Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert who became a household name — and the subject of partisan attacks — during the COVID-19 pandemic, announced Monday that he is leaving the federal government in December after more than five decades of service.
Fauci, who serves as President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, was director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and head of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation.
He led the nationwide response to HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases even before the coronavirus emerged.
“I will leave these positions in December of this year to begin the next chapter of my career,” Fauci said in a statement, calling these roles “the honor of my life.”
Fauci became the face of the government’s response to COVID-19 in early 2020, appearing frequently on television news and at daily press briefings with White House officials, including then-President Donald Trump.
But as the pandemic worsened, Fauci fell out of favor with Trump and his officials as his calls for continued public caution clashed with the former president’s desire to get back on track and promote unproven therapies for the virus.
Fauci was marginalized in by the Trump administration and increasingly by key decisions about the federal response, but continued to speak publicly in media interviews and advocated social distancing and the use of face coverings in public places before the rollout of vaccines for COVID-19.
He was also subjected to political attacks and death threats and was given a security detachment to protect him.
When Biden won the White House, he asked Fauci to stay in a senior position in his administration. The President praised Fauci in a statement, saying, “Whether I knew him personally or not, he touched the lives of all Americans through his work.
I express my deepest appreciation for his public service. The United States of America is stronger. more resilient and healthier.”
thanks to him.
Fauci said that despite retiring from federal service, he plans to continue working. “I want to use what I’ve learned as Director of NIAID to continue advancing science and public health, and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world for future infectious disease threats to prepare,” he said.