Fauci Says He Will Step Down in December
Health Care

Fauci Says He Will Step Down in December


Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and rose to national prominence as the face of the federal Covid-19 response, announced Monday that he will step down from his government positions in December.

Fauci, 81, is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser and the government’s top infectious disease official. He first joined the National Institutes of Health in 1968 and has been in public service for more than 50 years.

“Fauci has been at the forefront of every new and re-emerging infectious disease threat the country has faced over the past four decades, including HIV/AIDS, West Nile virus, the 2001 anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, Ebola and Zika, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic,” The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel notes.

The politicization of the federal Covid response and the partisan divide over measures such as masking turned Fauci into a controversial and polarizing quasi-celebrity, alternately glorified or vilified everywhere from television screens to T-shirts. The attacks from the rights led to threats on Fauci’s life and resulted in Fauci being assigned a security detail, according to The Washington Post.

Fauci said he is not retiring: “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field,” he said. “I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director 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.”

And Republicans said they would not stop investigating him: “It’s good to know that with his retirement, Dr. Fauci will have ample time to appear before Congress and share under oath what he knew about the Wuhan lab, as well as the ever-changing guidance under his watch that resulted in wrongful mandates being imposed on Americans,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said in a statement.

Why it matters: “His departure,” The Wall Street Journal says, “portends changes at the helm of the country’s pandemic efforts as the Biden administration recalibrates to reflect the public’s changing sentiments, while preparing a campaign for the fall to boost people’s immune defenses against the latest, evasive versions of the virus.”