In the end, it comes down to who do you trust more: a world-renowned infectious disease specialist with decades of experience studying the transmission of deadly infections? Or an ophthalmologist-turned right-wing extremist politician whose only medical certification comes from an organization that he founded himself?
Those are your choices when it comes to judging who has the most compelling argument in the testy debate held today during the Senate hearing examining the nation’s coronavirus response efforts.
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci adamantly countered the medical misinformation being peddled by the ersatz Kentucky “medical expert” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who still is attempting to convince people of the supposed inefficacy of masks as a tool to help prevent the spread of the COVID -19 coronavirus and its rapidly mutating variants.
“You’re telling everyone to wear a mask,” Senator Paul exclaimed. “If we’re not spreading the infection, isn’t it just theater? You have the vaccine and you’re wearing two masks, isn’t that theater?”
The exasperated Dr. Fauci responded with a damning riposte.
“Here we go again with the theater,” Fauci sighed. “Let’s get down to the facts.”
Fauci thereupon proceeded to school Paul who claims that his bout with the COVID virus in the early days of the pandemic grants him immunity from future infections and absolves him of the responsibility to wear a mask — even though studies show that he could still carry a viral load that could infect other people without the prophylactic face covering.
“I agree with you, that you very likely would have protection from wild type for at least six months if you’re infected,” Fauci said.
Still, the chief White House medical advisor explained that neither a previous Covid infection nor the existing vaccines necessarily protect anyone from some of the more infectious variants, like the one first found in South Africa.
The existence of these variants alone is a “good reason for a mask,” Fauci said.
The infectious disease specialist’s words provoked an outburst of angry accusations from the obstinate Kentucky eye doctor.
“You’re making policy based on conjecture!” Paul shouted over Fauci’s testimony, accusing him of wanting people to wear masks “for another couple of years.”
“You’ve been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show,” Paul continued. “If you already have immunity, you’re wearing a mask to give comfort to others. You’re not wearing a mask because of any science.”
Senator Paul may want to take up his grievances with the newly unmuzzled Centers for Disease Control and Prevention whose latest guidance calls for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to continue to wear a mask in public, now that Donald Trump’s political appointees are no longer censoring their public recommendations.
For his part, Dr. Fauci wouldn’t let Senator Paul’s ludicrous statements stand unchallenged.
“Let me just state for the record, masks are not theater,” Fauci declared, before adding that “I totally disagree” with what the senator’s contentions.
While it remains mystifying as to why Senator Paul and other right-wing nut jobs care so little about the health and safety of their constituents and the rest of America’s citizens, one thing is certain: that their destructive efforts to cast doubt on the medical recommendations of people who know the dangers brought by this deadly virus will lead to more unnecessary deaths and illness and must be called out loudly for being the malignant attack on our society that it truly is.
You can watch a video of the exchange between Senator rand paul and Dr. Fauci in the excerpt 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
Original reporting by Nathaniel Weixel at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.