Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is one of the only lawmakers on Capitol Hill not wearing a face mask because, he says, he has already beaten the coronavirus.
Paul, a licensed doctor, told reporters on Tuesday that he is not wearing a mask because he cannot be infected by the virus twice. The Kentucky Republican was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, on March 22 and announced his recovery more than two weeks later on April 7.
“I’ve already had the virus. So I can’t get it again, and I can’t give it to anybody,” Paul said, according to Fox News.
“I can’t get it again nor can I transmit it,” Paul said. “So of all the people you’ll meet here, I’m about the only safe person in Washington you’ll meet.”
While people infected with a virus tend to build immunity toward it that wards off future infections, Paul’s claim about the coronavirus is still being debated among immunologists and researchers.
“There is always some immunity when you get a virus — but the question is, how long does it last? Right now, we are learning the answers to that question,” Dr. Robert Amler, former chief medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Fox News.
Senators returned to Capitol Hill on Monday to hash out possibly another round of coronavirus emergency relief for small businesses and employees who are unable to work because of government imposed shutdowns. The Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is also approving Trump-appointed judges to the federal court.
“The time has come for us to continue conducting our nation’s business in ways that are only possible with senators here, in the Capitol,” McConnell said, announcing the Senate’s latest session, according to The Washington Post.
“The Senate is going to be as smart and safe as we possibly can, and we are going to show up for work like the essential workers that we are,” McConnell continued. “Our bosses are the American people, and they’re counting on us to keep on serving.”
The senators’ colleagues in the House had planned to arrive back in Washington, D.C., at the same time on May 4, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scrapped those plans after members of her caucus complained about the danger of the coronavirus. House Democratic leadership cited advice from the House doctor in announcing the decision.
“The House doctor, when I talked to him yesterday, was concerned because the numbers in the District of Columbia are going up,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said at the time. “They’re not flat, and they’re not going down.”
“We will not come back next week, but we hope to come back very soon to consider the CARES 2 legislation,” Hoyer said, referring to another potential relief package.
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