Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday people who have recovered from COVID-19 can not get it again, despite scientific evidence that refutes his claim.
Speaking at a campaign event for Nick Freitas, a congressional candidate in Virginia, the outspoken Kentucky senator urged restaurants and cruise ships to hire people who have had COVID-19.
“If I owned a restaurant, I’d have a whole wing for senior citizens or for anybody who is worried about getting sick, and I would say, all my servers have already had it,” Paul told the crowd. “If I had a cruise ship, I’d hire everybody. No exceptions. Everybody would have had the infection that works on the boat.”
Reports of reinfection of COVID-19 has “been infrequent,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week. But the CDC added that reinfection “is expected to increase with time,” as more people recover but the virus continues to spread.
A case study released Oct. 12 by medical journal The Lancet showed a 25-year-old Nevada man contracted COVID-19 twice. Research from other countries have also found possible cases of reinfection. There is still uncertainty in the medical research about how long antibodies last after infection.
“I’ve had it. I can’t get it again,” Paul falsely declared Sunday. “I can’t give it to you and I can’t get it.”
Last month, Paul and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci debated in a Senate hearing over COVID-19 herd immunity, McClatchy News reported. The senator suggested New York City beat the pandemic because it had reached herd immunity, to which Fauci vehemently disagreed.
“I challenge that, senator... This happens with Sen. Rand all the time,” Fauci responded. “You are not listening to what the director of the CDC said, that in New York (the infection rate) is about 22%. If you believe 22% is herd immunity, I believe you are alone in that.”