Dr. Anthony Fauci said he plans to retire by the end of President Joe Biden’s current White House term, though he has no concrete retirement plan in place.
Driving the news: In an interview with Politico published Monday, Fauci said he doesn’t plan to stay in his government roles until COVID-19 is gone, saying the virus could be with us for years or even decades. Last November, Fauci said he only planned to move on when the COVID-19 outbreak was “in the rearview mirror,” CNN reports.
- Fauci has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, and is also the chief medical adviser to the White House.
- CNN confirmed that the government’s top infectious disease expert plans to retire by the end of Biden’s term in January 2025. Fauci told the network that his comments shouldn’t be taken as him announcing a retirement plan, but rather as reiterating his long-held intentions to retire.
Fauci’s legacy: Although Fauci told Politico he hopes he is remembered for his work to end America’s HIV epidemic — which includes the founding of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which is estimated to have saved 21 million lives — many Americans came to know the doctor when he rose to prominence during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Fauci publicly disagreed with then-President Donald Trump about the nation’s pandemic response, and vitriol from Trump allies and supporters prompted Fauci to get enhanced security after he received death threats and harassment, according to CNN.
Will Fauci face further pushback? Pandemic mitigation measures remain highly politicized, and Republicans in Congress have called for investigations into Fauci’s leadership and COVID-19 response, according to Politico.
- “I don’t think they can say anything about the science,” Fauci told Politico. “If that’s what you want to investigate, be my guest. My telling somebody that it’s important to follow fundamental good public health practices ... what are you going to investigate about that?”
- Fauci told CNN that the public pressure had no role in his decision to eventually retire. “It has nothing to do with ... all of the other nonsense that you hear about. ... That has no influence on me,” he said.