Fauci, 81, will join Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for his final health briefing, where he is poised to discuss his National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ progress on vaccinations – and new actions to increase those numbers.
The appearance will likely be the top doc’s final time at the podium, before his planned retirement at the end of the year.
Also expected to attend is White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish K. Jha, as the Biden Administration looks to highlight Covid risks ahead of possible winter surge.
The planned address comes as Fauci faces backlash for his early assessments of the coronavirus that have since been disproven, or have at the very least come into question – such as assertions that two vaccinations would stop Americans from becoming infected.
With that said, the virus’ spread has since petered out, after becoming a normalized aspect of everyday life for the past year. During that time, Fauci surfaced as the face for the government’s fight to quell and, at the very least, understand the spread.
This de facto prestige saw the American top doc butt heads with former President Donald Trump, who at the time said that Fauci’s assertions were ill-founded.
Fauci seemed to confirm those suspicious at a recent appearance last month when asked whether he regretted any advice he gave during the Covid pandemic. In response, the doctor admitted: ‘You know, the answer is yes.’
The United States’ top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci is set to make his final appearance at the White House today before he set to retire. He is pictured at a briefing last month with (from left) White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Secretary of the Department of Health Xavier Becerra, and Joe Biden
This de facto prestige saw the American top doc butt heads with Biden’s predeccesor Donald Trump, who at the time said Fauci’s assertions were ill-founded. Pictured is Fauci’s first presser with the then president in 2020, before he grew fed-up with Fauci’s approach to lockdowns
Fauci became the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a position he still holds, in 1984. From there, he led the nation through viral diseases including HIV/AIDS, Swine Flu, SARS, MERS, Ebola, and, most recently, Covid-19.
Fauci was at first the public face of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, but the relationship between the NIAID head and Trump soured as Trump grew impatient with Fauci’s cautious approach to lockdowns.
The infectious disease expert said that he related to former President Trump, as both men are born and bred New Yorkers.
‘We developed an interesting relationship,’ Fauci, born in Brooklyn, said of Trump, who hails from Queens. ‘Two guys from New York, different in their opinions and their ideology, but still, two guys who grew up in the same environments of this city. I think that we are related to each other in that regard.’
Las month, after years of urging lockdowns and restrictions on billions of Americans, the country’s foremost infectious disease expert finally admitted he got key aspects of his Covid public health advice wrong.
Fauci was heavily criticized for flip-flopping on face masks and exaggerating the herd immunity target to encourage more people to get vaccinated.
When asked if he wished he had communicated better during the pandemic, he said: ‘The answer is yes… I mean, my goodness, no one’s perfect. Certainly I am not.’
Fauci has said that he felt Republicans would ‘come after’ him if he stayed on in the job, but has since insisted that was not a factor he was taking into consideration on when to leave.
‘They’re going to try and come after me, anyway. I mean, probably less so if I’m not in the job,’ he said. ‘I don’t make that a consideration in my career decision.’
Fauci previously revealed he will be leaving his post before the end of President Biden’s term after serving through seven administrations and butting heads with House Republicans, who this month overtook Congress
The infectious disease expert has said despite their very public blowups, he related to former President Trump as a born and bred New Yorker
Republicans, who successfully overtook the House this month, had run some of their midterm campaigns on promises to investigate Fauci for his blind devotion to the Biden Administration as well as his questionable health guidances.
With that said, Republicans in Congress have long clashed with Fauci on multiple occasions over his advice to the public to navigate the pandemic.
Rep. James Comer, ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said that Republicans will still go after Fauci even if he retires, due to his National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases providing grant funding toward a lab in the city where COVID-19 originated prior to the 2020 outbreak.
‘Retirement can’t shield Dr Fauci from congressional oversight,’ Comer recently told DailyMail.com.
‘Dr Fauci was warned by top scientists early on that the virus looked genetically manipulated and likely leaked from the Wuhan lab,’ Comer claimed, saying his committee had emails to prove it.
‘We need to know if Dr Fauci concealed anything from government officials in order to shield the NIH’s cozy relationship with EcoHealth Alliance, a grantee that awarded taxpayer funds to the Wuhan lab to conduct dangerous research on bat coronaviruses.’
