As soon as healh authorities declared a global pandemic, people were encouraged to take certain precautions to limit the spread of the viral disease.
Handwashing, social distancing and self isolation were encouraged.
And for anyone who felt or knew they had been exposed to the virus, self quarantine at a minimum was suggested. And for those showing symptoms or who were at risk, being tested when possible followed by self quarantining was the proper course of action.
Unless of course you're the Republican junior Senator from Kentucky. In the case of Rand Paul, getting tested after exposure was followed by returning to the halls of Congress, going to the congressional gym, coming in close contact with members of the Washington press corps and members of the public.
Sen. Rand Paul continued to work at the U.S. Capitol for six days after taking a coronavirus test. The Kentucky Rep… https://t.co/gNQAtYDwuf— The Associated Press (@The Associated Press)1584988729.0
Six days after taking his test, the GOP Senator confirmed he had been infected. Paul's office issued an official statement.
It said in part:
"I felt that it was highly unlikely that I was positive since I have had no symptoms of the illness, nor have I had contact with anyone who has either tested positive for the virus or been sick."
"Since nearly every member of the U.S. Senate travels by plane across the country multiple times per week and attends lots of large gatherings, I believed my risk factor for exposure to the virus to be similar to that of my colleagues, especially since multiple congressional staffers on the Hill had already tested positive weeks ago."
Paul's statement noted he attended a fundraiser with two people who tested positive.
Continuing to try to justify exposing others to the virus, Paul stated:
"I was not considered to be at risk since I never interacted with the two individuals even from a distance and was not recommended for testing by health officials."
Paul went on to blame testing protocols.
"I believe we need more testing immediately, even among those without symptoms.... I didn't fit the criteria for testing or quarantine."
"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. The current guidelines would not have called for me to get tested nor quarantined."
The Kentucky Republican then provided praise for himself.
"It was my extra precaution, out of concern for my damaged lung, that led me to get tested."
Paul concluded with a plea for compassion and again pointing out the real fault lay not in himself—for failing to self quarantine like other legislators did after attending gatherings with people who tested positive—but with testing protocols.
"Perhaps it is too much to ask that we simply have compassion for our fellow Americans who are sick or fearful of becoming so. Thousands of people want testing."
Paul managed to work in a little name dropping.
"Many, like Daniel Newman of The Walking Dead, are sick with flu symptoms and are being denied testing. This makes no sense."
"The broader the testing and the less finger-pointing we have, the better. America is strong. We are a resilient people, but we're stronger when we stand together."
Paul's decision to seek testing then refusal to self quarantine so he could vote against relief funds for his constituents did not go over well with his colleagues.
Arizona's Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema posted:
"This, America, is absolutely irresponsible. You cannot be near other people while waiting for coronavirus test results. It endangers others & likely increases the spread of the virus."
I’ve never commented about a fellow Senator’s choices/actions. Never once. This, America, is absolutely irresponsi… https://t.co/TlUoOsbZOR— Kyrsten Sinema (@Kyrsten Sinema)1584909702.0
The gym closed last Thursday but some Senators kept going to it anyway. !!! https://t.co/RK710gFPj9— Kyrsten Sinema (@Kyrsten Sinema)1584970638.0
Others concurred with Senator Sinema's sentiments.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on Sen. Rand Paul testing positive for coronavirus: "What I'm really upset about is he's a phys… https://t.co/r3tMWHvNkA— MSNBC (@MSNBC)1584999067.0
GOP senators say they ‘don’t need to quarantine’ after lunch with Rand Paul: ‘We’ll be praying.’ HERE IS THE ANSWE… https://t.co/v8kbsQykN0— God (@God)1584995679.0
Dr. Birx just said that Rand Paul failed to follow the White House social distancing guidelines. Uh oh, these are fighting words.— Palmer Report (@Palmer Report)1585004272.0
Had to quarantine for two weeks because I was in New Orleans right before everything shut down. Went back to work… https://t.co/7yTBCihVsT— Paul McLeod (@Paul McLeod)1584991365.0
After his coronavirus test, Senator Rand Paul (R-Moscow) continued to work at the U.S. Capitol for 6 days. He said… https://t.co/giNsUKezp6— Xeni Jardin (@Xeni Jardin)1584993929.0
Rand Paul aides are upset they were not told he might have been exposed to the virus or had been tested for it unti… https://t.co/9gwVjfgUSb— Catie Edmondson (@Catie Edmondson)1585003647.0
If a person has been at an event with people who tested positive, self isolating is recommended. Even if they did not interact with the infected individual, people they did interact with may have.
Follow the guidance provided by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and not the actions of a GOP Senator.