Sen. Marco Rubio mocked Defense Sec. Austin for masking up in the Philippines, where masks are required and COVID-19 is surging

Senator Marco Rubio from Florida. Saul Loeb/Pool via APMarco Rubio, Sen. Marco Rubio mocked Lloyd Austin, Defense Secretary for his use of a mask and face shield while in the Philippines.The Philippines is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 and requires public use of masks and face shields.Florida, Rubio's native state, is experiencing a surge in its own hospitalizations.Check out more stories from Insider's business page.On Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio ridiculed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for wearing a mask with a face shield when he arrived in the Philippines.Rubio tweeted, "Our @SecDef has been vaccinated," and included a video of Austin departing. He arrived in the Philippines with a mask and a shield on his face.He continued, "Embarrassing COVID theater,"According to the US Embassy in Manila, the Philippines requires that anyone who is allowed to enter public areas must wear a mask or a face shield. Austin is also greeted in the video by people wearing masks and faceshields.Continue reading: Vaccine mandates will soon be mandatory, and it's only a matter of timeA surge in COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has also prompted authorities in Manila this week to tighten coronavirus restrictions. Reuters reported Tuesday that the Philippines saw its largest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases for more than six weeks. According to The New York Times, the Philippines has the second highest number of COVID-19 patients in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.Rubio's native Florida is currently dealing with its COVID-19 spike. According to the Times data, the state is the most affected by COVID-19 in the United States. It also has the highest per capita number of COVID-19-infected residents. It also has the second highest number of COVID-19 patients per capita, behind Louisiana.During his visit, Austin met Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine President. According to the Associated Press, Duterte rescinded a decision to pull out of a defense pact with America, the Visiting Forces Agreement. The VFA permits large-scale combat drills between the US forces and the Philippines forces. These exercises have sometimes triggered concern from China.Austin stated that "Our countries are facing a variety of challenges, including the climate crises and the pandemic. As we do, a strong and resilient US-Philippine partnership will remain vital for the security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific." Austin stated that a fully restored VFA would help us all achieve this goal.Business Insider has the original article.