Sen. Paul spars with Fauci over wearing masks after COVID-19 vaccination: 'Isn't that theater?'

"Can I just state for the record that masks are not theater,” Fauci said of mask-wearing after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

GOP Sen. Rand Paul and National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci sparred with each other Thursday over the use of masks among people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The exchange occurred during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal government's coronavirus response.

"You're telling everybody to wear a mask, whether they've had an infection or a vaccine," Paul said to Fauci. "What I'm saying is that 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 or the vaccine are spreading the infection? If we're not spreading the infection, isn't that just theater? You've had the vaccine and you're wearing two masks, isn't that theater?"

Fauci responded, saying, "No, it's not. Here we  go again with the theater. Can I just state for the record that masks are not theater. I totally disagree with you.”

Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, pointed to studies that looked at "in-vitro examination of memory immunity" and concluded that it "does not necessarily pertain to the actual protection, it's in-vitro."