Dr. Anthony Fauci tested positive for COVID-19, the National Institutes of Health announced on Wednesday, June 15. The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, 81, is said to be “experiencing mild symptoms,” according to a statement by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of the NIH. “Dr. Fauci will isolate and continue to work from his home,” read part of the statement.
Fauci, who became a household name in the early days of the pandemic with his televised COVID briefings, is also the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden. However, it appears the risk of Fauci infecting the commander in chief is low. “He has not recently been in close contact with President Biden or other senior government officials,” the NIH statement said.
“Dr. Fauci will follow the COVID-19 guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and medical advice from his physician and return to the NIH when he tests negative,” the NIH added in the statement.
While Fauci was a leader in getting the word out on the devastating disease, some found him to be a polarizing figure, with threats leveled against him from those opposed to his mitigation efforts, such as wearing facial masks. A man was even arrested in late 2020 in Iowa after police discovered weapons and an alleged hit list in his car with Fauci’s name on it.
However, Fauci found a huge fanbase of supporters as well, becoming a bit of a celebrity along the way, whether he liked it or not. “It’s surrealistic and, in some respects, nice and amusing,” Fauci said in an interview with People. “But you can’t take that stuff seriously and start to think you’re a celebrity. When you start to think that, then you get into trouble. I’m a physician. I’m a scientist. And I’m a public health official.”
On Thursday, Dr. Fauci was scheduled to appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to give an update on the federal response to the pandemic. The United States has over 1 million in COVID deaths, with cases nearing 86 million to date.