Number of Texas lawmakers infected with COVID-19 rises to five

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A private plane is readied for Democrats from the Texas Legislature as they arrive by bus to board and head to Washington, D.C., Monday, July 12, 2021, in Austin, Texas. By leaving, Democrats again deny the GOP majority a quorum to pass bills, barely a month after their walkout thwarted the first push for sweeping new voting restrictions in Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Last week Texas lawmakers left their state to hobble efforts to pass new voting restrictions, now five of them have tested positive for COVID-19.

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio said in a statement Sunday that he had tested positive. “I am quarantining until I test negative, and I am grateful to be only experiencing extremely mild symptoms,” he said.

A caucus official has said all lawmakers traveling abroad on a private charter flight had been vaccinated, after a photo showed them maskless on the plane. The CDC says “breakthrough” infections — vaccinated people becoming infected — are rare.

Republicans and others criticized the lawmakers for traveling without masks. But federal pandemic guidelines don’t require masks to be worn on private aircraft.

The Democrats fled the state to deny the Republican-controlled Legislature the necessary quorum to pass the voting laws. 

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