National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Anthony Fauci (Getty Images)
Fox News – David Rutz
Fauci said if he left when we didn’t have coronavirus anymore, he’d be 105.
Dr. Anthony Fauci made what Politico called a “startling admission” in a new interview as he acknowledged the coronavirus can’t be eradicated any time in the near future.
Fauci, the Biden White House chief medical adviser and longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he would depart by the end of President Biden’s first term, concluding more than 50 years in the American public health sector. If he stayed until when COVID-19 was gone, the 82-year-old said, he’d be “105.”
“We’re in a pattern now. If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have Covid anymore,’ then I will be 105. I think we’re going to be living with this,” Fauci said, after he was asked whether he was staying out of a sense of obligation.
‘But his assessment, that we’ll live with Covid-19 for many years to come, is a startling admission from the longtime infectious disease expert who said the country could flatten the curve and achieve herd immunity, first through social distancing and then vaccination,” Politico’s Sarah Owermohle reported.
Fauci added the U.S. was in a “steady state,” as the country faces a small surge in cases and hospitalizations from the latest variant, which has proven more effective at evading protections provided by vaccines and prior infection. The daily average of new cases is roughly 130,000 a day, not including what is likely a staggering number of at-home positive results that aren’t reported.
It’s not the first time Fauci has made such comments, however. He has repeatedly said the virus will likely never be eradicated and declared earlier this year that the country was out of the coronavirus’ “pandemic phase.”
“We’re never going to eradicate this,” he said in December. “We’ve only eradicated one virus, and that’s smallpox. Elimination may be too aspirational, because we’ve only done that with infections for which we’ve had a massive vaccination campaign like polio and measles. Even though we haven’t eradicated [those viruses] from the planet, we have no cases, with few exceptions, in the U.S.
Last week, though, he said Americans couldn’t just hope the pandemic doesn’t exist.
“Everybody wants to put this pandemic behind us and feel and hope it doesn’t exist. It does,” Fauci said on MSNBC last week of the BA.5 variant of the virus.
In an interview with CNN on Monday, he addressed the Politico report, shrugging off the idea of impending retirement but guaranteed he would be out by the end of Biden’s first term, which concludes Jan. 20, 2025.
A lightning rod throughout the pandemic, Fauci has received both significant praise as a steady hand with an accomplished career, but also voracious criticism from the right as the bureaucratic symbol of harmful lockdowns and other government policies that failed to corral the virus. He also has sparred with Republican politicians such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., over the virus’ possible Chinese laboratory origins and whether NIAID played a role in funding risky research that could have spawned it.
No definitive conclusion has been made about the origins of COVID-19, although Fauci has said the evidence points to natural origins.
Fauci tested positive for COVID-19 last month and credited the vaccines for keeping him from a severe outcome, while acknowledging the vaccines haven’t protected “overly well” against infection.
While the coronavirus made him a household name, Fauci was already well-known in the medical community, particularly for his work on HIV and AIDS. He received adulation for his work under the George W. Bush administration spearheading the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, which is widely credited with saving millions of lives worldwide.
David Rutz is a senior editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @davidrutz.