Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, said in an interview with CBS News that Sen. Rand Paul is “dead wrong” in claiming that masks offer no protection against spreading COVID-19 for those who have already contracted the virus or been vaccinated.
Last Thursday during a Senate committee hearing, Paul confronted Fauci and accused him of wearing two masks only for “show,” falsely adding that there was “no science” behind policies that suggest masks should be worn after contracting the virus or vaccination.
Fauci pushed back against Paul during the hearing on Thursday.
“Let me just state for the record that masks are not theater, masks are protective," Fauci said.
During an interview with CBS News on Friday, Fauci explained that while he doesn’t “have anything personally against” Paul, the senator was “just quite frankly incorrect."
"Sen. Paul has this message that we don't need masks, which goes against just about everything we know about how to prevent spread of the virus," Fauci said. "He was saying if you've been infected, or you've been vaccinated, don't wear a mask — which is completely against all public health tenets."
Fauci explained that Paul was incorrect in assuming that because a person has been infected with COVID-19 or vaccinated, that it is impossible to contract the virus again. Studies have shown that it is possible to contract the virus twice and pass it on to others — particularly now that several variant strains are spreading throughout the globe.
While vaccines have been proven to be ultra-effective in preventing serious cases of the virus and death, no shot is 100% effective in preventing all cases of COVID-19. Even contracting a mild case of the virus could result in passing it to a person who is more vulnerable.
In February, Fauci said that it’s possible that Americans may need to continue to wear masks while in public until into 2022, but added that the U.S. will likely be “approaching a degree of normality” by the end of the year.