On Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) tested positive for Coronavirus, making him the first U.S. Senator to officially contract the disease. While awaiting his test results, he continued on with his ordinary routine, including using the Capitol gym, where he obviously could have exposed each and every one of his colleagues around him to the disease, which has claimed almost 500 American lives and counting. Although he had enough concern to seek testing in the first place, Paul is now insisting that he did nothing wrong when he continued to utilize Capitol facilities while awaiting results. In fact, he implies, he should be lauded for his weekend behavior, since he got tested in the first place, despite no symptoms.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on Sen. Rand Paul testing positive for coronavirus: "What I'm really upset about is he's a physician, and he ought to know best in the whole Senate … he went out and he literally spread it. "https://t.co/93puCOjGL8
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 23, 2020
Issues with access to testing have emerged around the country, with frequent apparent rations of supplies. Tests for those with symptoms and other specific suggestions of Coronavirus infection have been prioritized. Paul says that he got tested in light of concern about the combo of his damaged lung — Coronavirus is a respiratory infection — and his frequent travel as part of his official duties. Congress has yet to implement a voting mechanism that members can use without being present in the chamber.
‘For those who want to criticize me for lack of quarantine, realize that if the rules on testing had been followed to a tee, I would never have been tested and would still be walking around the halls of the Capitol. The current guidelines would not have called for me to get tested nor quarantined. It was my extra precaution, out of concern for my damaged lung, that led me to get tested.’
— ABC News (@ABC) March 23, 2020
Paul said on Monday that he had yet to develop any symptoms of the disease. It’s unclear where he may have contracted it from.
He used the opportunity of the spotlight to call for a strengthened testing regimen, commenting:
‘The broader the testing and the less finger-pointing we have, the better. America is strong. We are a resilient people, but we’re stronger when we stand together.’
Well, Americans aren’t going to be standing together for awhile — federal guidelines continue to insist upon social distancing, which entails people avoiding social gatherings in pretty much any context in an effort to stem the spread of the disease.
Some dismal projections have emerged, including one that California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) cited that suggested as many as 56 percent of Californians could eventually contract the Coronavirus. Similar figures have been cited for other locales, like the especially hard-hit New York. Almost 100 people have died from the Coronavirus in New York City alone as of Monday afternoon.
Ironically, President Donald Trump himself has actually been expressing tacit support for Paul’s idea that he wasn’t wrong for continuing his social interactions while awaiting test results. Trump blasted out an all-caps Twitter message late Sunday night that the “CURE CAN’T BE WORSE THAN THE DISEASE.” He said that, it seems, with protecting the economy in mind — even at the expense of American lives that could be saved if Trump and his cronies let up with their big business priorities just for a moment.
KUDLOW teases that Trump will try to send people back to work next week: "We can't shut in the economy… POTUS is right: The cure can't be worse than the disease, & we're gonna have to make some difficult trade-offs… I spoke w/ POTUS about this very subject late last evening." pic.twitter.com/OV02aLFGxh
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 23, 2020