Sen. Paul told the public that his suspension—received for claiming that masks offer no protection and are just another example of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s misinformation campaign against the American people—was censorship. “I think this kind of censorship is very dangerous, incredibly anti-free speech, and truly anti-progress of science, which involves skepticism and argumentation to arrive at the truth.”
Paul created a scripted video statement, saying that while YouTube was a “private entity, they are acting like an arm of the government.” He then went on to call YouTube’s dispute “anti-science” before reiterating that cloth and over-the-counter surgical masks do nothing to protect people from COVID-19. Paul cited a Danish study that right-wing groups have increasingly cited as evidence.
That particular study, even according to the authors of the study themselves, only proved that in Denmark, during the conditions under which the study was conducted, the researchers “didn’t find that the face mask intervention had a large protective effect for wearers—not that masks provide no protection at all or don’t offer benefits to others.” Rand has been championing this study incorrectly since it came out in November of 2020 and was posted on his daddy’s blog. His bigoted dad’s blog also promoted it incorrectly.
In fact, if Rand or anyone actually interested in the science of the study had wanted to, they could have easily seen that the study, when published, also came with two editorial pieces that clarified the study’s virtues and limitations for the general public. Not surprisingly, not a single scientist worth their salt looked at the Danish study and concluded that masks were entirely ineffective as part of a public health plan to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. The authors of the study probably explained it best, writing that their findings “should not be used to conclude that a recommendation for everyone to wear masks in the community would not be effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections, because the trial did not test the role of masks in source control of SARS-CoV-2 infection.” Translation: Don’t use this study to do what Rand Paul has been doing.
The interview that got Paul suspended included the misinformation about the Danish study and misinformation concerning a Cleveland Clinic study, which compared the re-infection rates among employees who had contracted COVID-19 and did not vaccinate to employees who received the vaccine. Paul and other anti-vaxxers have used this study to “debunk” guidance from Dr. Fauci, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for those who have recovered from COVID-19 to get vaccinated, which they claim is just liberal hysteria and an attempt to take our guns, stick microchips in our bodies, and ruin small businesses.
As with the Danish study, Paul has conveniently (again) forgotten the science part of the study. As the Cleveland Clinic itself explained about the study’s conclusions:
We recently shared research that provides insight into how the immune system protects the body after a confirmed COVID-19 infection. The study followed Cleveland Clinic caregivers over five months as the vaccination process was beginning. The data showed that the vaccine was extremely effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. In addition, we found that none of the previously infected employees who remained unvaccinated were re-infected over the duration of the study. This information could help guide vaccination efforts should there be a shortage of vaccine supply and in countries where vaccine supply is limited.
Their point was not that people shouldn’t get vaccinated if they had some natural immunity to COVID-19, but that the good news was that with short supplies of the vaccine initially available, there was a potential scientific path forward in how we prioritize who should be able to get vaccine shots first.
Sen. Paul and his fancy adult haircut join Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is being suspended from social media platforms for the continued peddling of anti-science, anti-public health rumor, and innuendo.