Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told “Fox News Rundown” podcast on Wednesday that he thinks coronavirus lockdowns were “a big mistake,” adding that they led to a crippling of the economy and haven’t “done much to the virus.”
Paul made the comments as several states across the country, including Florida and Texas, are experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases after the states reopened their economies. While some areas, including New York City, which stayed shut down for longer, are experiencing low numbers of new cases.
New York City recorded no coronavirus deaths on Monday in what would be the first day without deaths in the city since the pandemic began to devastate the city in March, the New York Post reported on Wednesday, citing state health data.
“We’ve seen surges in coronaviruses in the midst of lockdown,” Paul noted on Wednesday, adding that “New York had a lockdown and had 30,000 people die.”
“New York had the worst death rate of any place in the world amid a lockdown so perhaps a lockdown didn’t do any good and perhaps a lockdown killed our economy, but didn’t do anything to stem the tide of the virus,” he said. “So I see nothing to be admired in New York’s lockdown.”
“I see a mountain of people who died, particularly in the nursing homes,” Paul continued. “I don’t think the lockdown did them any good. I think it killed the economy, but didn’t do any good for trying to contain the virus.”
He went on to say that he thinks that as states continue the reopening process, “each individual needs to assess their own risks with regard to the virus.”
“We need to put it in context [that] under age 45 this disease [COVID-19] we’re looking at is less dangerous than the seasonal flu,” Paul said. “Above age 45, it’s more dangerous than the seasonal flu.”
“If you’re in your 80s and you’re in a nursing home, we need to do all kinds of things to try to protect you, but I don’t think that involves shutting down the economy,” he continued. “I think that involves other precautions.”
He then pointed out that “we typically have among us tens of thousands of people who are on chemotherapy, but we don’t tell the whole country to wear masks because you might give a virus to people who are in chemotherapy.”
“What we do is people on chemotherapy try to be very cautious, to stay away from children with infectious diseases or others who might transmit it, but we don’t shut the entire economy down, even though there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people with depressed immune systems,” Paul went on to explain.
“So I think we’ve made a big mistake in the lockdown. We’ve crippled the economy, but I don’t know that we’ve done much to the virus.”
Paul explained what he thinks happened in New York that worked to tame COVID-19.
“The interesting story that most people aren’t reporting, is that New York … doesn’t have many deaths at this point and doesn’t have many new cases and people say, ‘Oh, that’s because Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo is such a great governor.’ No, it has nothing to do with him,” Paul said.
“I think it has to do with New York City, in particular, has now achieved a level of immunity, that there is somewhat of a tamping down of the virus because of the level of immunity,” he continued, adding that he believes the same thing is taking place in Stockholm, Sweden.
He went on to say that he thinks it also happened in “northern Italy, where a huge number of people have gotten it and the virus has run its course and probably won’t come back in as significant a fashion as it did the first time.”
Last month, the head of a hospital in Milan, Italy, claimed the novel coronavirus no longer exists in the country — clinically speaking, that is.
Alberto Zangrillo, head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, told RAI television that the disease has weakened in Italy, the New York Post reported, adding another doctor, the head of the infectious diseases clinic at the San Martino hospital in Genoa, echoed Zangrillo.
Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report.