Speaking on Fox's America's Newsroom on December 1, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) questioned the effectiveness of mask mandates and broad lockdowns such as school closing mandates as reasonable responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We have mask mandates in dozens of states and countries and … without fail, every time we've instituted a mandate the actual incidence of the disease has risen. So there is no evidence that these mandates are working and we're crippling the economy. Maybe we ought to reassess what we're doing," Paul said during his interview with Sandra Smith.
Elaborating further, Paul said: "I think there are reasonable things you can do in school. For the small children, I wouldn't have them wearing masks. I don't think it makes any difference. We ought to reassess what we're doing on this."
Senator Paul objected to the school-closing mandate due to the fact that children are "poor transmitters" of the coronavirus. Paul also said that mask mandates "illustrate the danger of centralizing power and decision making in one person or in Washington" considering when they have been "so wrong as Dr. Fauci has been."
Dr. Anthony Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as one of the most visible (former) members of the Trump administration's White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Paul, who is an ophthalmologist and a graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine, said, "Trying to take precautions is reasonable. But there are now people saying — Dr. Fauci included — when we have a vaccine, you will still have to wear a mask."
"People do need to push back. I'm one of those who are immune and keep pushing back. 13 million Americans have had this. We don't need to tell them they have to wear a mask. Immunity is working. It is working as well as a vaccine. When we get the vaccine hopefully we can all be free of these encumbrances."
Paul concluded by saying,
It's the same people who predicted that millions and millions of people would die from this. They've been wrong at every turn. Their models only work when they continue to adjust them with reality. But they never have been accurate from the very beginning. It turns out that this is a terrible, difficult disease for the elderly…. And for the kids — this is the truth — it actually is less deadly than the seasonal flu for children. And we should acknowledge that this is a disease that is different depending on your age group and in a free society everybody should be able to analyze the data and make their own decisions.
During the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci urged local school districts to take a very cautious approach to allowing children and teachers to return to classrooms.
However, on September 29, speaking on ABC's This Week, Fauci walked back his position considerably, stating,
The default position should be to try as best as possible, within reason, to keep the children in school, to get them back to school. If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not very big at all, not like one would have suspected. So let's try to get the kids back. But let's try to mitigate the things that maintain and push the kind of community spread we are trying to avoid. And those are the things you know well. The bars, the restaurants … those are the things that drive the community spread. Not the schools.
Paul has often taken exception to Dr. Fauci's warnings, including at a Senate hearing in late June and in other communications. His latest such statement was in a September 29 tweet in which he suggested that Fauci apologize for his warnings about the danger the coronavirus poses to school-age children.
After one of Paul's Twitter followers tweeted, "Dr Fauci owes @RandPaul an apology," in response to Fauci's apparent reversal of his previous overly cautious stand against educating children in schoolrooms, Senator Paul tweeted: "No, he owes one to every single parent and school-age child in America. I told him this multiple times this summer."