19 could not be transmitted through the air, despite guidance from epidemiologists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying otherwise.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and the Legislature's human resources director, Amanda Jorgenson, have rejected requests from Rep. Jodi Emerson, D-Eau Claire, to participate in floor sessions and committee hearings from her office.
The requests were made by Emerson and her doctor to reduce Emerson's risk of contracting the virus until she became fully vaccinated because of a medication she takes to suppress her immune system to manage an autoimmune disease Emerson was diagnosed with years ago.
"As you are aware, COVID-19 is not an airborne transmitted disease," Jorgenson wrote to Emerson on April 4 rejecting the request. "Therefore, protection for you is based on limiting particulate exposure."
Jorgenson and Vos offered Emerson a portable plexiglass barrier instead.
"I don’t know where they would get the boldness to say point-blank it’s not airborne transmission," Amanda Simanek, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Public Health, said after reviewing the letter.
"It’s been an evolution of understanding — I think it’s pretty well-established," she said. "I don’t get the argument that they’re making and certainly plexiglass is not going to prevent the accumulation of droplets and smaller aerosols."