Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is attending a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to explore the federal response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and new emerging options on Washington’s Capitol Hill. DC, USA, January 11, 2022
Greg Nash | Reuters
Dr. Anthony Fauci, leader of the US government’s Covid pandemic response efforts, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Fauci, fully vaccinated and boosted twice against Covid, is experiencing mild symptoms, according to a statement Wednesday by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he directs.
“Dr. Fauci will be isolated and will continue to work from home,” the statement said. “Recently, he has not been in close contact with the President [Joe] Biden or other senior government officials.”
In addition to being the director of NIAID, which is a division of the National Institutes of Health, Fauci, 81, is also Biden’s chief medical adviser.
The number of Covid infections in the US is on the rise again due to the highly contagious omicron variant after falling below 30,000 a day in March and April, according to an analysis of CNBC data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. According to the data, the average number of new infections per day since the end of May has steadily exceeded 100,000.
In its NIAID statement, Fauci will follow Covid-19 guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and “his physician’s medical advice and return to NIH when he tests negative.”
The infectious disease expert has been a public face in response to Covid since a major pandemic began in the United States in March 2020.
Fauci’s push for coronavirus mitigation efforts, including social distancing, mask-wearing and, when available, vaccinations, has made him a hero to many. But he also drew criticism from others who felt the official response to Covid was too harsh.
Fauci has often been annoyed by his role under then-President Donald Trump, who greatly downplayed the risk of Covid when it first broke out in China and who has been critical of Fauci from time to time.
Fauci told CNN last month he will not continue in his role as the White House’s chief medical adviser if Trump wins a second term in 2024.
“If you look at the history of what the reaction was during [Trump] administration, I think you know, at best you could say that it was not optimal,” Fauci said in that interview.
“And I think the story itself will speak for itself.”
June 1st Fauci told Fox News. that he expects to step down from his senior positions in the government by the start of his next presidential term in January 2025.
“Well, I’m not going to get into any politics about who will or won’t be in the White House,” Fauci said in that interview when asked if he would serve under Trump again.
“By the way, by the time this happens, I think I will no longer be around, no matter who the president is,” he said.
Nearly 86 million Americans have contracted Covid in the last 18 months. Just over 1 million people have died from the virus in the United States, according to the agency. Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins Medical University.