Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the nation’s pandemic health response and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and is currently experiencing mild symptoms.
Fauci, 81, is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, according to a statement from the National Institutes of Health. He has not been in close contact with Biden or any other senior administration officials recently, the agency said.
Fauci is currently isolating and working from home. He will return to NIH when he tests negative, according to the statement. In addition to his role as chief medical adviser, Fauci also serves as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH.
Wednesday marked the first time it was publicly announced that Fauci had tested positive for the virus after more than two years of regular testing. NIH said he tested positive on Wednesday after a rapid antigen test.
Older adults, like Fauci, are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19. The risk increases for people in their 60s, 70s and 80s, according to the CDC. But adults aged 65 and older who received a full mRNA vaccine had a 94% reduced risk of hospitalizations for COVID-19, according to the organization.
Fauci has been the face of the US response to the COVID-19 pandemic since it began to sweep across the country in 2020, advising former President Donald Trump before his current role in helping shape the US response. United under Biden.
He was scheduled to testify before a Senate committee Thursday morning along with other health officials, including the director of the CDC, to provide an update on the federal response to COVID-19 and future planning.
In late April, Fauci said in a statement on the PBS NewsHour that the United States was “out of the pandemic phase” of COVID-19.
As Biden’s top medical adviser and as an adviser during President Trump’s administration, Fauci graced cable news and Sunday morning shows almost nonstop during the pandemic, attempting to bring relief to a country at a once-in-a-century time. of complete uncertainty.
His role as a trusted figure became controversial under Trump. The couple argued publicly on many occasions early in the pandemic, often at odds on issues ranging from COVID treatment options and the timeline for rolling out the vaccine to Trump’s remarks in September 2020 that the pandemic was “going to dissapear”. Fauci recently stated that she would step down if Trump were re-elected.
Trump vs. Fauci:Here is a timeline of President Donald Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci’s relationship
Fauci has served under seven presidents since 1984, serving as a leading public figure in infectious diseases in the United States for nearly four decades. Among the viral epidemics he has helped tackle the country: HIV, SARS, swine flu, Zika, Ebola and avian influenza.
He was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020. As his public image became more recognizable in 2020, he earned a bobblehead in his likeness, a Topps baseball card with his picture on it, and had a drink, the “Fauci Pouchy,” named after him at a Washington bar, DC.