With COVID-19 infections reaching record levels in the United States, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky visited Fox News (where else?) to encourage Americans to discard masks and start gathering again. Paul justified his comments by reasoning that people who had survived COVID-19 become immune to the virus–something which medical experts say is not true.
“We have 11 million people in our country who have already had COVID,” Paul noted. “We should tell them to celebrate. We should tell them to throw away their masks, go to restaurants, live again because these people are now immune. But 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.”
Paul’s remarks refer to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading disease expert in the United States. Fauci has consistently encouraged Americans to wear masks and avoid mass gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He has also asserted subtle criticism of the Trump Administration–and more broadly, the Republican Party–for politicizing mask-wearing and not doing enough to slow the spread of the disease.
Rand Paul: We have 11 million people in our country who have already had COVID. We should tell them to celebrate. We should tell them to throw away their masks, go to restaurants, and live again because these people are now immune(they are not immune) pic.twitter.com/Un2CQ1b5Tg
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) November 13, 2020
Furthermore, Paul’s claim that patients who survive the virus have immunity is patently false. The CDC reports that COVID-19 reinfection is possible, though remains rare. Experts have yet to understand the immune response that causes reinfection, though data shows that patients who do contract the virus a second time experience much more severe complications and symptoms upon reinfection. At the time of this writing, almost 250,000 people in the United States alone have died of the virus.