Fauci, face of U.S. COVID response, to step down December

Dr Anthony Fauci

Dr Anthony Fauci

Dr Anthony Fauci, the world-famous doctor who led the United States’ fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, would step down from his post as President Joe Biden’s top health adviser in December.

After two and a half years as the face of the pandemic response, Fauci said he would resign as head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

It ended 50 years of government public health service.

“It has been the honour of a lifetime to have led the NIAID, an extraordinary institution, for so many years and through so many scientific and public health challenges,’’ Fauci, 81, said in a statement.

“I am very proud of our many accomplishments.’’

Biden, who talked Fauci into staying on after he took office, paid tribute to the man who helped the country battle COVID-19 even as it has killed more than 1 million Americans and counting.

“He has touched all Americans’ lives with his work,’’ Biden said in a statement.

“The United States of America is stronger, more resilient and healthier because of him.’’

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Fauci had previously left the door open to serving until the end of Biden’s first term at the end of 2024.

Fauci insisted he was not retiring, but did not announce a future career move.

“While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring.

“I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field,’’ Fauci said.

Fauci was by far the most recognised face of the American fight against the pandemic, which almost everyone called Coronavirus when it first struck the U.S. in the winter of 2020.

He became a familiar face to millions of Americans dispensing medical advice and basic information during the terrifying early days of the deadly pandemic.

Fauci often appeared by former president Donald Trump’s side as the nation and the world grappled with the fast-spreading killer disease with no preventive vaccines or reliable treatments.

Later in the pandemic, Fauci became a hated target of the far-right wing, who accused him of being an authoritarian quack for supporting public health restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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