Ron Paul, the 84-year-old former Texas congressman, published the column on Monday, March 16, on his own Ron Paul Institute site, where he publishes an essay every week. Paul served in Congress from 1979 to 1985, and then again from 1997 to 2013. He also ran for president in the Republican primaries in 2008 and 2012, after first running on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1988.
In his Monday essay titled “The Coronavirus Hoax,” the elder Paul claimed that “the actual danger” of the deadly coronavirus pandemic has been “exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic.”
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, had claimed 414 lives in the U.S. as of late Sunday afternoon, including 112 deaths in the past 24 hours alone, according to the population data site Worldometers. The total number of cases in the U.S. now tops 32,300, according to the site’s data.
Paul said in his essay that “people should ask themselves whether this coronavirus ‘pandemic’ could be a big hoax.”
The former presidential candidate said that Democrats may be behind the purported hoax in order to trick Americans into being willing to give up freedoms.
The former congressman blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease specialist at the National Institutes of Health, as “the chief fearmonger of the Trump Administration.” Paul claimed that Fauci has been publicly stating “outright falsehoods to stir up even more panic.”
Paul singled out Fauci’s statement, made in congressional testimony, that the death rate for coronavirus was 10 times the rate of the seasonal flu. Paul dismissed Fauci’s claim as “without any scientific basis.”
According to an analysis by Live Science, the rate of mortality from seasonal flu is approximately 0.1 percent. While estimates of COVID-19 death rates have varied, the lowest assessment cited by Live Science was 1.4 percent — 14 times higher than the seasonal flu death rate.
In China’s Hubei Province, where the pandemic originated late last year, the coronavirus mortality rate was assessed by medical researchers at 2.9 percent; 29 times as high as the season flu rate.
Paul’s son, Rand Paul, says that he has no symptoms of the disease, and is now in a self-imposed quarantine at his home in Kentucky. Fellow Republican Mitt Romney said on Sunday that a group of Republican senators attended a luncheon with Rand Paul on Friday, and are now deciding whether they also need to self-quarantine.