The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, plans to step down from his roles running the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and advising the White House as its chief medical advisor at the top of the yr, he announced Monday.
Fauci has grow to be a household fixture through the Covid-19 pandemic, battling back misinformation — sometimes from the very best levels of presidency. His steadfast commitment to science, difficult former President Donald Trump on all the things from the usage of hydroxychloroquine to mask mandates, made him a quasi-celebrity in the method.
The 81-year-old has advised seven U.S. presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan through the HIV/AIDS epidemic, West Nile virus, the 2001 anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, various bird influenza threats, Ebola, Zika and, most recently, Covid and monkeypox.
Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks concerning the Omicron coronavirus variant during a press briefing on the White House in Washington, December 1, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Fauci, who also runs the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, said he has no intentions of retiring.
“After greater than 50 years of presidency service, I plan to pursue the following phase of my profession while I still have a lot energy and fervour for my field,” Fauci said in a press release. “I would like to make use of what I actually have learned as NIAID Director to proceed to advance science and public health and to encourage and mentor the following generation of scientific leaders as they assist prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats.”
He first joined the National Institutes of Health in 1968 at age 27 where he quickly rose through the ranks and eventually took over as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 1984. Former President George W. Bush awarded Fauci the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.
Fauci called leading the NIAID through so many extraordinary health threats the “honor of a lifetime.”
“I’m very happy with our many accomplishments. I actually have worked with – and learned from – countless talented and dedicated people in my very own laboratory, at NIAID, at NIH and beyond,” he said. ‘To them I express my abiding respect and gratitude.”
Fauci was one in every of the very first people President Joe Biden said he called after he was elected was to office.
“During my time as Vice President, I worked closely with Dr. Anthony Fauci on the USA’ response to Zika and Ebola,” Biden said in a press release Monday. “I got here to know him as a dedicated public servant, and a gradual hand with wisdom and insight honed over many years on the forefront of a few of our most dangerous and difficult public health crises.”
During his tenure, Fauci never shied away from conflict. His Senate hearings were often peppered with terse exchanges with members of Congress, particularly with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who he once accused of inciting death threats against him and his family.
“What happens when he gets out and accuses me of things which are completely unfaithful is that hastily that kindles the crazies on the market and I actually have threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children with obscene phone calls, because individuals are lying about me,” Fauci told the Senate health committee at a January hearing.
At the peak of the pandemic, Fauci was fielding greater than 2,000 emails a day and dealing 24/7 on just three to 4 hours of sleep an evening, he told friends and old colleagues in a trove of emails obtained through public records’ requests by several media outlets.
Fauci was in every single place in American culture over the past 2½ years. Brad Pitt played him on “Saturday Night Live.” The Atlantic called the then 79-year-old a “heartthrob” in an April 2020 article titled “America is Thirsty for Anthony Fauci.”
His face adorned holiday ornaments, socks, donuts, T-shirts and fan art. Restaurants named drinks after him. The managers of Capo Italian Deli credit their Fauci Pouchy cocktail, vodka, elderflower and mint lemonade sold in an style of IV drip pouch, with helping to maintain the restaurant afloat through the pandemic.
“Our society is basically totally nuts,” Fauci wrote in response to a bit documenting “Fauci Fever” and the net “sexualization” of the then-80-year-old virologist.
Fauci said in an email on the time that a March 2020 Washington Post article detailing his “cult following” was “truly surrealistic.”
“Hopefully this all stops soon,” Fauci wrote.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC and NBC, which broadcasts “Saturday Night Live.”
Correction: Fauci has advised seven U.S. presidents. An earlier version misstated the number.