Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday that he will step down as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and as President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor in December.
Fauci announced in a statement that he was leaving his current posts but was not leaving medicine. “I aim to pursue the next stage of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field after more than 50 years of government service.”
Fauci, 81, did not say what would be covered in the following stage. He has already declared his intention to leave public service by the end of Vice President Joe Biden’s tenure in January 2025.
As the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci said, “I want to use what I have learned to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats.”
Since 1984, Fauci has served as the institute’s director. He started working there in 1968. He continued in that position under President Donald Trump’s presidency, but he appeared to be grinning through it.
During his presidency, Trump responded to the epidemic by disseminating false information about the coronavirus and attempting to minimize its consequences. Fauci was forced to argue that the death toll from the pandemic in the United States had not been inflated and that influenza is not as lethal as Covid-19.
Days before the 2020 general election, Trump said he would think about dismissing Fauci if he were elected. He claimed that one of the former president’s concerns was that Fauci ended up being incorrect on some aspects of Covid-19.
The U.S. epidemic and scientists’ understanding of the novel virus both changed over time. Contrary to what they initially thought, researchers discovered that there was little chance of catching the virus via doorknobs or other surfaces. Although Fauci’s recommendations were based on the most recent science, Trump perceived them as a demonstration of flaws—a charge that might be applied to the president’s own pandemic knowledge.
Speaking on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Monday night, Fauci said that Trump’s culture of skepticism has impacted American health as conspiracy theories proliferate and the post-World War II scourge of polio, which was eradicated for seven decades by vaccinations, has returned in New York state.
We’re currently dealing with a reality distortion, he said. “We live in a world where lies have virtually become accepted facts,” the speaker said.
Until Americans learn the truth, he claimed, lies and conspiracies will only serve to prevent “a effective response to a public health crisis.”
Fauci expressed his confidence that the good nature of Americans will continue and that they will eventually be able to “squeeze the good out of people.”
When Trump’s tenure came to an end, he had intended to resign, but Biden quickly asked him to stay and serve as his chief medical advisor. He said this to Maddow. He claimed he thought the position would last a year, but the pandemic persisted.
Fauci said that since “some things look like they’re starting to stabilize a bit,” it’s a good idea to start planning his exit.
Since January 2021, he has served as Biden’s primary medical advisor.
“A dedicated public servant, and a steady hand with experience and insight honed over decades at the frontline of some of our most deadly and demanding public health challenges,” Biden said in a statement about Fauci.
Over the course of four decades, Fauci has counseled seven presidents on HIV/AIDS and assisted in directing the U.S. response to numerous public health emergencies, such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, and Covid-19.
For his work on the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008. According to the State Department, the initiative increased access to HIV care and treatment by the end of 2020, achieving saved 20 million lives globally.
One of Biden’s first contacts as president-elect was to Fauci, he recalled, to request his assistance in leading his administration’s Covid-19 response.
In that capacity, Biden added, “I’ve been able to call him at any time of day for his assistance as we’ve dealt with this once-in-a-generation pandemic.” “His zeal, energy, and scientific integrity are unmatched, and his commitment to the task is unrelenting.”
In the upcoming months, Fauci said, he will devote his “all effort, enthusiasm, and devotion” to his current position and work to get NIAID ready for new leadership.
I have no doubt that I am leaving this job in extremely capable hands since NIH employs some of the most brightest scientists in the world, he said.