On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) yet again trotted out his ignorance at a Senate hearing where he complained to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health about mask-wearing. Specifically, Paul questioned whether wearing masks even after getting vaccinated or outright contracting the virus was “just theater” because of claimed immunity, and Fauci tried to reasonably answer the Senator’s question, but Paul didn’t seem interested. Paul, who interrupted Fauci, almost sounded like he wasn’t even listening!
Fauci commented as follows:
‘Here we go again with the theater. Let’s get down to the facts. Okay, the studies that you quote… 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… The other thing is that when you talk about re-infection, and you don’t keep in the concept of variants, that’s an entirely different ballgame. That’s a good reason for a mask.’
Fauci subsequently cited a South African study where researchers “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.” Thus, Fauci added, “when you talk about re-infection, you’ve got to make sure you’re talking about wild type… but we in our country now have variants that are circulating.”
These remarks are an answer to Paul’s question — as Fauci explained it, the presence of virus variants could effectively supersede any lingering immunity from past infections or vaccinations. Thus, continued mask-wearing could be seriously helpful until variants are more under control. Paul didn’t engage with Fauci’s remarks — he just interrupted and reiterated his questioning, demanding studies showing a danger of re-infection… although Fauci literally just cited a study that showed such a danger under certain circumstances. Paul is just incompetent, and his self-righteous act like he knows what he’s talking about makes it worse.
Watch Paul’s outburst against Fauci below:
Dr. Fauci to Sen. Rand Paul: "Here we go again with the theater. Let's get down to the facts." pic.twitter.com/z3zaCclao0
— The Hill (@thehill) March 18, 2021
COVID-19 is not the only area in which Paul is ignorant. Recently, he also insisted that he was expecting documentation to come out showing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was responsible for the lack of adequate Capitol security on January 6 that allowed rioters to break in. In reality, PolitiFact explains in a fact-check, “Though Pelosi does have a role in the hierarchy overseeing security, there is no indication she controls its day-to-day operations.” As Speaker, Pelosi occupies a position in the Capitol security hierarchy roughly equivalent to the one that Mitch McConnell had as Senate Majority Leader on January 6.