In a tense exchange with Sen. Rand Paul at a hearing in March, Dr. Anthony Fauci insisted he wore a mask after he had been vaccinated because of “the science,” not for “theater,” as the Kentucky lawmaker had charged.
But in an interview Tuesday with “Good Morning America,” Fauci admitted he continued wearing a mask for the sake of appearance.
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked the White House coronavirus adviser if the new Centers for Disease Control guidelines issued last Thursday had made any difference in his personal practices.
Fauci said that prior to the CDC’s recommendation — that people who have been fully vaccinated don’t need to wear a mask — he didn’t want to look like he “was giving mixed signals.”
Fauci explained that “being a fully vaccinated person, the chances of my getting infected in an indoor setting is extremely low, and that’s the reason why in indoor settings now I feel comfortable about not wearing a mask, because I’m fully vaccinated.”
At the Senate hearing on March 18, however, Fauci insisted the science indicated that he should wear a mask. So Paul pressed him to cite specific scientific studies that indicate people who have had the infection or a vaccine will spread the coronavirus.
Fauci didn’t cite any research to back his practice.
“If we’re not spreading the infection, isn’t it just theater?” Paul asked. “You’ve had the vaccine and you wearing two masks, isn’t that just theater?”
Fauci, visibly irritated, replied: “Here we go again with ‘the theater.'”
“Let me just state, for the record, that masks are not theater. Masks are protective.”
See the interview:
Fauci told “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that the science on vaccinated people wearing masks had “evolved over the last few weeks” prior to the CDC’s May 13 announcement.
But five weeks before the new guidelines, on April 2, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky stated emphatically to the American people — based on a CDC study — that vaccinated people not only don’t get sick from the novel coronavirus, they don’t transmit it.
“Vaccinated people do not carry the virus — they don’t get sick,” she told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
That’s “not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.”
The CDC director cited a CDC study released to the public March 29 finding that people fully inoculated with the vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer don’t transmit the virus.
On March 11, a study by Pfizer, BioNTech and the Israel Ministry of Health was released finding the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine prevents transmission.
And, even earlier, on March 2, studies were indicating the vaccines prevented transmission.
The exchange between Paul and Fauci took place two weeks later.
In April, Paul chastised President Biden for wearing a mask during an online global summit even though he was vaccinated, charging the White House policy on the issue was discouraging people from getting the shots.
Dr. Fauci then: Me wearing a mask after vaccination is not “theater.”
Dr. Fauci now: Yeah, it was theater. pic.twitter.com/ow5T53ZG7R
— Young Americans for Liberty (@YALiberty) May 18, 2021
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