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22 Aug, 2022 15:37

White House coronavirus czar resigns

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he will “continue to advance science and public health”
White House coronavirus czar resigns

Dr. Anthony Fauci announced on Monday that he will step down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and as President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor. Fauci, the architect of Biden’s coronavirus policies, had earlier said he would resign before the end of Biden’s term in office.

In a statement released by the NIAID, Fauci said that he will leave his positions in December, having served for 38 years as head of the NIAID and as Biden’s chief medical advisor since the start of the president’s term last January.

Fauci said that while he will leave these posts, he is “not retiring.” The 81-year-old doctor said that he would “continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders.”

Overseeing Biden’s response to Covid-19 and advising former President Donald Trump on the virus, Fauci became a deeply divisive figure, with liberals and Democrats viewing him as a representative of science itself, and Republicans and conservatives seeing his vaccine and mask mandates as tyrannical.

Fauci’s public statements did little to allay the concerns of the right, with the doctor once accusing his critics of “criticizing science because I represent science.”

His admission that he misled the public about how many Americans would need to get vaccinated to achieve “herd immunity” furthered this mistrust.

Fauci himself tested positive in June, despite having received four vaccine doses. He tested positive a second time two weeks later in what he called a ‘rebound’ case, experienced by some who take a course of Pfizer’s antiviral drug Paxlovid.

As he announced his resignation, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed the US recording a weekly average of just under 94,000 cases of Covid-19 per day, down from a spike of 475,000 in January but higher than at any point during the summer months of 2020 and 2021. 

Deaths linked to the virus have fallen from an average of more than 2,700 in January to 392 last week, roughly on par with figures from the previous two summers.

Fauci’s resignation was not completely unexpected. In an interview with Politico last month, the doctor said that he would leave before the end of Biden’s first term in office, in January 2025. Describing the current state of the virus in the US as “steady,” Fauci predicted that Americans would in the future be asked to take yearly or twice-yearly vaccine shots in a bid to keep it at bay.

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