Sen. Rand Paul, Who Had COVID-19, Refuses To Wear Masks For U.S. Senate Session
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.
Modern medicine shows us that immunity is based on having antibodies. Why do they think medicine is trying so hard to get a coronavirus vaccine? Immunity. I have taken an antibody test and am positive for long term Covid-19 antibodies.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) May 5, 2020
Paul is the only member of the U.S. Senate so far known to have contracted the disease.
Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19. He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 22, 2020
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.
Sen. Johnson is wearing a mask today and a nice pair of jeans with a tucked in button down
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) May 5, 2020