Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Sunday that he shook hands with a man now confirmed to be infected with the novel form of coronavirus during a recent interaction at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
In a news release Sunday evening, Cruz said that based on medical advice he had received, he did not believe there was any current risk of him developing the disease, which has already infected more than 100,000 people globally.
“Last night, I was informed that 10 days ago at CPAC I briefly interacted with an individual who is currently symptomatic and has tested positive for COVID-19. That interaction consisted of a brief conversation and a handshake,” Cruz said.
“I’m not experiencing any symptoms, and I feel fine and healthy. Given that the interaction was 10 days ago, that the average incubation period is 5-6 days, that the interaction was for less than a minute, and that I have no current symptoms, the medical authorities have advised me that the odds of transmission from the other individual to me were extremely low,” he added.
“The physicians further advised that testing is not effective before symptoms manifest, and my brief interaction with the individual does not meet the CDC criteria for self-quarantine,” he added.
Nevertheless, Cruz said he will remain at his home in Texas this week “out of an abundance of caution.”
The GOP senator’s statement comes a day after CPAC officials announced that an attendee of the conference had tested positive for the virus, which has killed a handful of people in the U.S. and thousands more around the world, with the majority of deaths occurring in mainland China, where the virus is believed to have originated.
Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, confirmed that he too had interacted with the infected individual at one point before later shaking hands with President Trump.
“Our children, spouses, extended family, and friends attended CPAC,” read a statement from the event. “During this time, we need to remain calm, listen to our health care professionals, and support each other. We send this message in that spirit.”