Republican politician waited a week to reveal positive COVID-19 test — while calling for an end to coronavirus lockdown

Republican politician waited a week to reveal positive COVID-19 test — while calling for an end to coronavirus lockdown
Protesters demonstrate during a rally against Pennsylvania's coronavirus stay-at-home order at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, May 15, 2020.AP Photo/Matt Rourke
  • State Rep. Andrew Lewis, a Republican state lawmaker in Pennsylvania, learned that he had COVID-19 on May 20. He waited until May 27 to reveal the news.
  • "Out of respect for my family, and those who I may have exposed, I chose to keep my positive case private," he said in a statement.
  • While concealing his positive test, Lewis was publicly calling for an end to Pennsylvania's shutdown.
  • Democrats responded with outrage. "It is reprehensible that GOP Rep. Andrew Lewis tested positive for coronavirus, yet never bothered to inform his colleagues," Rep. Kevin Boyle tweeted.

A Republican state lawmaker in Pennsylvania waited more than a week before revealing that he tested positive for COVID-19 — and called for ending the state's shutdown a day after getting the news — angering Democratic colleagues who fear that he may have exposed him to the virus.

"Out of respect for my family, and those who I may have exposed, I chose to keep my positive case private," state Rep. Andrew Lewis said in a statement issued Wednesday. "Now that I have fully recovered and completed the quarantine as required by the Department of Health, I feel now is the appropriate time to share this information with the public."

Lewis received his positive test result on May 20, according to the statement. A critic of the shelter-in-place order from Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, he earlier declared it "time to reopen" the economy. In late April, he appealed to the Trump administration for an investigation into Wolf's response to the pandemic, claiming it infringed on constitutional rights.
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A day after receiving his positive test result, Lewis was on Facebook posting a call to "End the Shutdown Now."

Democrats responded with outrage.

"It is reprehensible that GOP Rep Andrew Lewis tested positive for coronavirus, yet never bothered to inform his colleagues," State Rep. Kevin Boyle tweeted. "Any Republican leader who knew and didn't inform House staff & members needs to resign."
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"I am livid," Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "They were derelict in their duty when they did not alert us to this immediately," he said. "They put our health at risk [and] they put our families at risk."

At least one of Lewis' Republican colleagues was defiant. State Rep. Russ Diamond, who has boasted of shopping without a mask, is the only lawmaker known to have been contacted about possible exposure to Lewis, with Pennsylvania Republican leadership declining to identify others. On social media, Diamond used the news to mock liberals.
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"Control freaks of the world," he tweeted, "unite by clutching your pearls!"

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