Anthony Fauci has backtracked on his hints that he may retire soon, asserting that the COVID pandemic is not yet over.
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A day after he said ‘I can’t stay in this job forever,’ Fauci seemed determined to stick around when asked on ABC’s This Week if he was thinking of leaving.
He replied: ‘I’m not so sure, George,’ the director of the National Health Institute told anchor George Stephonaupolous. ‘I want to make sure we’re really out of this before I really seriously consider doing anything different. We’re still in this.’
‘We have a way to go. I think we got clearly going in the right direction. I hope we stay that way,’ he continued.
.@GStephanopoulos: “Are we approaching the point where we are past the pandemic phase and you'll go get some rest?”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 20, 2022
In a question on Saturday, Fauci was asked whether the country was finally ready to move on from the end of the COVID pandemic and if he intended on relaxing once this point in time has arrived.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Director also serves as Biden’s medical advisor
‘I have said that I would stay in what I’m doing until we get out of the pandemic phase, and I think we might be there already,’ he explained. ‘I don’t have any plans right now to go anywhere, but you never know. I can’t stay at this job forever.’
Over the course of his career, Fauci has advised every American president since Ronald Reagan, becoming the nation’s leading COVID expert, which drew criticism for how the nation handled the pandemic.
When he hinted that he might retire, he warned that easing restrictions, waning vaccine protection and the emergence of the BA.2 subvariant in the UK and elsewhere could lead to a new wave of COVID infections in the U.S.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has seen about 10,918 new cases and 281 new deaths over the past day. Over a million new infections were occurring daily during the peak of the Omicron outbreak in the US.
In an interview with ABC, Fauci said the increase of the new variant, which has seen a spike in the UK, could cause a surge in the U.S. since it appears as infectious as Omicron, however, he added that a rise in hospitalizations and deaths would not result.
‘I would not be surprised if in the next few weeks we see somewhat of either a flattening of our diminution or maybe even an increase,’ he said, pointing out that the US is typically 2-3 weeks behind the UK when a spike in cases takes place.
‘Whether or not that is going to lead to another surge, a mini-surge or maybe even a moderate surge, is very unclear because there are a lot of other things that are going on right now.’
According to him, the rise could bring back COVID regulations, although he stated that it would be an uphill battle to put the laws back in place after states across the country lifted the regulations.
‘From what I know about human nature, which I think is pretty much a lot, people are kind of done with COVID,’ he added.
Upon Fauci’s departure, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, who had been chosen as the White House’s lead coronavirus coordinator when Jeff Zients steps down next month, would likely take over Fauci’s duties.
The announcement comes days after Senator Rand Paul announced that he would introduce an amendment to remove Fauci from the position he’s held since 1984 on the charge that the medical expert had abused his power during the pandemic.
It’s the latest action in an ongoing verbal battle between the two adversaries since the pandemic began in March 2020.
‘We’ve learned a lot over the past two years, but one lesson, in particular, is that no one person should be deemed ‘dictator in chief.’ No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans,’ Paul wrote in an opinion piece on Fox News last Monday.
‘To ensure that ineffective, unscientific lockdowns and mandates are never foisted on the American people ever again, I will introduce an amendment to eliminate Dr. Anthony Fauci’s position as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and divide his power into three separate new institutes,’ he continued.
‘Each of these three institutes will be led by a director who is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate for a five-year term,’ Paul noted.
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‘This will create accountability and oversight into a taxpayer-funded position that has largely abused its power and has been responsible for many failures and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.’
There have been more than 970,000 deaths in the US as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past two years, contentious battles have raged over health mandates, including lockdowns, vaccine requirements, and mask rules.