As the number of daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. soars to 160,000, an exponential increase from just 10 days ago, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul took a moment out of his day to implant some deeply flawed information into the brains of Fox News viewers. Paul, an actual medical doctor, told host Martha MacCallum that instead of hunkering down, Americans who have already contracted COVID-19 in the past should “celebrate.” “We should tell them to celebrate,” Paul said. “We should tell them to throw away their masks, go to restaurants, live again, because these people are now immune.” This is, unfortunately, not the case. Though increased antibodies immediately after infection may temporarily help people avoid getting the virus again, research shows the protection is short-lived, a matter of a few months.
Rounding out his comments, Paul then taunted Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, saying, “Dr. Fauci doesn’t want to admit to any of that. Dr. Fauci’s like, ‘Oh, woe is me,’ until the election occurs, and now maybe he’ll be changing his attitude.” The Republican senator then followed up on Twitter.
This isn’t the first time the Kentucky Republican has pushed fringe medical theories, like promoting the idea of “herd immunity,” or just letting the virus rip.
There’s obviously a lot of medical and scientific information flying around these days, and much of it gets updated the more that is learned about the virus, but Paul has used his credentials in unsavory ways—to squeeze his libertarian ideas on all things into the good-faith uncertainty that exists at the outset of any research into a new disease. Like this tweet, for instance, where Paul implies that increased mask-wearing is somehow driving the spread of the virus, rather than the more obvious inference that as cases increase, more people turn to masks for protection.
And then there’s this little tidbit about the Kentucky senator, who himself has already had the virus.
Rand Paul is a public health risk.