Fauci resigns as chief medical adviser to the president
U.S. Chief Infectious Disease Officer Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is retiring as medical adviser to President Joe Biden, urged Americans to put aside their differences and get vaccinated against COVID-19 during his final briefing at the White House on Tuesday.
In his long career, Dr. Fauci has dealt with health crises ranging from HIV/AIDS to avian flu to Ebola.
But it was his work with COVID–and his statements from the White House podium that Americans need to change their behavior in light of the pandemic–that garnered approval from some and condemnation from others. For his efforts, Fauci regularly received death threats.
Fauci used the final press briefing to urge Americans to be vaccinated against COVID and revaccinated, and recommended that they continue to wear masks.
The U.S. leads the world in the number of reported deaths from COVID-19 – more than one million.
After 13 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide, Fauci said, there is “extensive information” showing they are safe.
“When I see people in this country because of controversy don’t vaccinate for reasons unrelated to public health, but because of disagreement and ideological differences, it hurts me as a physician,” Fauci said. – I don’t want people to end up in hospitals, and I don’t want anyone to die from COVID. Whether you’re a right-wing Republican or an ultra-left-wing Democrat, it makes no difference to me.”
Fauci is retiring in December after 54 years of public service. The 81-year-old had headed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, since 1984.
The veteran immunologist was an adviser to seven U.S. presidents, starting with Republican Ronald Reagan. He first spoke at a White House press briefing in 2001.
Republican lawmakers, including Senator Rand Paul, who questioned Fauci with particular bias during the Senate hearing, vowed to investigate him when they took control of the House after the November congressional elections.
On Tuesday, Fauci said he would “no doubt cooperate fully” in any congressional hearings that Republicans begin next year.