As the U.S. Senate assembled Monday for the first time since March 25, most lawmakers marched down the halls in protective face masks, and while 13 senators opted out of the session altogether due to fear of the virus, two Republican senators refused to wear them — Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin). The two decided not to wear masks despite over half the other senators being over age 65, which places them at heightened risk of the virus and related complications.

Paul, who was previously diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, claimed that he was “immune” to the disease. He also stated that he was unable to transmit it to the other 86 lawmakers present.

“I have immunity. I’ve already had the virus, so I can’t get it again and I can’t give it to anybody,” Paul told reporters.

He defended his decision on Twitter.

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Paul is the only member of the U.S. Senate so far known to have contracted the disease.


The Kentucky Republican was joined by Johnson, who opted out of protective facial gear Monday.

Johnson explained to Politico, “[that] I wear a mask when I go into grocery stores, that type of thing. I think around here we probably won’t have to. They’re not pleasant to wear, are they?”

On Tuesday, reporters on Capitol Hill spotted Johnson wearing a mask.


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