WASHINGTON D.C. — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden, announced that he will retire this December after 50 years of service in the federal government.
Fauci became the center of attention amongst the American public after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic over two year ago. As the country’s top infectious disease expert, he was a major influence in the decisions made by both medical experts and the federal government regarding the protocols instated across the country in order to combat the spreading virus.
He also became a central figure in both the media coverage surrounding the pandemic, as well as the bipartisan dispute amongst members of congress on how to handle the pandemic.
“I will be leaving these positions in December of this year to pursue the next chapter of my career,” Fauci announced on Monday morning. He described his experience he had as “the honor of a lifetime.”
During the pandemic, Fauci frequently appeared on the news and in daily press conferences amongst White House officials, including ex-president Donald Trump. However, due to his perceived reputation as the face of the federal government’s COVID-19 protocols, Fauci became the target of controversy regarding the necessity and justification of the rules and restrictions set in place by the federal government in order to stop the spread of the virus.
Fauci often clashed with Trump when his proposed face coverings, social distancing, and stay-at-home recommendations conflicted with the ex-president’s urges to “return to normal” and promote pseudoscientific remedies to combat the virus.
This resulted in the ostracization of Fauci by the Trump Administration, who began to distance themselves from Fauci’s proposals and disallow him from making major decisions regarding the their response to the pandemic.
However, Fauci continued to speak to the press in public interviews, encouraging the American public to continue practicing social distancing and to wear face coverings while in public, prior the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines. These actions resulted in Fauci becoming the subject political attacks and death threats, forcing him to request security assistance for personal protection.
When Biden was elected president, he increased Fauci’s role and influence in the federal government once again. “Whether you’ve met him personally or not, he has touched all Americans’ lives with his work. I extend my deepest thanks for his public service. The United States of America is stronger, more resilient, and healthier because of him,” Biden said in a statement.
According to Fauci, he plans to continue his work outside of the federal government. “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,” he said.
Fauci’s successor as NIAID Director has not yet been announced, and the decision will most likely be up to the Biden Administration.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Alex Svenson is a recent graduate from Suffolk University and a freelance journalist with YourNews. Alex previously worked as a reporter for New England Cable News (NECN) and Westford Community Access Television (WestfordCAT) in his home state of Massachusetts. He primarily covers local and state government, national politics, and international relations. He also covers breaking news stories with a focus on police, military, social issues, and occasionally sports and entertainment. When not reporting, Alex enjoys sports, music, films, and traveling.