Why won't Rand Paul just wear a mask?

Watching the Senate impeachment trial, you might have noticed something: There’s one senator never wearing a mask despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

That one senator is Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Paul has long taken his refusal to wear a mask as a point of pride. 
“If you’ve had the disease or you’ve been vaccinated and you’re several weeks out from the second dose, throw your mask away,” Paul counseled viewers on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show last month.
    Paul tested positive for the virus in late March 2020 and, following his recovery, insisted he was now immune from it. (Also worth noting: Paul’s behavior after being exposed to Covid-19 was, um, not exactly exemplary.)
    Paul is a trained ophthalmologist, not an infectious disease doctor or an epidemiologist. And those doctors who are specialists in viruses like Covid-19 disagree with Paul’s views on immunity and masking.

    On the immunity front, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes clear that while cases of reinfection are rare, they are not unheard of. 
    On masking, the CDC announced Wednesday that double masking — a surgical mask with a cloth mask over it — could more effectively block the spread of the virus. The CDC also said again Wednesday that even people who have been vaccinated should still wear a mask and take other measures to avoid spreading the virus.
    And we all know that wearing a mask isn’t just about keeping ourselves from getting sick. It’s also to avoid infecting others with the virus. (There’s no evidence that someone who has recovered from Covid-19, like Paul, can’t still spread it to others.)
    (Side note: I reached out to Paul’s press shop for an explanation on why he refuses to wear a mask on the Senate floor. They didn’t respond by the time we published this piece.)
    Paul’s colleagues aren’t letting his masklessness go unchallenged. Late last week, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio called out Paul by name on the floor.
    “I would like to ask Senator Paul, in front of everybody, to start wearing a mask on the Senate floor like the entire staff does all the time,” said Brown. “I wish Senator Paul would show the respect to his colleagues to wear a mask.”
      On Wednesday, Capitol Hill reporters spotted Paul on the Senate floor handing a note to one of former President Donald Trump’s lawyers. He wasn’t wearing a mask.
      The Point: Paul clearly fashions himself as rebel. But endangering other people during a pandemic isn’t rebellious. It’s just dumb. And dangerous.




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