Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose response to the coronavirus and to the Black Lives Matters protests in her city have vaulted her into the national spotlight and into the conversation about who should be Joe Biden’s running mate in November, announced on Monday that she had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“COVID-19 has literally hit home,” Bottoms tweeted late Monday afternoon. “I have had NO symptoms and have tested positive.”
A few minutes later, appearing on MSNBC, Bottoms told Joy Reid that she was surprised by the test result — “I’m still processing this” — explaining she and her family had tested negative two weeks early, and that she had only been prompted to take the test again after her husband had been “literally sleeping since Thursday, which is not at all like him.”
“We have taken all the precautions we could possibly take,” Bottoms told Reid, adding that the family had been wearing masks and regularly washing their hands. “I have no idea where or when we were exposed.” She called the diagnosis “a shock.”
She added, “This is just a lesson to everyone. You have to take every single symptom seriously.”
In an interview with Vogue last month, the 50-year-old Atlanta mayor spoke emphatically about the impact that COVID-19 has had on the Black community. “Our communities are sick and they are tired and they are dying,” Bottoms told interviewer Michelle Ruiz. “We’re sick from COVID-19. We’re sick from all these underlying health conditions that are making COVID-19 more deadly for us. We’re tired because we’re carrying so much emotional baggage and trauma. And then on top of that, we are dying. We are dying from COVID-19. We’re dying from police brutality and poverty and lack of access to quality health care and joblessness. That’s the eruption that I feel you’re seeing across this country. We’ve lost the luxury of time. Our communities are saying: ‘We want to see the change now.'”
Twitter was quick to respond to the news of Bottoms’s test results. “I appreciate you sharing your story, @KeishaBottoms” tweeted Valarie Jarrett, a former adviser to President Barack Obama. “I hope you and you family remain symptom free,” the actress and activist Holly Robinson Peete tweeted, “Get Well Soon!! You fight so hard for everyone else now take care of you.” And the Pennsylvania state representative Malcolm Kenyatta said, “Stay strong Mayor. Praying for your strength!”