The nation’s most recognizable public health official has led every charge for lockdowns, masks and vaccines since the pandemic began. He faces unrelenting, withering criticism from the right. And a recent national survey indicated that more than half of U.S. voters think he should quit.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and will turn 81 on Christmas Eve, says he isn’t going anywhere.
“I’m the director of the institute that has now been very important in the basic research … that will now have an important impact in the treatment of COVID-19,” Fauci told CBS News in an interview aired Sunday. “That’s what I do.”
Fauci, who also serves as President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said he won’t quit until the pandemic “is in the rearview mirror.” He suggested the nation “can ultimately live with” an infection rate of less than 10,000 new cases per day. The current average is more than 70,000 cases per day.
Fauci shrugs off as politically motivated the criticism targeting him and his efforts. But public support is showing signs of waning. A Hill-HarrisX poll conducted from October 26-27 found 52% of registered voters polled felt Fauci should resign.
“If you keep lying about someone and keep spreading preposterous accusations, there’re going to be some people, if they hear that often enough, (who) are going to believe it,” he said. “But that’s just the way it is. I can’t change the fabric of society about social media and how it works.”
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