Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul accused National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci of engaging in political “theater” for constantly wearing double masks despite vaccination.
Paul, a physician himself, began his questions to the NIH director who testified at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Thursday, by citing the lack of scientific evidence to show vaccinated individuals could still be widely re-infected.
“You’re telling everybody to wear a mask, whether they’ve had an infection or a vaccine,” Paul said, pressing Dr. Fauci on demands that all Americans wear masks into 2022. “What studies do you have that people who have had the vaccine or have had the infection are spreading the infection? If we’re not spreading the infection, isn’t it just theater? If you’ve had the vaccine and you’re wearing two masks, isn’t that theater?”
Sen. @RandPaul: "If we're not spreading the infection, isn't it just theater? You have the vaccine and you're wearing two masks, isn't that theater?
Dr. Anthony Fauci: "Here we go again with the theater. Let's get down to the facts."
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 18, 2021
A visibly frustrated Fauci, who is used to going on camera every day to friendly interviews amplifying every word from the White House coronavirus task force, dismissed Paul’s criticism.
“Here we go again with the theater,” Fauci said, going on to raise hysteria over COVID-19 variants that can bypass immunity offered by the vaccine to re-infect individuals. While some studies show vaccine-supplied immunity is less protective against certain COVID variants such as the South African variant, no mutation of the virus has yet been shown to compromise all approved vaccines entirely.
Fauci however, never pointed to a study showing “significant reinfection” to warrant mandatory mask compliance for those with immunity as Sen. Paul asked for.
“What study shows significant reinfection, hospitalization, and death either after natural infection or a vaccine?” Paul asked. “It doesn’t exist… There is no evidence there are significant reinfections after a vaccine.”
Paul went on the charge Dr. Fauci with “making policy based on conjecture.”
“You want people to wear masks for another couple of years,” Paul said, warning that demands for Americans to wear masks regardless of immunity status would only disincentize the public to take the vaccine.
“You’ve been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show. You can’t get it again… You want to get rid of vaccine hesitancy? Tell them they can quit wearing their masks after they get the vaccine.”
“Well, let me just state for the record that masks are not theater,” Fauci said. “Masks are protective.”
“If you already have immunity, they are theater,” Paul responded.