Rand Paul wants Joe Biden to "burn his mask" — to promote COVID-19 vaccines

He was slammed for the comment, which ignored the unlikely possibility that vaccinated people can still be infected

Published April 23, 2021 5:30AM (EDT)

Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)
Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

Although half of adults in the United States have been at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19, President Joe Biden and his top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have been emphasizing that the U.S. still needs to get a lot more Americans vaccinated before it can achieve herd immunity. A recent AP-NORC poll found that 26% of White Americans do not plan to get vaccinated. And Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, during a Fox News appearance on April 21, had a recommendation that is being slammed as idiotic: Biden, according to the GOP senator, needs to "burn" his protective face mask in order to encourage vaccination.

Paul, who had COVID-19 in 2020 and recovered from it, told Fox News' Martha MacCallum, "If you want more people to get vaccinated, Joe Biden should go on national TV, take his mask off and burn it. 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.'"

The Kentucky senator was highly critical of Fauci, who has recommended that Americans who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 continue to wear face masks in public — as it is possible to be infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus and spread it even if one has been fully vaccinated. Being infected with an illness despite vaccination is what medical experts describe as "breakthrough" cases. The vast majority of people who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, according to Fauci and other medical experts, will not be infected. But there is a small possibility that they will, especially with the aggressive COVID-19 variants that have emerged — and for that reason, Fauci recommends that fully vaccinated Americans continue to wear masks in public as an added precaution.

Paul, pandering to the GOP's wingnut base, accused Fauci of "fearmongering" during his Fox News appearance and told MacCallum that he will take Fauci seriously "if he can prove people like me that had it are spreading the disease."

Here are some scathing responses to Paul's remarks from Twitter users:

By Alex Henderson

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