Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) stumbled through an interview on Fox News on Sunday in which he claimed that masks do not prevent the spread of COVID-19 and falsely asserted that vaccines are 100 percent effective in stopping transmission of the deadly virus.
“You’re a doctor,” Full Court Press host Greta Van Susteren noted. “Why won’t you wear a mask on the floor? I know that you’ve tested positive for COVID before. But you can still get reinfected and you can also be a carrier.”
Paul, who does not have a valid medical license, burst into laughter.
“There’s probably no safer place on the planet than the Senate floor,” Paul said.
They’ve all been vaccinated, and I’ve already had it. So, could you imagine somewhere on some planet that I could get it again? But 25 million people have had it and there’s not more than a handful that they’re saying may have had it again. The people who have had it again that have built up immunity have very mild cases. I had a very mild case to begin with. So I think we should put this into perspective and not be crazy, Yes, I have a staff member who just survived nine days on a ventilator. I know it can be deadly. But the thing is, we should not discount immunity that you get from vaccines or discount immunity from having it and we should let individuals make the decision.
Van Susteren pressed Paul further:
There are two things. One is manners. If someone feels uneasy and maybe a staff member that, perhaps, wasn’t vaccinated and comes in contact with someone who is a carrier who is asymptomatic. But also, the message that it sends to people around the country, because we keep hearing from the CDC social distancing and wearing masks, and it looks like well, Senator Rand Paul doesn’t have to wear one.
Paul, however, claimed that masks are ineffective, which is false:
Yeah, well, if you look at the statistics – see we should have an honest debate about this – there was a study out of Stanford in the last month that showed – they looked at ten different countries – they looked at mask mandates, and all these crowd control things the government wants to do – not any evidence that any of the mandates have worked.
So if you look at the trajectory of the virus, since a little before Christmas until recently, it grew exponentially despite more mandates. Almost everybody getting infected said I was wearing a mask all the time. So guess what? The masks don’t work. They haven’t changed the trajectory of anything. The cloth – people are cutting up their clothes and putting them over their nose, 97 percent of virus-sized particles go through that cloth.
Paul, who insisted on sticking to science, should know that anecdotes are not evidence and that mandates were largely ignored during the holiday season. As well, Paul is incorrect to dismiss wearing medical masks because fabric is less effective.
“I’m not into symbolism. I’m not into sort of saying, ‘oh let’s just do it to make everybody feel good and have this talisman,'” said Paul. “The science is not there that any of the mandates have made any of us any safer. And in the Senate, it is completely a show. It’s complete theater because they’ve all been vaccinated, including the staff have been vaccinated. So to me, these are science deniers. People are saying, ‘oh you have to keep wearing your mask,’ They’re denying that the vaccine works. The vaccine works, and so does natural immunity.”
Once again, Paul is either mistaken or lying, but probably the latter. Scientists have been warning that vaccines may not fully prevent people from being carriers.
Hope, Paul concluded, is more important than science:
I want to get back to normal so I want to be a leader to show the people, once you’ve had this, don’t be afraid. So let’s just not say, ‘oh my goodness, you might get it again, you might be carrier after you have a vaccination, destroys all hope for people. Let’s have some hope about moving forward and getting back to normal again.
If Paul was simply clamoring for an excuse to be a jerk, he nailed it.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.