Sen. Ron Johnson says COVID-19 'is not a death sentence'

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, said Monday that he never had any symptoms after testing positive Oct. 2 for the coronavirus, declaring that COVID-19 “is not a death sentence.”

FILE - United States Senator Ron Johnson (Republican of Wisconsin) speaks to journalists with joint a press conference with United States Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat of Connecticut) (not seen) after their meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, outside the Presidential Office in Kiev, Ukraine, on 5 September, 2019.

FILE - United States Senator Ron Johnson (Republican of Wisconsin) speaks to journalists with joint a press conference with United States Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat of Connecticut) (not seen) after their meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr (STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As of Sunday, more than 150,000 people in Wisconsin had tested positive for the virus, with 1,465 deaths, according to the state Department of Health Services. Wisconsin has seen a spike in cases in recent months, and has been one of the top five states in the country for new cases per capita.

Johnson, a Republican, said that while there have been “so many tragedies” for those who test positive, “at the same time, COVID is not a death sentence.” Johnson said he was last tested for the virus on Oct. 5 and again tested positive, but “I have never had a symptom, ever.”

“I’m one of the very lucky 40% who test positive for the coronavirus but don’t get COVID," said Johnson, 65, during a conference call to discuss the beginning of Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett.

Johnson, who said he was shocked that he tested positive, was quarantining at his home in Oshkosh. Johnson said he had a lung X-ray and blood work done last week and that all his tests came back as normal.

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Johnson reiterated his opposition to Wisconsin's mask mandate, issued by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. A judge on Monday upheld the order, rejecting attempts by the Republican-controlled Legislature and a conservative law firm to overturn it.

Johnson, who said he wears a mask “in appropriate situations,” said the mandate is “largely unenforceable" and that is why he is against it. Those who filed the lawsuit argued that Evers overstepped his authority by declaring multiple emergencies and mask mandates. The judge disagreed, noting that the Legislature has the power to overturn the mandate if it wants to do so.

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