Dr. Anthony Fauci misses the “boring” stuff – like going out to dinner, seeing a movie and lunchtime runs near the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
As a chief adviser in the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Fauci doesn’t have much free time these days. He spends the first part of his 16-hour workday leading vaccine and therapeutics research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the $5.9-billion arm of the NIH that he’s directed since 1984. He usually then heads to the White House for meetings with staffers, Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the coronavirus task force.
“I’m in a strange world here,” he says. “I’ve devoted my entire career – which is, you know, 85% of my life – to infectious diseases, and now I’m caught in a historic pandemic.”
The born-and-raised New Yorker, 79, is known as a straight talker who’s skilled at communicating complex science to policymakers and the public, and he’s become perhaps the country’s single most authoritative scientific voice on COVID-19. A recent Quinnipiac University poll placed Americans’ trust in Fauci above that of President Donald Trump and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on matters related to the virus.
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Fauci has advised every president since Ronald Reagan and has worked on a host of viral outbreaks, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic, bird flu, H1N1 swine flu, Zika and Ebola. The swine flu, he says, “spread like wildfire, but it was a wimpy virus.”
He also helped create the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a program credited with saving some 18 million lives globally since its launch in 2003, and in 2008, President George W. Bush awarded Fauci the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Five years ago, he helped treat two U.S. Ebola patients, in part “to show his staff that he wouldn’t ask them to do anything he wouldn’t do himself,” Science Magazine reported.
So the career civil servant isn’t new to viral outbreaks and public health emergencies. And he’s long warned that the U.S. would likely see another infectious disease crisis during his lifetime.
His prediction has, of course, been realized.
Fauci’s Worst Nightmare
“What (kept) me up at night is the emergence, usually jumping from an animal reservoir to a human, of a brand new virus that no one has ever seen before,” Fauci says of his decadeslong career working on infectious diseases. Enter COVID-19, which meets a third criteria: It can be deadly. “Bingo,” he says. “The worst nightmare comes true.”
Fauci learned to prepare for the unexpected while working on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the ’80s because dangerous outbreaks “generally don’t start off telling you how bad they can be,” he says. He first took note of what would become a global epidemic after reading an early report that described a pneumonia-like condition that had cropped up among a handful of gay men in Los Angeles in 1981.
Within 5 years, he created an AIDS division at NIAID, and he later pushed to loosen HIV-drug clinical trial requirements to allow patients to try multiple experimental treatments at once.
Fauci also met his wife, Christine Grady, at the NIH, where she leads its clinical center’s bioethics department. Throughout the pandemic, she’s been his “very smart and very prudent” support system, he says: Grady reminded him to sleep, eat and drink water “when New York was kind of on fire” and he became all-consumed by COVID-19 this spring.
The pair run or power walk together in the evenings, their way of holding on to some semblance of a “normal existence.”
“I’m pretty good at compartmentalizing,” Fauci says.
It’s a skill that’s surely been useful during the COVID-19 crisis. Fauci’s blunt assessments of the U.S. response to the pandemic have often been at odds with those of the president and his supporters, who have painted a rosier picture. In a recent address in the Rose Garden, Trump repeated an incorrect claim that increased testing is driving the surge in cases, and said his administration’s efforts have potentially saved 2 to 3 million lives.
In contrast, Fauci is not one to sugarcoat. “I do tell the truth, and I do say it like it is, even when people don’t want to hear it,” he says. When asked whether he’s assigned too much personal credit – or blame – for the country’s handling of the pandemic, Fauci says “there’s not much credit to be given out. We have a serious problem, so if people start taking credit now, they’re really doing a premature dance.”
Efforts to undermine Fauci’s credibility appear to have escalated recently, a development he calls “bizarre.” Recently, a White House official anonymously circulated a list of Fauci’s statements early in the pandemic, which changed as officials learned more about the virus. On July 15, USA Today published an op-ed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro that sharply criticized Fauci; Navarro was in turn rebuked by Trump and Mark Meadows, his chief of staff.
The political drama, Fauci says, is “the garbage that’s going on” in the background of his work on infectious diseases like COVID-19, and while “obviously, it can be exasperating,” he tries to ignore it. He has no plans to leave his position as NIAID director – “Why the hell would I?” – and says he will stay on the White House’s coronavirus task force as long as he thinks he “can do more good from within than from without.”
The medical community and lawmakers defended Fauci last week, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said July 15 he had “total” confidence in the doctor. But Fauci says the public turmoil in recent months has taken a toll on his personal life: He’s had armed security and says people have harassed his wife and three daughters, including by tapping into their phones and sending them letters.
“I mean, come on,” he says. “That’s ridiculous.”
Cult of Personality
It’s a sharp divergence from the pop culture fandom that sprung up around him this spring, which produced a petition to name him People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, a portrayal by Brad Pitt on Saturday Night Live and merch with slogans like “In Fauci We Trust.”
“You know, people are buying bobbleheads about me, and on the other hand, people are threatening my life – it’s a very bizarre situation,” he says. “I’ve become more of a symbol, but that’s not really me.”
