GOP lawmaker cites 'herd immunity' when asked why he's without face mask

GOP lawmaker cites 'herd immunity' when asked why he's without face mask
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoKat Cammack wins Florida GOP primary in bid for Ted Yoho's seat The Hill's Convention Report: Democrats gear up for Day Two of convention Eyes turn to Ocasio-Cortez as she seeks to boost Biden MORE (R-Fla.) was spotted at the Capitol without a face mask on Friday, telling CNN there's "just no need."

According to CNN's Manu Raju, Yoho was seen without a mask around the Capitol and on the House floor ahead of a vote on Democrats' most recent coronavirus stimulus package. 

When asked by Raju why he chose to go without a face mask, Yoho responded that there's "no need" and also cited "herd immunity."

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“Viruses do what viruses do,” Yoho said. “I think the only way you’re going to get it is to get exposed.” 

When asked for comment about going without a mask, Yoho's office told The Hill the congressman had no further comment at this time. 

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Herd immunity has been a controversial concept during the coronavirus pandemic. It refers to the idea of people becoming indirectly protected from viruses as the larger population develops immunity through vaccines or recovering from infection.

The approach of herd immunity has been used by Sweden during the coronavirus pandemic, which has kept many businesses open and encouraged measures like social distancing and hand-washing to prevent the virus spread. Some have heralded the idea, while others say the country's high mortality rate puts the practice into question. 

Several other lawmakers chose not to wear masks at the Capitol on Friday, so long as they were able to maintain distance from other lawmakers and aides. President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE has frequently gone without a face mask during the pandemic, as have other top officials. 

Last week, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSecond GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Trump seeks to flip 'Rage' narrative; Dems block COVID-19 bill MORE (R-Ky.) said he was not wearing a mask because he recovered from COVID-19

“I've already had the virus, so I can't get it again, and I can't give it to anybody,” he said. When reporters asked him about reports that a newer strain of the virus could allow people to get reinfected, Paul responded, “That’s not true.”

“I can’t get it again, nor can I transmit it,” he continued. “So of all the people you'll meet here, I'm about the only safe person in Washington."

Updated: 8:16 p.m.