Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine says he and his wife Anne are symptom free and feeling well after both testing positive for antibodies, suggesting they previously had coronavirus.
“The reason we want it to be public was to say thank goodness our cases were mild and we’re feeling better but you got to be careful about this because it can present in unexpected ways,” said Kaine.
Senator Kaine says he was diagnosed with the flu in February, received treatment through mid-march, and then got new symptom he says he thought were allergy related.
“I didn’t have some of the traditional COVID symptoms. I didn’t have shortness of breath, I didn’t have fever, I didn’t have loss of taste or smell. I had a chest cough but not a dry cough. I thought it was something else.”
Kaine says it wasn’t until Anne started exhibiting obvious coronavirus symptoms in early April that he thought he may have had COVID-19. He says they didn’t take tests because of the national testing shortage. His communications team says no staff members have had COVID-19 to their knowledge. Kaine says he believes he got the virus around March 15 while most of his staff was working from home.
“Basically the 12th to the 26th when we passed the CARES Act I was in the office mostly by myself. I did have two people in the front office answering phones, my chief of staff was in, my office administrator was in, but most of my staff of nearly 50 was at home telecommuting.”
The CDC says it doesn’t know if antibodies can protect someone from getting infected again or, if they do, how long this protection might last.
They CDC says it’s possible to get infected with the virus a second time, so they encourage people to continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines.
Kaine says the guidelines work and they keep people like himself who don’t know they have the virus from spreading it to others.
“The social distancing requirements meant that even though I was feeling kind of OK I didn’t do some things that I might’ve done otherwise and I’m really thankful.”
Sen. Tim Kaine says he and his wife tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. Kaine says he experienced lingering flu like symptoms in March but wasn't tested at time due to testing shortages. https://t.co/XYvvHt3OV3— Brendan Ponton (@brendanponton) May 28, 2020
In a statement sent out by the senator, it reads:
“My wife Anne and I recently tested positive for antibodies to coronavirus.
I tested positive for the flu earlier this year and was given standard medication to treat it. The symptoms lingered and I continued to receive treatment from my physician for the flu through mid-March. At the end of March, I experienced new symptoms that I initially thought were flu remnants and a reaction to an unusually high spring pollen count. Then Anne experienced a short bout of fever and chills, followed by congestion and eventually a cough.
“After Anne got sick, we each talked to our health providers in early April and they thought it possible that we had mild cases of coronavirus. We were both at home in Richmond, working remotely and isolated from others. Due to the national testing shortage, we were not tested for the virus but continued isolating and watched for any worsening of symptoms. By mid-April we were symptom free.
We each tested positive for coronavirus antibodies this month. While those antibodies could make us less likely to be re-infected or infect others, there is still too much uncertainty over what protection antibodies may actually provide. So we will keep following CDC guidelines—hand-washing, mask wearing, social distancing. We encourage others to do so as well. It shows those around you that you care about them.”