The two biggest news stories of the summer have been the coronavirus pandemic and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s search for a running mate.
Now, it looks like the two stories have merged.
Atlanta mayor and potential vice presidential candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms has said that she has COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has literally hit home,” Bottoms said in a tweet, confirming she had tested positive.
Fortunately, Bottoms said that at this time she has no symptoms.
Bottoms, the 50-year-old Atlanta mayor, is considered a rising political star with excellent instincts.
She wisely endorsed Biden more than a year ago, when some thought his campaign was floundering. Now, she is reportedly on a short list of potential running mates and it’s unlikely that her COVID-19 diagnosis would change that.
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But Bottoms’ diagnosis is certain to send shockwaves through Georgia, which has been dealing with an uptick in positive coronavirus cases, even as daily deaths trend downward.
Here’s hoping that Bottoms continues to remain symptom-free.
“It leaves me for a loss for words because I think it really speaks to how contagious this virus is,” Bottoms told MSNBC. “We’ve taken all of the precautions that you can possibly take. We wear masks, we’re very thoughtful about washing our hands, I have no idea when and where we were exposed.
Bottoms’ national profile has risen in recent months both as a mayor handling the coronavirus pandemic and amid the national reckoning on race that has followed a white Minneapolis police officer’s killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, on May 25.
A first-term mayor, Bottoms issued a firm plea for peaceful protest as demonstrators gathered on downtown streets after Floyd’s killing — and urged the protesters to get tested for COVID-19. She invoked Atlanta’s civil rights history and her personal experience as the mother of Black sons. She won plaudits from progressives after firing Atlanta officers for using excessive force during the protests.
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Bottoms was an early and vocal supporter of Biden, who has been considering Bottoms as his possible vice presidential running mate in his own presidential bid.
Violence in the city has grown worse since protesters burned down a fast food restaurant where a white officer fatally shot Rayshard Brooks after he seized a stun gun and ran. Armed people have been manning roadblocks at the site and an 8-year-old girl was shot dead near the site on Saturday. At the same time, some police officers have been refusing to answer calls, angry that the district attorney has charged officers in the Brooks shooting.
Atlanta police again broke up the roadblocks at the site Monday, but that wasn’t enough for Kemp, who said he was mobilizing up to 1,000 National Guard troops after a spike in shootings in Atlanta.
The Associated Press and The Horn editorial team