Fauci, pictured earlier this month after being awarded the Portrait Of A Nation trophy for his efforts as head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was criticized for flip-flopping on face masks and exaggerating herd immunity to encourage more to get vaccinated
In 2014, the NIH gave a $3.3 million grant to EcoHealth Alliance to study bat coronaviruses. EcoHealth ended up giving $600,00 of that to the Wuhan Institute of virology.
The Wuhan lab at the center of the lab leak theory for Covid-19’s origins is thought to practice gain-of-function research.
The Wall Street Journal reported in May that three researchers at the WIV fell ill with Covid-19 symptoms in November 2019 and sought hospital care, furthering the theory that the virus had originated in the lab.
Funding for gain-of-function research, the controversial practice of increasing a virus’ transmissibility or lethality to study the development of new diseases, was banned under President Obama in 2014. That decision three years later was overturned by the NIH.
Fauci has said that he felt Republicans would ‘come after’ him if he stayed on in the job, but has since insisted that was not a factor he was taking into consideration on when to leave
Fauci denied that the money from his agency ever went toward gain-of-function research.
‘The NIH and NIAID categorically has not funded gain-of-function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,’ Fauci said in May 2021.
In June, he defended the ‘modest’ collaboration with the Chinese lab, arguing it would be ‘almost a dereliction of our duty if we didn’t study this, and the only way you can study these things is you’ve got to go where the action is,’ referencing the early-2000s SARS outbreak, which is presumed to have come from bats in China.
Both case and death figures are rising in the U.S. amid BA.5’s takeover. Daily infections have jumped to 145,761 per day – a 36 percent increase over the past week. Deaths have increased 23 percent to 528 daily.
‘What we have right now, I think we’re almost at a steady state,’ Fauci said.
Fear of a deadlier variant still looms large. Last week federal officials said all adults should receive a second booster now, even though pharmaceutical companies have estimated new shots targeting the latest variants will be available in the fall.
At one point, Fauci and other health officials assured that one vaccination and one booster would be enough. Now Americans are left wondering when the vaccination cycle ever ends.
‘That’s a reasonable question,’ said Fauci. ‘But the reason not to wait is that we’re not exactly in a lull.’
‘I think, although I don’t know for sure, [that] over the next cycle or so, we’ll be getting towards a once a year boost, like flu,’ Fauci told Politico.
Last month, the outgoing White House medical adviser admitted he he wished he had communicated better during the pandemic, he said: ‘The answer is yes… I mean, my goodness, no one’s perfect. Certainly I am not.’
Last month, the outgoing White House medical adviser admitted he he wished he had communicated better during the pandemic, he said: ‘The answer is yes… I mean, my goodness, no one’s perfect. Certainly I am not’
Asked whether he regretted any advice he gave during the Covid pandemic, Fauci admitted: ‘You know, the answer is yes.
‘When I go back in the early months, I probably should have tried to be much, much more careful in getting the message to repeat.
‘[To get across] the uncertainty of what we’re going through.’
Dr Fauci accused social media users and the media of distorting some of his comments.
This graph shows weekly admissions for Covid infections per million people in America. Cases, along with deaths, have fallen drastically this past year – an occurrence Fauci has again warned may not persist throughout the winter
The above graph shows Covid deaths in the United States per million people since the start of the Covid pandemic
What did Fauci get wrong? From telling people not to wear masks to claiming vaccines stopped infections
Dr Anthony Fauci is due to step down from his position as one of America’s top infectious disease advisors at the end of this year.
His career in public health spans decades, and includes advising the Trump and Biden Administrations on handling the Covid pandemic.
Below are listed some of his key blunders when the virus struck
- Don’t wear masks, do wear masks
In March 2020 when concern was rising globally over Covid Fauci told Americans that there was ‘no need’ to wear a face mask.
He insisted at the time that they may only help people ‘feel a little better’, and ‘might even block a droplet’ — but would not provide good protection.
Less than a month later, however, he was forced into an embarrassing climbdown after it emerged the virus spread via droplets in the air.
Face masks were later mandated across indoor places and on public transport for more than two years as America rode out the Covid pandemic.
No states currently have the restrictions in place, but there are concerns they could return this winter.
Dr Fauci later suggested he advised people not to wear masks to ensure there were enough available for hospitals and healthcare centers.
- Covid did not come from a lab
Dr Fauci has also repeatedly insisted that Covid did not leak from a lab in China.
