Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) railed against public health advice on Wednesday with a warped suggestion for how President Joe Biden could boost uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“If you want more people to get vaccinated, Joe Biden should go on national TV, take his mask off, and burn it,” the Kentucky Republican told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.
“Light a torch to it and burn his mask and say, ‘I’ve had the vaccine, I am now safe from this plague. If you get the vaccine you can be safe too,’” he added.
Paul’s bluster came in response to a clip of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, stating that vaccinated people can still infect others with the virus and so should still wear masks.
The GOP lawmaker ― who has repeatedly campaigned against wearing masks and has refused to wear one in Congress since becoming infected with the virus last year ― also accused Fauci of “fear-mongering” and said he’d listen to him “if he can prove people like me that had it are spreading the disease.”
MacCallum noted rare reports of people testing positive for the coronavirus after receiving the vaccine.
Biden had earlier in the day said masks will be necessary “until the number of cases go down, until everyone has a chance to get their shot.”
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those who have been fully vaccinated can go maskless inside with other fully vaccinated people or “one household of unvaccinated people who are not at risk for severe illness,” it urges continued caution when it comes to possible transmission of the virus. “We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19,” it states.
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