By Kiara Amaya
Anthony Fauci, 81, widely known as the foremost infectious disease expert in the United States and the face of the response to the Coronavirus, has announced that he is stepping down from his position in December after more than half a century of serving the public.
Dr. Fauci has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
A prodigy, Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health in 1968 at only 27 years old just after finishing his medical residency. Most recognizably, he has served as current president Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor since the beginning of his administration.
Retiring in a classic sense is not what Dr. Fauci is hoping to pursue, rather in his new chapter, he wishes to devote himself to travel, writing, and inspiring the next generation to join governmental services.
“So long as I’m healthy, which I am, and I’m energetic, which I am, and I’m passionate, which I am, I want to do some things outside of the realm of the federal government,” Fauci said in an interview cited by the New York Times.
He wants to use his experience and insight into public health and public service to “hopefully inspire the younger generation.”
Dr. Fauci has been on the front lines of a multitude of modern-day diseases such as AIDS, Ebola, Zika, and most recently COVID-19.
“We didn’t do it alone, but we played a major role in the development of the vaccines that have now saved millions of lives,” Fauci said in an interview with the Washington Post.
He is one of the most cited researchers of all time and has been respected in the scientific circle for decades. He has advised every president since Ronald Regan, navigating not just science but politics.
“Because of Dr. Fauci’s many contributions to public health, lives here in the United States and around the world have been saved,” President Biden said in a statement. “Whether you’ve met him personally or not, he has touched all Americans’ lives with his work.”
His prominence in advising the nation in the battle against COVID-19 pushed him to worldwide fame and in turn ignited criticism. Whether it was when he suggested mandating masks or making them voluntary, his advice has been criticized.
In his remaining months serving the United States government, Dr. Fauci had pledged to continue his efforts and commitment to fulfill his responsibilities and to help prepare his institute for a leadership transition.
“N.I.H. is served by some of the most talented scientists in the world, and I have no doubt that I am leaving this work in very capable hands,” Fauci said in his statement.
Although the country is deeply polarized, Dr. Fauci has hope that the country will prevail and recover from political hostility.