Anthony Fauci said on Monday that he will leave his roles as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and main medical adviser to US President Joe Biden in December.
He would also relinquish his position as director of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation. However, the 81-year-old told the New York Times that he would not be “retiring in the classic sense”. Instead, he will be spending some time writing and travelling while also encouraging younger generations to enter government service.
In a statement made shortly after Dr Fauci’s announcement, President Joe Biden called the director of NIAID “dedicated public servant” and a “steady hand with wisdom and insight.”
“Because of Dr. Fauci’s many contributions to public health, lives here in the United States and around the world have been saved,” Biden said.
Dr Fauci has been a public servant for decades, having served in the government since Ronald Reagan’s administration. He has served a total of seven presidents. Amongst his proudest achievements, Fauci helped George W Bush’s administration with the global release of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief programme, which was created to combat HIV/AIDS. It has saved an estimated 21 million lives so far. For his work, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Dr Fauci came under intense scrutiny from many politicians on the Republican side of the aisle. So much so that the octogenarian was thrust into the spotlight and had to hold increasingly frequent press conferences in an attempt to combat misinformation from Republican politicians.
In fact, the ‘retiring’ doctor clashed with a Senator of Kentucky, Rand Paul. The Republican openly accused Dr Fauci of lying about the research his institute was funding in China. In fact, many Republican senators had said that should they gain control of the US Congress after the midterm elections on November 8, they would be investigating him. Shortly after, the rumour mill churned out speculation that Dr Fauci would retire in an effort to avoid such a thing from happening. However, the doctor has rubbished the speculation.