GOP congressman, family test positive for COVID-19

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June 16 (UPI) -- Rep. Tom Rice has said he, his wife and their son have tested positive for the deadly and infectious coronavirus.

In a statement published to his personal Facebook account on Monday, the Republican congressman for South Carolina said he, his wife, Wrenzie Rice; and their son Lucas Rice had contracted the "Wuhan Flu," a controversial term for COVID-19 that has been criticized for being derogatory and stigmatizing.

"COVID-19 is a serious, sometimes deadly illness," he wrote. "We, however, have fared well."

He said they were all "on the mend and doing fine."

Several U.S. politicians and government officials have contracted COVID-19, including Sen. Rand Paul, who contracted the virus in March, and Sen. Tim Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, who tested positive for COVID-19 late last month.

The virus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year before infecting the world over. In the past six months, more than 8 million people have contracted the virus, resulting in nearly 440,000 deaths, according to a live tracker of the virus by Johns Hopkins University.

With more than 2.1 million infections and 116,000 fatalities, the United States leads the world in both cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19.

In his statement, Rice said his son contracted the virus early last week, was tested Tuesday with the results confirmed on Friday. He said Lucas had "gotten really sick" with a high fever and a bad cough, but his condition has since improved.

"He's still weak but getting stronger -- moving around and eating a little," he said.

Rice said he also fell ill early last week but only suffered from mild symptoms, including loss of taste and smell.

His wife contracted it on Thursday, he said, adding, "she is worse than I was but nowhere near as bad as Lucas," suffering from a slight fever, a bad cough and headaches and back pain.

"We are finishing our quarantine and looking forward to seeing you all again," he said.

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