Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, attends a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to look at the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and latest emerging variants at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S. January 11, 2022.
Greg Nash | Reuters
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leader of the U.S. government’s Covid pandemic response effort, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Fauci, who’s fully vaccinated and twice boosted against Covid, is experiencing mild symptoms, based on a press release Wednesday from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he leads.
“Dr. Fauci will isolate and proceed to work at home,” the statement said. “He has not recently been in close contact with President [Joe] Biden or other senior government officials.”
Along with being director of NIAID, which is a division of the National Institutes of Health, the 81-year-old Fauci is also Biden’s chief medical advisor.
Covid infections are surging within the U.S. again, driven by the highly contagious omicron variant, after dipping below 30,000 a day in March and April, based on a CNBC evaluation of knowledge compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The common number of recent infections a day has held regular over 100,000 because the end of May, based on the information.
NIAID said in its statement that Fauci will follow Covid-19 guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and “medical advice from his physician and return to NIH when he tests negative.”
The infectious disease expert has been the general public face of the response to Covid because the pandemic began in earnest in the USA in March 2020.
Fauci’s promotion of coronavirus mitigation efforts, including social distancing, mask wearing and, after they became available, vaccinations, made him a hero to many. But he also drew criticism from others who believed official responses to Covid were too heavy-handed.
Fauci had often chafed in his role under then-President Donald Trump, who significantly downplayed the chance of Covid when it first broke out in China and who had criticized Fauci at times.
Last month, Fauci told CNN he wouldn’t proceed in his role as White House chief medical advisor if Trump won a second term as president in 2024.
“Should you have a look at the history of what the response was in the course of the [Trump] administration, I believe, you recognize, at best you may say it wasn’t optimal,” Fauci said in that interview.
“And I believe just history will speak for itself about that.”
On June 1, Fauci told Fox News that he expects to step down from his government leadership roles by the point the subsequent presidential term begins in January 2025.
“Well, I’m not going to get entangled in any politics about who’s or shouldn’t be entering into the White House,” Fauci said in that interview when asked if he would serve under Trump again.
“By the way in which, by the point that happens, I believe I won’t be around, irrespective of who the president is,” he said.
Nearly 86 million Americans have been infected with Covid up to now 18 months. Barely greater than 1 million people within the U.S. have died from the virus, based on the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.