Dr. Anthony Fauci has been at the forefront of the response to the coronavirus pandemic for just over one year, and in that time he has found himself on both sides of every argument regarding face masks.
Former independent Michigan Rep. Justin Amash noted that in a Tuesday tweet, saying that Fauci had been on both sides of the mask debate at every step — from whether or not they were necessary at all to whether those who were fully vaccinated needed to continue to wear them. (RELATED: ‘I Didn’t Want To Look Like I Was Giving Mixed Signals’: Fauci Makes Huge Concession About Mask-Wearing)
Dr. Fauci has now been on every side of the debate over whether masks are beneficial or not beneficial, necessary for those with immunity or unnecessary, theater or not theater.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2021
Shortly after the coronavirus first reached the United States, Fauci told the American people that is was not necessary to wear masks while going about their daily activities. He said that masks served an important purpose, but that they should primarily only be used by health care workers and those who were already infected.
Just a few short weeks later, Fauci said that officials thought it might be advisable for all Americans to start wearing face masks in public — but he was careful to note that they shouldn’t buy up large quantities, leaving first responders and health care workers without access to necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Dr. Anthony Fauci says officials are considering urging all Americans to wear masks.
But they need to ensure that won’t take away from health care professionals’ much needed supplies.
— Chloe Salsameda WJBF (@ChloeSalsameda) March 31, 2020
“We want to make sure that people don’t all of a sudden go out, buy and hoard masks that are most appropriately used and necessary for the front-line health care workers who do need it for the clear and present danger” they face.
— Dr. Anthony Fauci to @JudyWoodruff pic.twitter.com/sxdHE4S6cL
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) April 3, 2020
Following the advent of three safe and effective vaccines — and their widespread distribution to the American people — Fauci continued to urge even those who had been fully vaccinated to wear masks, saying that vaccinated people could still spread the virus to others.
He argued with Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, during a contentious Senate hearing, about the need for masks after vaccination or natural infection.
Paul repeatedly challenged Fauci, arguing that the data did not show significant reinfection and that continuing to wear masks despite having either vaccine-based or natural immunity was just “theater.”
“Masks are not theater, masks are protective,” Fauci said in response to Paul.
Fauci objected at the time, but reversed course just days after the CDC updated guidelines to say that vaccinated Americans did not need to wear masks indoors or outside. He told “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos that, despite being aware that his risk was exceptionally low, he had continued to wear a mask to avoid the appearance of giving mixed signals.
Dr. Fauci then: Me wearing a mask after vaccination is not “theater.”
Dr. Fauci now: Yeah, it was theater. pic.twitter.com/ow5T53ZG7R
— Young Americans for Liberty (@YALiberty) May 18, 2021
One month ago, Dr. Fauci insisted to Sen. @RandPaul that continuing to wear a mask after being vaccinated wasn’t for “theater.”
Today, he told ABC that the imagery was more important than the science. pic.twitter.com/JdoSLcRVrK
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 18, 2021
For the time being, both Fauci and the CDC have said that children still need to wear masks because they are not yet eligible to take the vaccines.