With the nation—if not White House—increasingly panicking over the novel coronavirus, Ted Cruz has just made possibly the smartest decision of his career.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) reported on Saturday that one of its attendees just tested positive for coronavirus. That person was likely infected during the conference, and on Sunday, Cruz announced in a statement that he and the infected individual shook hands at some point. Though Cruz says he feels healthy and his brief interaction with the person “does not meet the CDC criteria for self-quarantine,” he has decided to stay at home in Texas until the full 14-day incubation period has passed.
Granted, CPAC was over a week ago, and so Cruz’s voluntary quarantine should only last for a few days. Still, the White House’s response to coronavirus so far has included calling it a “hoax,” falsely claiming the number of infections are going down when they are multiplying precipitously, and trapping thousands of people on a cruise ship so the country doesn’t add 21 new infections to its count, not to mention the administration’s lack of test kit availability and general preparation. Cruz even vaguely suggesting coronavirus risk might be a real thing seems comparatively heroic.
Coronavirus has not spared elected officials outside the United States. The leader of the Italian Democratic Party has coronavirus, for instance. A top Iranian official succumbed to the virus last week. And though it’s still unclear how contagious the virus is or how quickly it will spread or is already spreading, it seems people who interact with constituents and shake a lot of hands should, uh, not do that when potentially exposed.
So, congratulations, Ted Cruz, for doing one smart thing, and may your affinity for canned soup keep you comfortable during your quarantine.