortage. Instead, the couple continued to isolate at their home in Richmond and monitor their symptoms.
“We each tested positive for coronavirus antibodies this month,” Kaine said. “While those antibodies could make us less likely to be re-infected or infect others, there is still too much uncertainty over what protection antibodies may actually provide.”
The senator said he and his wife will continue following CDC guidelines — hand-washing, mask wearing, social distancing.
Kaine was asked Thursday if he knew the testing status of his colleagues in a Zoom call with reporters. He said he was not aware of any senators who tested positive except for Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
“As far as I know, Senator Paul is the only senator to test positive for the virus. Whether there’s other senators who tested positive for antibodies or not, I don’t know,” Kaine said. “I wouldn’t be surprised that other senators have.”
The Virginia senator expressed his appreciation for stay-at-home orders and social distancing restrictions imposed around the time he and his wife started feeling symptoms.
“I likely was infected in, sort of, you know March 15 to March 20. But I didn’t think I had coronavirus,” he explained. “We easily could have visited my wife’s parents who are 95 and 96 in the nursing home, but the nursing home was not allowing visitation, thank God. I was supposed to go see my own parents in Kansas City the last weekend in March, but travel was starting to slow down. Thank God for that.”
Kaine said that he and Holton will likely get tested for antibodies again in around a month in order to see whether they are good candidates to donate plasma, which has been used to treat COVID-19 patients who are in the hospital.
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