Former GOP Senator James Inhofe retired because of long COVID symptoms. Other colleagues have it but keep it secret, he said.
- Former Republican Senator James Inhofe said he retired due to long COVID symptoms.
- During his time in office, the Oklahoma senator repeatedly voted against COVID protections.
Former Republican Senator James Inhofe said the reason he retired from representing Oklahoma this time last year was due to long COVID symptoms.
In a recent interview, Inhofe told Tulsa World that he had to leave politics because he was suffering from the long-term effects of contracting the coronavirus.
He said "five or six" other political colleagues have long COVID, "but I'm the only one who admits it."
Inhofe left office before the end of his term last February, and Senator Markwayne Mullin took his place.
The 88-year-old repeatedly voted against COVID protections for Americans during his time in office.
In March 2020, Inhofe voted against the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which broadly expanded benefits for those affected by the pandemic.
In 2021, he also voted against the American Rescue Plan — which included a $1,400 stimulus check, improved vaccine distribution, and extended unemployment benefits.
He did, however, vote in favor of the CARES Act — which offered a $1,200 stimulus check — and generally offered conflicting opinions on the pandemic during his time in office.
When a New York Times reporter asked the senator in 2020 what measures he was taking to protect himself from COVID, "he said none — and extended his arm with confidence: 'Wanna shake hands?'" the Times reported.
While data on the lingering effects of the disease is still limited, the CDC estimated in 2022 that one in five American adults who had the disease continue to suffer from long COVID symptoms.
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