Scores of National Guardsmen sent to Washington, DC, to protect the nation’s capital during the presidential inauguration have tested positive for COVID-19, it was revealed Friday.
Nearly 200 officers have contracted the virus after enduring cramped rest areas and close working quarters, defense officials told the Wall Street Journal.
Some Gaurdsmen were told to disregard their quarantine — or cut it short — leading up to the deployment due to the urgent need for troops in DC after the US Capitol riot, they said.
“Right after the holidays they packed us together like sardines in buses and rooms for this,” one Guardsman told Politico. “We did not get COVID tests on arrival.”
The striking infection numbers comes after photos emerged Thursday showing officers “banished” to a crowded parking garage after being denied access to parts of the US Capitol — sparking outrage among some lawmakers.
Other photos show officers close together, inside the Capitol, sometimes not wearing masks.
Members of the New York National Guard march in formation in front of the US Capitol on Jan. 22, 2021. EPA
More than 25,000 National Guard members from all 50 states were sent to DC for President Biden’s inauguration Wednesday amid heightened security concerns over the deadly US Capitol breach on Jan. 6.
Roughly 7,000 of the National Guardmen will remain in DC until the end of the month to to assist with local law enforcement.