Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomeHealthAfter decades of public service, Anthony Fauci will step down in December...

After decades of public service, Anthony Fauci will step down in December : NPR

The country’s top infectious disease expert is leaving the federal government. Fauci served under seven presidents and helped lead the country through multiple health crises.


The scientist who became the face of America’s COVID pandemic response is stepping down. In 38 years as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci led the country through two public health crises – AIDS and COVID-19.


His early admirers included the late Republican President George H.W. Bush, who called Fauci a hero during a presidential debate in 1988.


GEORGE H W BUSH: Dr. Fauci, probably never heard of him, he’s a very fine research – top doctor at National Institutes of Health, working hard doing something about research on this disease of AIDS.

MARTIN: Fauci’s leadership in the AIDS fight made him a public figure. And he became a household name in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.


ANTHONY FAUCI: It’s the old metaphor that – the Wayne Gretzky approach, you know? You skate not to where the puck is but to where the puck is going to be. If we don’t do very serious mitigation now, we’re going to be weeks behind.

INSKEEP: He spoke a lot in public. And his words often clashed with those of former President Donald Trump, as well as the sentiments of Trump’s supporters, who went so far as to call for Fauci’s firing during campaign rallies.


UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Fire Fauci. Fire Fauci. Fire Fauci. Fire Fauci. Fire Fauci.

DONALD TRUMP: Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election, please.


TRUMP: I appreciate the advice. I appreciate the advice. Now, he’s been wrong on a lot.

MARTIN: Fauci, by contrast, resisted criticizing Trump. And he stayed on the job to become the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, president No. 7 he had served during his tenure.

INSKEEP: Now, Jessica Malaty Rivera, a senior adviser at the Pandemic Prevention Institute, says the fact that Fauci stayed on the job into his 80s is telling.

JESSICA MALATY RIVERA: I think the fact that he continued to work in his age is admirable and inspiring because it’s not a sexy job, per se. And the fact that he kept doing it meant that he was motivated by things greater than himself. He was motivated by public health. He was motivated by science and innovation and ending a global emergency.

MARTIN: Anthony Fauci leaves his job in government in December but says he will not retire. At 81, he’ll move in to what he calls the next phase of his career – writing a memoir and mentoring another generation of scientists.


Copyright © 2022 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.


Most Popular