Anthony Fauci, the chief medical expert in the US during the coronavirus pandemic, announced Monday that he would be stepping down from his positions in the government at the end of the year.
Fauci is currently the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, and Chief Medical Advisor to US President Joe Biden.
He will leave all three positions to “pursue the next chapter of my career,” Fauci said in a statement.
He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 by former President George W. Bush.
However, Fauci was attacked by officials in the Trump administration for his handling of COVID-19, with many Republicans accusing him of mixing politics with science and former President Donald Trump calling him a “disaster.” The top US infectious disease expert also received several death threats during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fauci later opened up about his time under Trump, voicing his frustration with the way the former president did not listen to his advice and pushed false narratives on the coronavirus.
In his resignation letter Monday, Fauci said it had been the honor of a lifetime to lead the NIAID.
Fauci served as NIAID Director for 38 years and advised seven different presidents on various diseases, including including HIV/AIDS, West Nile virus, the anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, various bird influenza threats, Ebola and Zika, and COVID-19.
“I am particularly proud to have served as the Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden since the very first day of his administration,” he said.
But Fauci said he does not plan to retire. “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.
For his part, Biden praised Fauci as a “dedicated public servant.”
Biden said Fauci’s commitment to the work is “unwavering, and he does it with an unparalleled spirit, energy, and scientific integrity.”
The president added: “The United States of America is stronger, more resilient, and healthier because of him.”
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