Video of Anthony Fauci Mask Clash with Rand Paul Watched Nearly 1.5 Million Times

A video of the clash between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) about face masks has now been viewed almost 1.5 million times after the exchange was widely reported.

Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Thursday about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

CSPAN posted a five and a half minute video clip of Paul questioning Fauci which had been viewed 1.4 million times as of Friday morning. The full hearing is still available on CSPAN's website.

"Isn't it just theater?" Paul asked Fauci, referring to face masks.

"You've been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show. You can't get it again," he said.

"Here we go again with the theater. Let's get down to the facts," Fauci replied.

"Can I just state for the record that masks are not theater. I totally disagree with you," Fauci said later.

"There's virtually zero percent chance you're going to get it," Paul said. "And you're telling people that have had the vaccine who have immunity—you're defying everything we know about immunity by telling people to wear masks who have been vaccinated."

Fauci said that those with the vaccine should still wear masks around unvaccinated people and he pointed to highly contagious variants of COVID-19 that could be a threat to those who've been vaccinated.

Sen. @RandPaul: "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?

Dr. Anthony Fauci: "Here we go again with the theater. Let's get down to the facts."

Full video here:

— CSPAN (@cspan) March 18, 2021

"And you don't keep in the concept of variants. That's an entirely different ballgame," he said. "That's a good reason for a mask."

Paul and Fauci clashed on the subject of masks at several points during the senator's questioning as Paul returned to the idea that people who'd been vaccinated or had the disease didn't need to wear masks.

Rand, an ophthalmologist, has previously said people who have had the virus or received the vaccine shouldn't wear face masks. He has also publicly criticized Fauci.

"Throw your mask away and tell these so-called experts who say lockdowns work to take a flying leap because there is no scientific evidence the lockdowns have done anything to change the trajectory of this virus," Paul told Fox News on January 16.

Fauci later talked to CNN's Chris Cuomo about his Thursday exchange with Paul, saying "I don't know what he believes, to be honest with you."

"I've been dealing—this is not the first time we've clashed at a Senate hearing. You know, there is always—as is always the case—a kernel of truth in what he says about that there is protection to some extent after you get infected, there's no doubt about that," Fauci said.

"He completely does not take into account the variants," he said.

There has been a long-running conflict between Fauci and the Kentucky senator. In September, Fauci accused Paul of misconstruing his remarks during another Senate hearing.

Dr. Anthony Fauci Testifies at the Senate
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adjusts a face mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the federal coronavirus response on Capitol Hill on March 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. Fauci clashed with Republican Senator Rand Paul. Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images