Anthony Fauci: Face of US COVID response to step down

World Tuesday 23/August/2022 12:08 PM
By: DW
Anthony Fauci: Face of US COVID response to step down
The 81-year-old said he still not ready to retire

Dr. Anthony Fauci announced on Monday that he would step down from his US government posts in December.

After five decades of public service, Fauci became famous across the country as the public face of the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring," Fauci said in a statement. "I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field."

Fauci, 81, called his work for the government "the honor of a lifetime.''

Face of the pandemic response

The award-winning doctor is currently the chief medical adviser to US President Joe Biden. He is also the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, a position he has held since 1984.

"I've been able to call him at any hour of the day for his advice,'' Biden said in a statement. "Whether you've met him personally or not, he has touched all Americans' lives with his work. The United States of America is stronger, more resilient, and healthier because of him."

In the first months of the pandemic in 2020, Fauci helped lead scientific efforts to develop and test COVID-19 vaccines in record time and took part in regular televised White House briefings alongside President Donald Trump.

Fauci became a popular and trusted figure among many Americans as the nation faced lockdowns and rising numbers of COVID-19 deaths, even inspiring the sale of cookies and bobblehead dolls featuring his likeness.

He was also vilified by Trump and many of the former president's Republican allies for sticking to the scientific consensus about COVID-19 and refusing to give credence to theories about the pandemic not backed up by evidence.

He also incurred Trump's wrath for continuing to push for lockdowns and a delayed opening of the economy, in order to prevent the spread of the disease before vaccines were widely available.

Before becoming a national figure, Dr. Fauci had a long career dedicated to emerging and reemerging infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika and monkeypox.