In April 2020 he dismissed the theory as a ‘shiny object that will go away’, and later brushed aside claims from other top experts as an ‘opinion’.
But evidence since built up that Covid may have leaked from a lab, rather than jumping from animals to humans as thought.
A US intelligence and WHO investigation have both failed to rule out the theory.
And Beijing has repeatedly frustrated attempts to access the Wuhan lab to investigate whether the virus did leak from the location.
Dr Fauci himself has also now backpedalled, saying instead that he keeps an ‘open mind’ although insisting that it remains ‘most likely’ that the virus spilled over from animals to humans.
- Two jabs will stop you catching Covid
When the Covid vaccine roll-out was in full swing, Dr Fauci told White House officials that there was little chance the double-jabbed would catch Covid.
He said the immunity from vaccines made them a ‘dead end’ for the virus, and even suggested they may no longer need to wear masks.
But when Omicron struck the US at the end of November it quickly became clear that two jabs did not block infection, although they did slash the risk of hospitalization and death.
America has now run several programs to ‘top up’ people’s immunity from jabs, including another this fall and winter.
‘You have to be careful,’ he said. ‘It is really unfortunate, that that’s the world in which we live, in that it’s a bunch of sound bites, sound bites that sometimes get cut in half and get misinterpreted.
‘Someone could always make mischief by clipping out a few words.’
Fauci, will leave his official post at the end of the year. His career in public health spans decades.
He has also been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a research agency within the sprawling National Institutes of Health, since 1984.
When Covid first reached US shores in January 2020, Fauci was quick to say it wasn’t ‘something the American people need to worry about’.
He also said the virus was ‘not a major threat’ and that it posed a ‘very, very low risk to the United States’.
But by mid-March the Trump administration was urging Americans to limit their international travel, and states were starting to move into lockdowns.
The death toll from the virus now stands at more than one million in America alone, with countless more lives disrupted by the infection.
Fauci has since admitted his error, but pointed out that calling for restrictions when there were just a handful of cases would have made him seem ‘crazy’.
The top infectious disease expert also told Americans there was ‘no need’ to wear a face mask in early March 2020.
He insisted at the time that the only benefit was it might make people ‘feel a little better’ and it ‘might even block a droplet’.
But by April he was forced to U-turn when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said they were needed because the virus spread through the air.
Fauci admitted he only advised the public not to wear them because he was concerned about mask shortages for medical staff.
He slipped up again amid the roll out of Covid vaccines in May 2021, telling those who were double-jabbed that they were highly unlikely to catch the virus.
At a meeting with the White House he described the fully vaccinated as a ‘dead end’ for the infection.
But it quickly became clear the jabs, while highly effective at protecting against serious disease, were not preventing infections.
Fauci has also repeatedly lambasted scientific experts over claims that Covid may have leaked from a lab in China.
In April 2020 he dismissed it as a ‘shiny object that will go away’, and in March the following year brushed aside claims from a top CDC chief as just an ‘opinion’.
But in the years since those comments many high profile scientists have begun to question the official narrative.
A US intelligence community report concluded that it was impossible to rule-out the lab leak theory in August 2021.
And Beijing has also repeatedly frustrated attempts from the WHO to investigate the lab — with the agency unable to rule out the theory.
Researchers at the Chinese lab in Wuhan who fell ill with a mysterious flu-like virus months before the official Covid timeline were silenced or disappeared.
Fauci has now backpedaled and claims to keep an ‘open mind’ over the origin of the virus, but he still believes it ‘most likely’ spilled into humans from an animal species.
It has since emerged he was chief cheerleader for American funding on virus experiments in Wuhan for gain of function experiments — where scientists try to manipulate viruses to make them more deadly or infectious.
Fauci has also made several bizarre claims during his time as the medical adviser to America’s Covid response.
In an interview with MSNBC in June 2021 when criticisms about his judgement were put to him, he said critics were not only attacking him but ‘attacking science’.
Today, Fauci has still not strayed for his now trademark – and often ill-founded – warnings about still-present dangers pertaining to the coronavirus.
Despite the steady decline of viruses and deaths since the summer, Fauci said Americans ‘should not be surprised’ if a highly transmissible variant emerges as the months get colder.
He is poised to elaborate on those claims, for the last time, on Wednesday at 11:30 AM ET.