GOP gubernatorial hopeful spoke at a Wisconsin United For Freedom (WUFF) event on Sept 15. She tested positive for the virus on Sept. 16.
Former Lt. Gov. and current Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch spoke maskless before an anti-vaccine group the day she presented symptoms for COVID-19 and one day before she took a test that came back positive for the virus.
A spokesperson for her campaign confirmed that Kleefisch spoke at a Wisconsin United For Freedom (WUFF) event on Wednesday, Sept. 15. WUFF has supported bills that would not have allowed employers—even healthcare facilities—to require COVID-19 vaccination, hosted anti-vaccine events, and frequently shared horror stories of rare vaccine side effects on social media.
Kleefisch has said that she would not mandate vaccines or masks if elected but has so far provided no other details on how she would handle the COVID-19 pandemic. She was exposed to the virus on Sept. 12; Kleefisch’s spokesperson said she became symptomatic on Sept. 15 after the WUFF event. Kleefisch acquired a test the next day and was confirmed positive for COVID-19 the day after, according to her campaign. On Sept. 25, an Instagram post showed she was serving food at a school fundraiser.
Kleefisch has said she is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Research has shown vaccinated people who become infected can spread the virus about as much as those who are unvaccinated, although vaccinated people face a far lower risk of severe complications themselves.
A person infected with COVID-19 can spread the virus up to two days before they start exhibiting symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kleefisch’s campaign includes several former Gov. Scott Walker alum, including Walker’s son, Alex Walker, as her campaign manager, and Scott Neitzel as her campaign chairman. As Walker’s administration secretary, Neitzel helped put together the $3 billion tax incentive package for the Foxconn project, which has failed to fulfill any of its promises five years after the deal was announced.
Correction: The name of the anti-vaccine organization is Wisconsin United for Freedom, not Wisconsinites United for Freedom.