GOP Governor Who Rescinded Mask Mandate Contracts COVID-19
Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, who rescinded his state’s mask mandate shortly after taking office in January, has tested positive for COVID-19. Gianforte developed symptoms on Sunday after attending Easter church services and was tested Monday.
The 59-year-old governor said he will quarantine for 10 days and continue working at his home in Bozeman. Montana First Lady Susan Gianforte also was tested but had not received results as of late Monday. The governor’s office issued a news release indicating that all of his close contacts had been notified of his positive test result but it did not specify how many people that included.
A Gianforte aide told the Billings Gazette that the governor “has been in close contact with one staff member, a member of his protective detail, family members and friends who he had dinner with.” His last public events were held Thursday evening.
Ironically, Gianforte received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine last Thursday at a pharmacy in the town of Helena. The Pfizer vaccine has been shown to have a 95 percent efficacy, but a recipient does not achieve that immunity until two weeks after having received the second dose. Based on the known timeline for incubation of the virus in the body it is most likely that Gianforte had the coronavirus in his system last Thursday when he was holding his public events and receiving his first injection.
Gianforte lifted the state’s mask mandate in February after the Montana legislature passed a bill giving businesses legal protections over exposure to the virus. He has been an advocate of Montanans to get vaccinated.