During a Senate hearing on Thursday, a heated exchange broke out between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul, where Paul asserted, "You've had the vaccine and you're wearing two masks. Isn't that theater?"
"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 the public should be wearing masks well into 2022?," Paul asked Fauci.
"I'm not sure I understand the connection of what you're saying about masks and reinfection," replied Fauci. "We're talking about people who have never been infected before."
Paul questioned Fauci about the studies that show significant reinfection, hospitalization, and death after either natural infection or the vaccine, pointing out that they do not exist.
Paul then claimed that Fauci's insistence on masks was counterproductive for getting people vaccinated:
"You've been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show. You can't get it again. There's virtually 0% chance you're gonna get it, and yet you're telling people that have had the vaccine, that have immunity — you're defying everything we know about immunity by telling people to wear masks that have been vaccinated," Paul said. "Instead you should be saying there is no science to say we're going to have a problem from the large number of people who've been vaccinated. You want to get rid of vaccine hesitancy? Wearing masks after they get the vaccine? You want people to get the vaccine? Give them a reward instead of telling them that the nanny state is going to be there for three more years and you gotta wear a mask forever. People don't want to hear it; there's no science behind it."
Fauci then reiterated that "masks are not theater."
"Let me state just for the record that masks are not theater," he said. "Masks are protective."