“You’ve been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show. You can’t get it again,” Paul said. “There’s virtually 0% chance you’re going to get it and you’re telling people that have had the vaccine who have immunity — you’re defying everything we know about immunity by telling people to wear masks who have been vaccinated.”
“Here we go again with the theater,” a clearly exhausted-by-ignorance Fauci responded. “Let’s get down to the facts.” Throughout the exchange, Fauci was repeatedly interrupted (are we even surprised he was?) and noted that “masks are not theater — masks are protective.”
Paul also accused Fauci of wearing a mask “to give comfort to others,” not because of the science behind it.
“You’re telling everyone to wear a mask,” Paul said. “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?” Paul claimed that no studies showed a significant reinfection rate for those who have either recovered from COVID-19 or for been vaccinated.
To which Fauci replied: “I agree with you, that you very likely would have protection from wild type for at least six months if you’re infected.” However, he added that protection from some variants and mutations is not available, including a variant first found in South Africa. This, he argued, is a “good reason for a mask.”
Additionally, Fauci citied studies in which people who were infected with the original “wild type” strain of COVID-19 were exposed to other variants.
Despite these facts, Paul—being the person he is—continued to argue that Fauci was wrong and barely let him speak. Others supported Fauci, including Sens. Chris Murphy and Tim Kaine, who noted that Fauci was “setting an example” by wearing a mask while many leaders have refused to do so.
“I have had COVID, and I’ve been vaccinated, and I wear a mask. I wear a mask to make other people feel safer, even if there weren’t variants,” Kaine said.
Watch the fiery exchange for yourself below:
The argument followed a newly released guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that stated those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely visit other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing. But the CDC also recommended that those vaccinated should still wear masks in public settings, in addition to at gatherings where unvaccinated people may be present.
The guidelines followed evidence that suggested those completely vaccinated against the virus are less likely to transmit the disease to others; however, it is unclear how long protections may last or how effective the shots are against emerging variants, the CDC said on March 8.
As of this report, more than 29,658,800 people in the U.S. have been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
Masks have been proven to significantly decrease the chance of COVID-19 infection. Whether or not you have survived COVID-19 or been vaccinated, please wear a mask.