Rand Paul May Be Infecting America with a Brand New COVID Epidemic
And we may have no protection
By Thom Hartmann
Reprinted with permission of the author
Because of Rand Paul and his fellow maskholes, America may be facing an entirely new pandemic, one that can kill you even if you’ve already had Covid.
Probably the most under-reported story of the week, and perhaps of the year, was a comment that Dr. Anthony Fauci made in response to harassment from Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul.
Paul, an entitled, preening ass of the first order, refuses to wear a mask because, he says, he’s already contracted Covid, survived it, and now claims he is immune to the disease. He says people who’ve been vaccinated shouldn’t bother with masks, either.
“You’ve been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show. You can’t get it again,” Paul scolded Fauci, who’s been immunized. “There’s virtually 0% chance you’re going to get it and you’re telling people that have had the vaccine who have immunity — you’re defying everything we know about immunity by telling people to wear masks who have been vaccinated.”
Since Paul believes he can’t get Covid, the Senator’s logic goes, why should he bother to wear a mask to protect himself from a disease he can’t get? And since he can’t get Covid again, why should he bother to wear a mask to protect others when he can’t become infected and thus contagious?
It’s actually a pretty reasonable logical position. Unfortunately its premise is wrong; Paul hadn’t bothered to check out the science or read the newspapers, particularly out of Europe.
It turns out that even though Paul’s already had Covid, he can get re-infected and infect others — and this goes way beyond the rare cases of “normal” second infections. There’s a brand new version of Covid, so mutated it may eventually be considered an entirely new disease, and it’s ripping through the world.
Keep in mind that Covid is an entirely new disease in the 300,000 year history of the human race. Our immune systems have never seen it before.
We have, in the last 20 years, encountered two other versions of the Corona viruses that also jumped from the wild into humans: the original SARS and MERS. SARS kills about a fifth of the people who get it; MERS kills a little more than a third. And now this one, SARS-COV-2 (aka Covid-19), is mutating.
“In the South African study conducted by [Johnson & Johnson],” Fauci told Paul on live television, “they found that people who were infected with [the] wild type [of Covid, like Paul got] and were exposed to the variant in South Africa, the 351 [variant], it was as if they had never been infected before, they had no protection.”
Let that sink in. No protection. It was a if they had never been infected before.
And, while having formerly had Covid (like Rand Paul) offers no protection against getting sick or even dying from the South African variant, the J&J study in South Africa did show that the vaccine at least cut incidence of illness in the face of it dramatically and pretty much eliminated hospitalization and death.
That vaccine and a new one under development by Novavax appear to offer about 60% protection against this new South African strain, but both also largely eliminate deaths from the disease and radically cut its transmission rate.
Nobody knows for sure how effective the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZenica vaccines are against the new strain, but it appears they at least offer some immunity — which previously having had Covid, like Rand Paul, does not do.
President Biden jumped on the message immediately, echoing Fauci just hours later.
“In the past weeks we’ve seen increases in cases in several states,” President Biden told the nation after Fauci pointed out Paul’s vapidity. “Scientists have made clear that things may get worse as new variants of this virus spread.”
While the South African variant is just beginning to pop up here in the United States, it appears to be burning through France and parts of continental Europe, causing the UK to consider another lock-down even as their vaccination rates beat the US.
The BBC opened their podcast yesterday with: “The Covid crisis in Europe is getting worse, and quickly.“
That may well mean the world is at the same stage in a brand new pandemic — this time with the South African variant — that we were at with the original “wild” version back in March or April of last year. And that would be a very, very bad thing.
Thursday night President Biden addressed this, saying, “Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight back against these variants,” adding that we must also all wear masks, even if vaccinated or previously ill, to prevent the variants’ transmission.
Even if a vaccine — any of the vaccines — can’t entirely stop the South African variant, according to Fauci and other scientists it will prevent hospitalizations and deaths. And if people keep wearing face masks, vaccinated or not, previously sick with Covid or not, we can cut the speed and breadth of its transmission across the country.
Republican governors are doing everything they can to sabatoge these efforts by lifting mask mandates and even concealing their own states’ death rates. A new study shows that states with Republican governors have the highest Covid death rates, and if they hold to their science denial, this may be just the beginning of an entirely new horror show. About a quarter of all Republican House members have refused any vaccine.
After Trump’s incompetence killed half a million Americans, a couple dozen Republican governors and the House and Senate colleagues seem enthusiastic about repeating that little trick. Senator Paul is even now claiming that Dr. Fauci is a liar.
Apparently they think if they can cause as many people to die on Biden‘s watch as did on Trump’s, history will hold Trump and them harmless. They’re wrong.
Our best hope is that people in those Red states continue doing what so many have done over the past year: ignoring their own governors and GOP representatives, wearing masks and social distancing, and taking advantage of any vaccine available.
As the South African variant is devastating Europe, we are now on the edge of being able to avoid the same fate here, if only Americans will listen to Dr. Fauci and President Biden.
There is hope, and me we may well be approaching the end of this long, dark tunnel.
But to get there, we have to listen to the science and ignore those Republican politicians who are doing everything they can to sabotage the Biden administration and let more Americans die for their own pathetic political gain.
Spread the word, not the variant.
Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream; The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America; and more than 25 other books in print.