There are already hundreds of National Guard troops who have reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus who have been forced to quarantine since serving to secure the inauguration of President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., which took place on Wednesday.
Three Guard sources told POLITICO that hundreds of Guard members have already tested positive for Covid-19 or are quarantining in nearby hotels.
The report noted that troops and lawmakers are concerned the mandated duty for Biden has become a “superspreader event.”
There has also been concern surrounding the testing protocols, or lack thereof, particularly in light of the Guard members’ forced close quarters. Some troops, for example, were forced to find their own tests, while others were “pressured to leave their quarantine early to report to duty,” POLITICO said.
“We did not get Covid tests on arrival,” said a Guard member. “Right after the holidays they packed us together like sardines in buses and rooms for this.”
A remarkable 25,000 troops were assigned to inauguration duty, more than two and a half times the number acquired to secure the inauguration of former President Barack Obama.
Notably, disturbing photographs that circulated Thursday evening revealed the troops sleeping in cold parking garages, which POLITICO said “compounded” the Covid issues.
“Thousands of National Guardsmen were forced to vacate congressional grounds on Thursday and have been photographed having to sleep in parking garages while temperatures in the nation’s capital were set to dip down to near-freezing temperatures,” The Daily Wire reported. “The photos of the living conditions that the National Guardsmen were forced to endure come after Democrats took complete control of the federal government this week following Joe Biden being sworn in as the nation’s 46th president.”
One Guard unit, POLITICO noted, “was forced to rest in a garage with only one bathroom available for 5,000 troops.”
The Senate Rules Committee is investigating the matter, POLITICO said, highlighting a “particular focus on concerns about the Guard implementing proper coronavirus precautions.”
One Guard member told POLITICO that in their estimation the “majority of cases are asymptomatic, and originated from the troops’ home stations.”