Rand Paul on NIH chief’s mask-at-home remark: How can smart people ‘say such stupid things?’

Sen. Rand Paul ripped National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins after he suggested Tuesday that parents should mask up while at home to protect their unvaccinated children from contracting the new Delta variant of COVID-19.

“How can people who are so smart say such stupid things? There is no science to defend putting your kids in masks or parents wearing masks—no science whatsoever. If there were, we would be wearing masks for years and years because for kids, the death rate is about the same as the seasonal flu,” Paul told Fox News.

“It may be less than the seasonal flu. So, is Francis Collins proposing that because the flu is with us forever that parents should be wearing masks around their kids that have the flu? It is absolutely and utterly without scientific evidence!” Paul, a Kentucky Republican and an opthalmologist, continued.

“Now, they’re all freaking out right now about the Delta variant.”

Earlier, Collins told CNN’s “New Day” that the new Delta variant of the virus appears to be negatively impacting children more than the original COVID strain, though he also said hospitalizations were rare.

“It’s clear that this variant is capable of causing serious illness in children. You have heard those stories coming out of Louisiana pediatric ICUs where there are kids as young as a few months old who are sick from this. That is rare,” he said.

“Certainly, younger people are less likely to fall ill. But anybody who tries to tell you, you don’t have worry about it if you are a young, healthy person, there’s many counterexamples all around us now,” Collins continued.

“So yes, you do need to think about it, and that’s the reason why the recommendations are for kids under 12 that they avoid being in places where they might get infected, which means recommendations of mask-wearing in schools and at home. Parents of unvaccinated kids should be thoughtful about this, and the recommendation of this is to wear masks there as well,” he added.

“I know that’s uncomfortable. I know it seems weird, but it is the best way to protect your kids,” the NIH director noted further.

Later, Collins walked back his comments, as did senior Biden administration medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said that Collins “misspoke.”

But Paul told Fox News host Ben Domenech that the messaging coming out of the administration is confusing and that new mandates and recommendations aren’t medically necessary.

“One thing is—in all likelihood true—it is more transmissible, significantly more transmissible, but guess what? Every bit of evidence shows that it’s less deadly—significantly less deadly,” Paul said,

“Public Health England looked at 92,000 people. If you were vaccinated and under 50, there were no deaths. If you were unvaccinated and under 50, .08%—still very, very small. So, it’s not an argument for not getting vaccinated. It’s an argument for not getting hysterical over the Delta variant,” he noted further.

“We shouldn’t be changing any mandates and really, in all likelihood, the masks didn’t affect the trajectory of the virus at all,” he said, adding that he believes the spread of the various strains of COVID are being slowed by vaccines “and natural immunity.”

“And they continue to ignore natural immunity because they think we are too far behind. We got to vaccinate the children but, in reality I think it’s 90 percent of people over 65 have been vaccinated. That’s extraordinary. We should be celebrating,” he said.

Jon Dougherty

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