Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed he will be leaving his post before the end of President Biden’s term after serving through seven administrations and said he wasn’t waiting until the end of Covid because he’d be 105 by then.
‘We’re in a pattern now. If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have Covid anymore,’ then I will be 105. I think we’re going to be living with this,’ Biden’s chief medical adviser told Politico when asked if he felt obligated to remain in his position.
Fauci became the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a position he still holds, in 1984. From there, he led the nation through viral diseases including HIV/AIDS, Swine Flu, SARS, MERS, Ebola and ultimately Covid-19.
Fauci was at first the public face of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, but the relationship between the NIAID head and Trump soured as Trump grew impatient with Fauci’s cautious approach to lockdowns.
The infectious disease expert said that he related to former President Trump born and bred New Yorkers.
‘We developed an interesting relationship,’ Fauci, born in Brooklyn, said of Trump, who hails from Queens. ‘Two guys from New York, different in their opinions and their ideology, but still, two guys who grew up in the same environments of this city. I think that we are related to each other in that regard.’
Fauci admitted that he knew Republicans would ‘come after’ him, particularly if he stayed on in the job, but said that was not a factor he was taking into consideration on when to leave.
‘They’re going to try and come after me, anyway. I mean, probably less so if I’m not in the job,’ he said. ‘I don’t make that a consideration in my career decision.’
Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed he will be leaving his post before the end of President Biden’s term after serving through seven administrations and said he wasn’t waiting until the end of Covid because he’d be 105 by then
The infectious disease expert said that he related to former President Trump born and bred New Yorkers
Republicans have already run their midterm campaigns on promising to investigate Fauci. Republicans in Congress have clashed with Fauci on multiple occasions over NIH’s grant funding going toward a lab in the city where COVID-19 originated.
In 2014, the NIH gave a $3.3 million grant to EcoHealth Alliance to study bat coronaviruses. EcoHealth ended up giving $600,00 of that to the Wuhan Institute of virology.
The Wuhan lab at the center of the lab leak theory for Covid-19’s origins is thought to practice gain-of-function research.
The Wall Street Journal reported in May that three researchers at the WIV fell ill with Covid-19 symptoms in November 2019 and sought hospital care, furthering the theory that the virus had originated in the lab.
Funding for gain-of-function research, the controversial practice of increasing a virus’ transmissibility or lethality to study the development of new diseases, was banned under President Obama in 2014. That decision three years later was overturned by the NIH.
Fauci denied that the money from his agency ever went toward gain-of-function research.
‘The NIH and NIAID categorically has not funded gain-of-function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,’ Fauci said in May 2021.
In June, he defended the ‘modest’ collaboration with the Chinese lab, arguing it would be ‘almost a dereliction of our duty if we didn’t study this, and the only way you can study these things is you’ve got to go where the action is,’ referencing the early-2000s SARS outbreak, which is presumed to have come from bats in China.
After recording more than 5,000 deaths per day in February 2021, the disease’s damage has slowed, though over 300 people still die from Covid-19 each day in the U.S.
‘What we have right now, I think we’re almost at a steady state,’ Fauci said.
But fear of a deadlier variant still looms large. Last week federal officials said all adults should receive a second booster now, even though pharmaceutical companies have estimated new shots targeting the latest variants will be available in the fall.
At one point, Fauci and other health officials assured that one vaccination and one booster would be enough. Now Americans are left wondering when the vaccination cycle ever ends.
‘That’s a reasonable question,’ said Fauci. ‘But the reason not to wait is that we’re not exactly in a lull.’
Daily cases grew 15 percent over the past two weeks to more than 130,000 on Monday, though that is likely an undercount since at-home positive tests are not recorded in the total. Hospitalizations are up 20 percent from two weeks ago and deaths ticked up 9 percent.
‘I think, although I don’t know for sure, [that] over the next cycle or so, we’ll be getting towards a once a year boost, like flu,’ Fauci told Politico.