“I didn’t want to look like I was giving mixed signals. But being a fully vaccinated person, the chances of my getting infected, in an indoor setting, is extremely low,” Fauci told ABC News on Tuesday. “And that’s the reason why in indoor settings now, I feel comfortable about not wearing a mask, because I’m fully vaccinated.”
Dr. Fauci admits his wearing masks indoors despite being vaccinated was based on imagery, not science:
“I didn’t want to look like I was giving mixed signals but being a fully vaccinated person, the chances of my getting infected in an indoor setting is extremely low.” pic.twitter.com/UdJdhHvoR0
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 18, 2021
Fauci’s comments follow updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says fully vaccinated adults no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.
He later tried to walk back that guidance, accusing states and localities that have since repealed mask mandates of “misinterpreting” the new rules.
“I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone,” Fauci said on Wednesday. “It’s not. It’s an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., confronted Fauci about his mask-wearing during a congressional hearing earlier this year, accusing him of wearing a mask while vaccinated just for show.
“If we’re not spreading the infection, isn’t it just theater?” Paul said to Fauci during a Senate hearing. “If you’ve had the vaccine and you’re wearing two masks, isn’t that theater?”
“No, it’s not — here we go again with the theater,” Fauci responded.
“You’ve been vaccinated, and you parade around in two masks for show,” Paul continued.
But Fauci again denied Paul’s accusation: “Let me just state for the record that masks are not theater. Masks are protective.”