Anthony Fauci, face of coronavirus response, to retire in December

White House COVID-19 adviser Anthony Fauci, the United States' chief infectious disease expert who has led efforts to combat the epidemic, announced Monday that he will be stepping down in December.

Fauci said in a statement that he would leave his posts as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief health advisor to US President Joe Biden, but added, "I will not retire."

Fauci, 81, who previously revealed plans to step down by the end of Biden's current term, announced that he would be leaving his post "to pursue the next chapter of my career."

In turn, Biden expressed his "deep thanks" to Fauci in a statement issued by the White House.

“Thanks to Dr. Fauci’s many contributions to public health, lives have been saved here in the United States and around the world,” the president said, adding that the country has become “stronger, more resilient, and healthier thanks to him.”

Fauci has led the United States' response to infectious disease outbreaks since the 1980s, from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome to COVID-19, and has served under seven presidents.

And when Covid spread around the world after its appearance in China in 2020, Fauci became a source of reliable information, as he reassured people of his calmness and sobriety while appearing on the media frequently.

But his outspoken criticism of the failures of the United States in the face of the epidemic in its early days led to him entering into a confrontation with former President Donald Trump, turning the doctor and the scientist into a hated figure for some right-wingers.

Today, Fauci lives under security protection after his family received death threats and harassment.

Biden said after winning the 2020 election that he is trying to build a team that leads the response against Covid-19, noting that Fauci was "among the first to be chosen."

"In this position, I could have called him at any time of the day for his advice as we faced this once-in-a-generation epidemic," the president said.


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