If Fauci is, in fact, a symbol of what’s right or wrong about the U.S. response to the pandemic, he’s likely to remain one for some time. In just six months, the virus has infected more than 3.7 million people and killed more than 140,000 in the U.S. alone. Since July 5, 25 states have shattered their single-day records for new cases, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
As cases have picked up again, so has Fauci’s work pace, shoving any thought of “the normal day-by-day things” that he misses into the far distance.
“It’s kind of (like) your life is in suspension. I’ve never had that feeling in my life before,” he says. “But I’m caught up in the COVID-19 web, you know? That’s my world. That’s my entire world.”
47 thoughts on “‘Bingo,’ Dr. Anthony Fauci Says. ‘The Worst Nightmare Comes True.’”
I don’t trust him. He acts guilty of something and he acts like a demonrat, flip flopping from one day to the next.
He doesn’t flop, but he definitely flips when research discovers new facts about the new Coronavirus. His statements are clear and consistent with the facts, and that is why I trust him.
His main problem…won’t admit it, is he doesn’t get along with DT, because he is obviously a part of the Swamp. A liberal (at least) D…anti-DT/TDS sufferer. Otherwise, he would get on board with the POTUS and the majority of the American puble…that has/have serious questions about the STATS, related to numbers/threats of the virus. Reports indicat many D controlled precincts across the US, report 100 percent of positive test in their jurisdictions. IMPOSIBLE…he won’t address that obvious attempt on the part of the left (since 2016) to hurt DT in anyway they can. Each attack fails (what D’s do/experts at it)…so, they (and he) along with the DNC and D governors/mayors, come up with the next lie…all DNC, “tested” talking points. Will be gone when DT starts his 2nd term! God willing.
You don’t know what you are talking about. Statistics is a science, and Democrats are the people that care about others, not only about themselves and their own wealth. Have republicans lost their minds from the fury over having a two term black president?
Great commentary! As a side note the Florida “outbreak is questionable”.De Santis has done such a good job keeping the virus under control. The D couldn’t stand it so created an outbreak. Same in Texas. It just feels like what has happened.!
Whining does not become a professional …
Fauci has been at the infectious disese for 40 years.Im am sure in January or earlier he approached The President and told him how dangerous the virus in china was.He probably recommended extreme positions to take,He probably was told ,this is an election year and we do not want to screw up the economy.He was rebuked by the whitehouse and it’s advisors.That is why he does not smile at the conferences.He knows he was right and they seem to make him look bad.
again you must realize the the USA has never prepared for any catastrophe or epidemic in their history.The attitude is we can spend our way out.Big Pharme contributes to the CDC and Faucis organization ,that is why they are all for new drugs to control th epidemic..Hydroxy is proven if it is given early but ony cost 5 cents a pill.The new drugs by big pharma cost $3000. Money talks bullshit walks
Nope. Fauci himself still doesn’t KNOW hardly anything about this virus. The American people know ONE thing. He; along with the ENTIRE Democratic Party have made it out to be so much WORSE than it is. The WHO, CDC & China were in bed together right from the start on this virus.
And Dr. Fauci even worked in the lab it came from at one time. And he along Bill Gates of Microsoft; have given MILLIONS to the Wuhang lab. And ONE more thing. In Texas; the numbers were accidentally wrong a FEW weeks back. Instead of it being 96% of people tested in ONE week being positive; they said later it was really 9.6% of the people that had the virus.
You can BET after the Nov. elections; COVID-19 will be GONE. And the Democratic Party will have to find something else to try & IMPEACH Trump once again. Because I truly feel our good LORD will make sure OUR President stays in office for another FOUR years.
You don’t know what you are talking about, Hydroxy chloroquine has serious adverse reactions, irregular heartbeats for one. You can get that for only 5 cents.
Randomized, controlled clinical trials found its effects the same as placebo.
THE HYDROXY MYTH THAT THE DEMS PUT OUT IS CRAZY. THEY DON’T LIKE FACTS HOW THE GOOD STUDIES IT REALLY HELPS. WHY DID THE NURSES AND DOCTORS TAKE IT SO MUCH IN NEW YORK ESPECIALLY WATCHING OVER THE NURSING HOMES IN NEW YORK IT’S ALL ABOUT TRUMP BECAUSE HE USED IT. HIS DOCTORS BRAGGED ON IT TOO.
Dr. Fauci has stated he considers no other effects of his policy recommendations except COVID. As a practicing physician, I can state ignoring potential and actual complications of treatment recommendations is a very dangerous, and unacceptable, thing. Per the UN, 130 million additional people have been thrown into starvation as a result of the global effects of economic shutdown. Per WHO, 80 million children are not being vaccinated as a result of COVID and are now at risk. That is 210 million people now at risk for policy decisions for a virus with 0.4% mortality, has killed 550,000 worldwide, average age around 80. The average annual global mortality is 55 million. That is medical insanity. In US starvation may not be an issue, but deaths from undiagnosed/untreated cardiac and cancer, long term cardiovascular sequelae from job loss, drug overdose, suicide, domestic abuse, child abuse, children not being vaccinated appear will dwarf anything from the virus. Imagine an infectious disease physician treating your family member for COVID and blissfully ignoring evidence of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) on the EKG, not bringing in cardiology consult on the case. I highly doubt any would think that is appropriate.
