Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky hit back at criticism he’s been facing since testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend in a lengthy statement Monday.
Paul, 57, took a test for the coronavirus last Monday despite not having symptoms.
The current CDC guidance says only those with symptoms, an underlying health condition or a confirmed contact with someone who had COVID-19 merit a test, but Paul said he took one because of his higher than average contact and travel levels, along with a lung injury he sustained during an attack by his neighbor in 2017.
Between taking the test last Monday and getting the positive result over the weekend, Paul mostly went about life as usual, avoiding self-quarantine and even using the Senate gym.
That drew the ire of his Senate colleagues.
Paul fired back at accusations of being “too important to disregard guidance” and “absolutely irresponsible” by detailing the chronology of his week after the test and arguing that things would be worse if he hadn’t gotten tested at all.
“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,” Paul said in his statement. “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.”
The senator added that the current guidelines have put him and other Americans in a “Catch-22 situation.”
“I didn’t fit the criteria for testing or quarantine,” Paul said. “I had no symptoms and no specific encounter with a COVID-19 positive person. I had, however, traveled extensively in the US 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.”
Paul ended with a plea for more compassion amid the outbreak, coupled with a call for more testing.
“Perhaps it is too much to ask that we simply have compassion for our fellow Americans who are sick or fearful of becoming so,” he said. “The broader the testing and the less finger-pointing we have, the better.”
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