Sen. Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist and not an expert in infectious diseases.
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade on Thursday cheered on Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as he attacked mask and vaccine mandates despite the ongoing rise in the number of new infections with the delta variant of the coronavirus in the United States.
During an appearance by Paul on the program "Fox & Friends," co-host Kilmeade characterized President Joe Biden's recent criticism of Republican governors who oppose virus safety mandates as "vilification" and asked, "Why does he need to make an enemy of people?"
Paul responded, "I think that if you look objectively at mask mandates, whether it's in states, cities, counties, or countries, there's no correlation between a mask mandate and a reduction in incidence of the disease. In fact, it's the opposite: The more mandates we got, the more of the disease we got. I don't think the mask caused the disease, but I don't think the mask helped any."
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have recommended that unvaccinated and, in some situations, vaccinated people wear masks to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The FDA website notes, "Wearing a face mask may limit exposure to respiratory droplets and large particles and may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus."
Paul went on to complain about National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, with whom he has repeatedly clashed during congressional hearings:
And in fact, most people are wearing cloth masks, and 97% of virus-sized particles go through cloth masks, so it's actually a disservice when Dr. Fauci says, Oh, the mask is more important than the vaccine. That's malpractice. The vaccine is very important, so's natural immunity, but the cloth masks don't stop the disease, and if you're telling someone who's taking care of a COVID patient, like it's an elderly couple and you're taking care of your husband or wife and they have COVID and you're wearing a cloth mask, that's terrible advice. That's advice that'll kill you.
Paul concluded, "So Dr. Fauci needs to be away from government, away from advice, because almost all of his advice has been wrongheaded but some of it's actually very dangerous."
Kilmeade answered, "Senator, and they can't handle you because you're a doctor."
Paul is an ophthalmologist and is not an expert in infectious diseases. Fauci has directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and has been a key figure in the U.S. government's response to HIV/AIDS, swine flu, Ebola, and COVID-19 in that time.
Paul has spread misinformation about COVID for months, including the claim that those who have been infected with the virus are immune to it, an assertion that is not supported by scientific evidence.
Fox News has also been a key source of distortions and lies about the viral outbreak, first by downplaying how deadly the virus could be, moving on to encouraging dangerous behaviors that could spread the virus, and lately by repeatedly attacking vaccination.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.