I don’t trust Fauci or his large medical machine government entities as far as I can throw them. It’s all about following the money.
Everything Fauci has ever said in public is a lie.
I appreciate all the work Dr. Fauci has done for the US on this pandemic. Thank you. Madeline Peters
I want to know how Dr Fauci ‘s knew 3 years ahead of time that this virus was coming? Harlene thank you
Sure, he misses the little things like going out to dinner. What about the people who are approaching homelessness because their jobs have been destroyed by the lock downs? What about the people already homeless from it? What about the people waiting in line at food pantries, hoping something will be left by the time they get through the line? What about already homeless people who can’t get a shower because the fitness clubs are all shut down? You know, being homeless and jobless is a 24 hour burden, not a 16 hour very well paid gig that he could have legitimately retired from 15 years ago.
Tell the truth? He is very confused about the “truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” he should be telling these days. He is the master of the half truth, the technicality, the qualified statement. He’s no “yes man;, he’s a yes but…. man”. He is so good at it he should have been an attorney, not a doctor. How can he be “telling the truth” when he knows darned well that quarantine means you separate the sick from the well and not everyone from everyone else? One shouldn’t think he wasn’t behind restricting the use of HCQ to clinical trials for people too sick to benefit much so “data” could be fabricated showing that it actually killed more people than it saved? We couldn’t have a cheap effective fix for his precious epidemic could we? Then his Big Pharma handlers wouldn’t get so much taxpayer funding to pursue vaccines for a type of virus that has defied success and safety for decades now. Doesn’t anyone remember that HIV is a RNA virus? Where is the vaccine for THAT?
How can it be ethical that he is heading the Gates influenced Moderna trials at NIH? Just watch, that one will be approved for sure, no matter what the trials show. People forced to get it will be destroyed just as the Lyme vaccine destroyed people who got it thinking it would protect their health.
How can injecting people with messenger RNA designed to turn their cells into corona-virus-spike-protein making factories in hopes of stimulating the immune system into making antibodies against the spike protein be safe? What if the immune system can’t keep up with the rate of spike protein synthesis? Won’t the ACE 2 receptors be blocked by the continued production of spike proteins, permanently disregulating these essential human functions?
His wife leads the NIH clinical center bioethics department? You gotta be kidding, Where was she when he helped arrange funding for the USA banned gain of function research to Wuhan, which is a likely precursor to the current “epidemic”? Oh, right, he is good at compartmentalizing. Apparently she is too?
I cannot bear it.
Didn’t Pelosi say: “People are gonna do what they want to do.” ? So to blame Trump for all this – I will go back to Pelosi’s statement EVERY TIME !!
Fauci is his own worst Fing Nightmare like Freddy Kruger. The man is a short lying sack of Chite. He lies and can’t open his eyes while talking because he’s reading his script printed on the inside of his eyelids. The Guy needs to be taken out by one of his wetdream virus he’s CREATED
Wtf fouci paid for gain of function with this virus gain of function means this is a bio virus made to infect humans wake up people
Fauci is NOT your friend and has caused the death of your loved ones
One guess who’s going to make money on the “cure”
I certainly like me many things that president Trump has done but would not pick him as my doctor. Dr Fauci is doing a fantastic job and has my complete trust which we should follow. L to s keep people lit ice out of dealing with this pandemic and leave decisions to our people Xperia’s. Monday night quarter backing is Crazy in playing this pandemic.
Wouldn’t trust him to give shots to my dog.
Wouldn’t trust Falsey to give shots to my dog…..
Well, you wouldn’t print my post about Dr. Falsey!
I do NOT trust Dr. Fauci. The cheaper medication that Pres. Trump was taking in the beginning is being USED by doctors ALL over OUR country. I.did a lot of research into it & it’s saving MANY lives. Doctors are giving it at the FIRST sign of ANY symptoms.
And the MAJORITY of these people are getting well without even going to the hospital. And there is already a HUGE group of doctors that signed a letter they penned out & it was sent around to different hospitals. So now a huge number of hospitals are allowing doctors to use it in different hospitals & not just at offices.
Dr. Birx is a lot SMARTER than Fauci. He is in the Democratic Party’s front pocket. He loves going on CNN and other Liberal media outlets. But Dr. Birx is the one that STAYS in the field studying everything about COVID. And every SINGLE week she produces a HUGE medical binder with all her findings. And she, Joe Biden & others on the team go through ALL of it.
AND THE LAST THING. THERE IS NOTHING SEXY ABOUT THIS OLD MAN. HE’S DEFINITELY NOT THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE. WELL MAYBE TO DEMOCRATS. THEY ARE BLIND TO EVERYTHING.
TOU LIBERAL IDIOTS ERASE ALL TGE COMMENTS BECAUSE THEY ALL WERE NEGATIVE ABOUT DR. FAUCI. STUPID PRICKS.
Get him out. Before he knocks out several American citizens, pernamently.
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