Dr. Anthony Fauci and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) just once again clashed during a COVID-19 hearing.
This time, as Fauci testified before lawmakers on Thursday, Paul claimed it's "just theater" for those who have had COVID-19 or received their vaccine to still wear a mask, an assertion that drew pushback from the nation's top infectious disease expert.
"Here we go again with the theater," Fauci said. "Let's get down to the facts."
Fauci pointed to the spread of COVID-19 variants, which he called a "good reason for a mask," and he told Paul that he's "not hearing what I'm saying about variants" as the senator continued to argue there's no evidence people should need to wear masks after recovering from COVID-19 or getting a vaccine. CDC guidance states that those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should still wear a mask in public.
"You've been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show," Paul told Fauci.
An exasperated Fauci rejected that claim, telling Paul, "Let me just state for the record masks are not theater" and adding that "I totally disagree" with what he said. This was the latest clash between the two during a congressional hearing. In September, Fauci blasted Paul for "not listening" to what health officials had been saying, adding that the senator "misconstrued" what he had said and has "done that repetitively in the past." Brendan Morrow