National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testified Thursday with other federal officials on the COVID-19 response.
In an exchange at a hearing on the nation’s coronavirus response, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul pushed back against Fauci’s claim that masks should be required for every American, including those who are already immune from COVID-19.
“There have been no reports of significant numbers of reinfections after acquiring COVID-19 naturally,” Sen. Paul said.
Paul went on to cite numerous studies that had significant evidence of long-term immunity after COVID infection.
“So rather than being pessimistic towards people gaining immunity after they’ve had COVID, or had a vaccine, studies argue for significant optimism,” Paul told Dr. Fauci. “In fact, there have been no scientific studies arguing, or proving, that infection with COVID does not create immunity.”
“Given that no scientific studies have shown significant numbers of reinfections of patients previously infected, or previously vaccinated, what specific studies do you cite to argue that the public should be wearing masks well into 2022?” Paul asked Fauci. “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?”
“Here we go again with the theater,” Fauci replied growing frustrated.
Fauci argued that the variants of the disease which are now circulating require every American to wear masks.
“What proof is there that there is significant reinfections with hospitalizations and deaths from the variants? None in our country. Zero,” Paul replied. “You’re making a policy based on conjecture.”
“You’ve been vaccinated and you parade around in a mask for show. You can’t get it again!” Paul exclaimed. “You’re defying everything we know about immunity by telling people to wear masks who have been vaccinated.”
Fauci responded, “Let me just state for the record masks are not theater. Masks are protective.”