Fauci says he will retire from government post by the end of Biden’s term


Anthony S. Fauci, the leading national infectious disease expert who has been the face of the response to the coronavirus pandemic for more than two years, will retire by the end of President Biden’s term after more than 50 years. in government, he confirmed to The Washington Post on Monday.

“As we come to the end of the Biden administration, I think it would be time for me to leave this position,” Fauci said.

Fauci’s decision to retire by 2025 was first reported by Politico.

Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. In that role, he has advised seven presidents through all kinds of public health crises, including HIV/AIDS. , the 2001 anthrax attacks, Ebola, Zika and coronavirus.

After President Donald Trump publicly criticized Fauci and said he would consider firing him, Biden announced Fauci’s decades in public office and made Fauci his chief medical adviser after winning the presidency. Biden leaned heavily on Fauci in his response to the pandemic, which continued to spread rampantly across the country despite the widespread availability of vaccines.

Fauci has since said the coronavirus is here to stay but the United States needs to reach a lower threshold of infections to emerge from the pandemic phase. The BA.5 variant has become dominant in the United States and has proven particularly difficult to contain because antibodies from vaccines and previous coronavirus infections offer limited protection against the later omicron subvariant.

Fauci was shaped in many ways by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which had begun to spread in the United States when he was appointed director of NIAID. He faced heavy criticism from HIV activists, who blamed the government for moving too slowly on treatment and ignoring a health crisis that mainly affected gay people.

But Fauci eventually worked with activists to advance treatments and make them more widely available to patients with the disease, which in the early years killed nearly everyone who contracted the virus. Treatments for HIV/AIDS have since made it possible to live a long and normal life with the virus.

But Fauci has faced a whole different kind of challenge during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although Fauci has always been well known, the coronavirus pandemic has propelled him to national and global fame, particularly after he publicly contradicted Trump about potential treatments for covid-19 and the threat the virus posed. Trump and some of his aides began to publicly criticize Fauci and even called for his firing near the end of Trump’s term.

After Trump sought to downplay and ignore the virus and effectively allowed it to spread unchecked before vaccines and treatments became widely available, Biden took a different approach, working to implement policies. to control the virus. But the Biden administration has faced several defeats in federal courts and the Supreme Court. A policy that would have required companies with more than 100 employees to implement a vaccine or testing requirement has been blocked by the Supreme Court and a federal court has struck down a federal mask mandate on public transportation.

Fauci’s support for covid mitigation measures such as early 2020 lockdowns and mask and vaccine mandates have made him something of a boogeyman for Republican lawmakers who have opposed nearly all efforts to control the virus. Several Republicans, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), have ferociously targeted Fauci, in some cases spreading misinformation about his work and even accusing him baselessly of being responsible for the pandemic.

Republicans are expected to take control of the House of Representatives midterm in November, and several have promised to open investigations into the NIAID director. Fauci in March told the Post he was alarmed by the possibility of Republicans taking over Congress and launching investigations into his work.

“It’s the Benghazi hearings again,” Fauci said then, referring to GOP investigations into Hillary Clinton’s State Department leadership during the 2012 attacks on US compounds in Libya. This long-running investigation found no new evidence of wrongdoing by Clinton, but was a staple of conservative media for years.

“They will try to beat me in public, and there will be nothing there,” Fauci added. “But it will distract me from doing my job, as it is doing right now.”

Dan Diamond contributed to this report.

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