(Liberty Bell) – On Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky (R) announced that he had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Almost as soon as the news came out, Paul was accused of putting the Senate at risk by attending to his regular work in the Senate while he awaited the results of the test by two of his fellow Senators.
Paul, who has a damaged lung after being violently attacked by his angry liberal neighbor a few years ago, explained he’d taken the test out of an abundance of caution due to his increased risk factor and as he travels the country as a senator.
The Senator, who is a medical doctor, says that because of these factors he believed he was at low risk for exposure and had carried on with his job, same as the rest of his colleagues who were just as likely to be exposed themselves.
Given that my wife and I had traveled extensively during the weeks prior to COVID-19 social distancing practices, and that I am at a higher risk for serious complications from the virus due to having part of my lung removed seven months ago, I took a COVID-19 test when I arrived in D.C. last Monday. I felt that it was highly unlikely that I was positive since I have had no symptoms of the illness, nor have I had contact with anyone who has either tested positive for the virus or been sick.
“Since nearly every member of the U.S. Senate travels by plane across the country multiple times per week and attends lots of large gatherings, I believed my risk factor for exposure to the virus to be similar to that of my colleagues, especially since multiple congressional staffers on the Hill had already tested positive weeks ago.
“As for my attendance at the Speed Art Museum fundraiser on March 7, unlike the other Kentucky government officials there, I had zero contact or proximity with either of the two individuals who later announced they were positive for COVID-19. The event was a large affair of hundreds of people spread throughout the museum.
“There was an announcement by the Museum and Metro Louisville Communicable Disease department that “those who public health officials consider at higher risk from possible exposure are being notified.” Louisville’s health director put out a statement in The Courier Journal that “most of the people at the Speed Ball were at ‘very minimal risk.’” I was not considered to be at risk since I never interacted with the two individuals even from a distance and was not recommended for testing by health officials.
“I believe we need more testing immediately, even among those without symptoms. The nature of COVID-19 put me – and us all – in a Catch-22 situation. I didn’t fit the criteria for testing or quarantine. I had no symptoms and no specific encounter with a COVID-19 positive person. I had, however, traveled extensively in the U.S. and was required to continue doing so to vote in the Senate. That, together with the fact that I have a compromised lung, led me to seek testing. Despite my positive test result, I remain asymptomatic for COVID-19.
“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.
“Perhaps it is too much to ask that we simply have compassion for our fellow Americans who are sick or fearful of becoming so. Thousands of people want testing. Many, like David Newman of The Walking Dead, are sick with flu symptoms and are being denied testing. This makes no sense.
“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.”
According to an early report on Sunday from The Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim, “During the Senate GOP lunch today, (Sen. Jerry) Moran (R-KS) told colleagues that Rand was at the gym this morning, per two sources briefed on the lunch, and that he was swimming in the pool. Rand got his COVID-19 results back this morning.”
During the Senate GOP lunch today, Moran told colleagues that Rand was at the gym this morning, per two sources briefed on the lunch, and that he was swimming in the pool. Rand got his COVID-19 results back this morning.
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) March 22, 2020
On Sunday evening, CNN’s Jake Tapper posted a Twitter thread which claimed, “A source close to Senator Rand Paul explains the events of the last couple weeks: A week and a half or so ago, Sen. Paul shut down his offices because of the coronavirus, telling his staff to work from home. 1/…”
A source close to Senator Rand Paul explains the events of the last couple weeks:
A week and a half or so ago, Sen. Paul shut down his offices because of the coronavirus, telling his staff to work from home.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 22, 2020
…2/ On March 15, it was reported that two individuals at an event he attended in Kentucky — Speed Art Museum’s March 7 “Speed Ball” event — tested positive for coronavirus.
3/ The source close to Paul says the senator was confident he hadn’t interacted with the two so he didn’t think much of it, but then he thought about the particular vulnerability of those with respiratory and lung issues.
4/ Last August, as a result of complications from the neighbor who assaulted him in 2017, Paul had surgery that removed part of his lungs; he still occasionally experiences shortness of breath. Given that, source says, even though he was asymptomatic, he decided to play it safe.
5/ He got the test six or seven days ago, this source says. He felt fine, had no symptoms, and did not think he had coronavirus. He went about his daily life, including lunching with colleagues last week and going to the Senate gym this morning.
6/ Afterwards he got the results of the test and learned he had tested positive. As soon as he heard that, the source says, he left the Senate immediately.
Manu Raju of CNN reported that, “A number of Senate aides and senators are angry Paul did not go into isolation after he took the test or after he leaned about the positive cases at the event he was at. Instead, he continued on with his schedule, attending GOP lunches, going to gym, etc”.
A number of Senate aides and senators are angry Paul did not go into isolation after he took the test or after he leaned about the positive cases at the event he was at. Instead, he continued on with his schedule, attending GOP lunches, going to gym, etc https://t.co/zFwDdmY87B
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 22, 2020
Sen. Martha McSally (R), “I couldn’t agree more @kyrstensinema. As we ask all Americans to sacrifice their livelihoods and alter their behavior to save lives, we must ourselves model appropriate #coronavirus behavior. No one is too important to disregard guidance to self-quarantine pending test results.”
I couldn't agree more @kyrstensinema. As we ask all Americans to sacrifice their livelihoods and alter their behavior to save lives, we must ourselves model appropriate #coronavirus behavior. No one is too important to disregard guidance to self-quarantine pending test results. https://t.co/0zQx8yrJA4
— Martha McSally (@SenMcSallyAZ) March 23, 2020
These women should have waited until the facts came out before accusing their colleague.