US Sen. Tim Kaine tests positive for COVID-19 antibodies; health experts say continue to take precautions

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On Thursday, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine announced he and his wife tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.

“We actually did have significant antibodies, suggesting that we indeed have coronavirus,” Kaine said.

Kaine says his flu symptoms lingered from earlier this year, before he developed new symptoms at the end of March.

“No shortness of breath, no fever, no loss of taste or smell, and I had this congested cough but I didn’t have the dry cough,” Kaine said.

Kaine says he and his wife were not tested immediately because of the national testing shortage. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi says it makes sense for lawmakers to not get priority on testing.

“We didn’t want to be first in line to get tested when so many people who had symptoms and had justification for it,” Pelosi said.

Kaine says by mid-April, he and his wife were symptom-free. Health experts say even though a person may have immunity, that doesn’t protect those around them.

“We don’t know whether this immunity is long-lasting, which for the flu, it’s usually six to nine months, we don’t know that being antibody positive is long-lasting immunity,” American Lung Association spokesperson Juanita Mora said.

Mora says every person should continue with the same precautions, whether they have had the virus or not.

“We want to protect others as well, too. And wearing a face cloth mask and actually doing the social distancing and the hand washing is all part of it,” Mora said.

Kaine says he will be cautious when he returns to Capitol Hill and will also look into donating plasma to help others fighting the virus.

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