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COVID Masking Hysteria Was Never About Following the Science

The following essay is an excerpt from Sen. Rand Paul’s new book, Deception: The Great Covid Cover-Up, due out from Regnery on October 10.

By the spring of 2020, when I returned from my COVID sabbatical, all previous knowledge of immunity seemed to have been discarded. This contagion of “know-nothingism” could not be missed. On my return to the Capitol after recovering from COVID, I was met by a gaggle of young journalists, the ones who occupy a spot between the Capitol subway and the escalator to the Capitol. They barreled up to me with multiple masks on their twenty-something-year-old faces and demanded to know why I wasn’t wearing a mask.

I calmly explained to them that the benefit of having survived COVID-19 was that I now had immunity. They challenged me, saying that I didn’t know how long my immunity would last. I responded in kind, replying that they didn’t know my immunity wouldn’t last.

The week before I returned from quarantine, I had donated my blood to researchers at the University of Louisville for analysis. They found that I had a robust antibody response to three different sites on the COVID-19 surface.

The reporters, none of whom had a science degree (nor had any of them likely even passed an advanced science course), angrily and self-righteously excoriated me for my “ignorance” and my “dangerous noncompliance.” What they did not do was challenge my position in any meaningful way by citing scientific studies based on randomized controlled trials showing any efficacy of masking for viral infection. No. The ignorance of today’s “journalists” is staggering. They only know how to repeat the dogma fed to them.

I tried to reassure the poor flat-earthers that “of all the people you’ll meet today, I’m probably the safest person in Washington. You won’t catch COVID-19 from me!” Their eyes visible above their “BLM” and “Trust Science” masks only narrowed in angry and impotent disbelief. Our media repeatedly and stupidly conflated the use of masking in clinical and surgical settings involving body fluid spatter and bacterial infection with effectiveness against viruses 10 times smaller than the smallest bacteria in public settings.

And Anthony Fauci played along. (Except, of course, in his private email, where he advised a personal friend not to bother masking since, of course, “The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material.”) Of course, while he was writing this privately, he was sanctimoniously lecturing me in a Senate hearing wearing a ridiculous Washington Nationals cloth mask. When I rightly called him out for his public health theater, he angrily and huffily denied that it was theater. I am still shocked at the childishly ignorant and emotional responses he gave, and by the media’s fawning response to it.

I told the press and anyone who might be interested via Twitter statements and press releases of the randomized controlled studies around the world, including the large and telling DANMASK study. Even the New York Times admitted, “Researchers in Denmark reported on Wednesday that surgical masks did not protect the wearers against infection with the coronavirus in a large randomized clinical trial.”

As Anthony Lazzarino, M.D., commented in the British Medical Journal, “The DANMASK-19 study proved that surgical facemasks have limited air filtering capacity with respect to SARS-CoV-2.”

I offered them a large, randomized-controlled mask study of influenza from Vietnam that showed the cloth mask–wearing group had more infections than the control group wearing no masks. As Dr. A. A. Chughtai and his coauthors concluded, “Rates of infection were consistently higher among those in the cloth mask group than in the medical mask and control groups.”

I would point out that the pores of a surgical mask were six hundred times larger than the virus. But, to these young nonscientists, I was portrayed as the person who did not “believe the science.” Never mind that science is about objective provability, not belief. Yet in America, under the cult of personality around Fauci, science was bastardized into something akin to religion. And yet the media accused anyone who challenged the dogma of somehow “politicizing” the virus.

Rand Paul, M.D. is the author of Deception: The Great Covid Cover-Up. He has represented Kentucky in the U.S. Senate since 2011.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

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