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Rand Paul calls Fauci a 'petty tyrant'

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP lawmaker calls for Wuhan probe to 'prevent the next pandemic' All congressional Democrats say they have been vaccinated: CNN Fauci on Rand Paul: 'I just don't understand what the problem is with him' MORE (R-Ky.) escalated his feud with the federal government's leading infectious diseases expert on Monday, calling Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSchools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning Fauci: Coronavirus pandemic showed 'undeniable effects of racism in our society' Fauci: Vaccinated people become 'dead ends' for the coronavirus MORE a "petty tyrant" for suggesting Americans vaccinated against the coronavirus should not eat or drink indoors. 

"Fauci continues to ignore 100 years of vaccine science," Paul wrote in a tweet Monday morning. "His only real theme is 'do what I say' even when it makes no sense." 

Americans who have recovered from or been vaccinated against the coronavirus should "go about your life," Paul said. "Eat, drink, work, open the schools. Enough with the petty tyrants!" 

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Fauci, during an appearance on MSNBC on Sunday evening, said it was "still not OK" for people who have been vaccinated to eat or drink at indoor businesses. 

"For the simple reason that the level of infection, the dynamic of infection in the community are still really disturbingly high," Fauci said. "Like just yesterday there were close to 80,000 new infections and we've been hanging around 60, 75,000. " 

If you are vaccinated, Fauci said, "please remember that you still have to be careful and not get involved in crowded situations, particularly indoors where people are not wearing masks." 

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An estimated 40 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose, officials on the White House coronavirus task force said Monday.

Most states in the country have kept some form of capacity limits on bars and restaurants in place as the vaccine is distributed and administered, though some have loosened restrictions and only a handful have lifted public safety measures completely. 

Fauci and Paul have clashed on several occasions during the pandemic over issues such as the effectiveness of masks and accuracy of federal and statewide coronavirus data. 

"You're telling everyone to wear a mask," Paul pressed Fauci during a congressional hearing in March. "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?"

"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, referring to Paul's assertions about patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and people who are vaccinated, but added variants of the virus popping up across the globe are "a good reason for a mask."

Seven months earlier, during a similar Senate hearing in September, Fauci shot down Paul's claims that the United States could get through the pandemic without lockdowns and through herd immunity. 

"If you believe 22 percent is herd immunity, I believe you're alone in that," Fauci told Paul