For three-and-a-half decades, few in the general public knew the name Dr. Anthony Fauci. Since 1984, he’s been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a post he’s led mostly quietly. But during the pandemic he’s became a household name. Now, though (or in another two-and-a-half years), his tenure will be coming to an end.
In a new interview with Politico, Dr. Fauci, who is now 81, has announced he will (probably) retire at the end of President Joe Biden’s first term. He didn’t announce a specific retirement date, something he said he’s long been wary of doing. But he would say that by the end of January 2025, he will “very likely” throw in the towel he’s carried since the Reagan administration.
At the same time, Dr. Fauci said he expected to stay in government until COVID-19 is eradicated. He also noted that he thinks we’re “going to be living with this” for quite some time.
Dr. Fauci later clarified — sort of — his statement to CNN, saying that “it is extremely unlikely — in fact, for sure — that I am not going to be here beyond January 2025.” (It’s still kind of confusing, but then, these are confusing times.)
The divisive response to Dr. Fauci’s handling of the pandemic reflects a nation sharply divided. To that wanted to stay safe amidst a highly infectious and deadly disease, he was admired for trying to keep us all safe. To those skeptical of a virus that has now killed over a million Americans (to say nothing of worldwide), he was (nonsensically) a monster.
Either way, should he indeed leave in early 2025, you know what that means: No more having to sit on Capitol Hill and testily squabble with perhaps his greatest nemesis, Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist who seems to think he knows more about diseases than an immunologist. If you had to talk to someone named after the author of Atlas Shrugged (much less deal with bizarre misinformation recklessly spread by pop stars), you’d announce your retirement, too.
(Via Politico and CNN)