Fauci rejects Rand Paul's stance on mask wearing

The top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Thursday challenged Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (the need for mask mandates for those who have already been infected with or vaccinated against COVID-19. (March 18)

Video Transcript

RAND PAUL: You're telling everybody to wear a mask, whether they've had an infection or a vaccine. What I'm saying is they have immunity and everybody agrees they have immunity. What studies do you have that people that have had the vaccine or have had the infection are spreading the infection. If we're not spreading the infection, isn't it just theater?

ANTHONY FACUI: No it's not.

RAND PAUL: You've had vaccine and you're wearing two masks, isn't that theater?

ANTHONY FAUCI: It's not, here we go again with the theater, let's get down to the facts. OK, the studies that you quote from Crotty and Sette look at in vitro examination of memory immunity, which, in their paper they specifically say, this does not necessarily pertain to the actual protection. It's in vitro.

RAND PAUL: And what studies can you point to that show significant reinfection? There are no studies that show significant reinfection.

ANTHONY FAUCI: Let me finish the response to your question, if you please. The other thing is that when you talk about reinfection and you don't keep in the concept of variance, that's an entirely different ballgame. That's a good reason for a mask. In the South African study, conducted by J and J, they found that people who were infected with wild type and were exposed to the variant in South Africa, the 351, it was as if they had never been infected before, they had no protection. So when you talk about reinfection you've got to make sure you're talking about wild type. I agree with you, that you very likely would have protection from wild type for at least six months if you're infected, but we in our country now have variants that are circulating.