After years of drama in the White House COVID update, the United States’ top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, gave a final briefing to reporters on Tuesday before leaving the government at the end of the year.
White House Press Secretary Carine Jean-Pierre introduced Mr. Fauci to the podium “once again,” saying that “his leadership has made our country stronger and healthier.”
Fauci insisted on the idea that Americans should be up-to-date on COVID and flu vaccinations ahead of the winter, and has written a lengthy set of guidelines to educate Americans about the safety and effectiveness of COVID vaccines. I made a final pitch in my efforts.
“My message, and my final message, perhaps the last message I will give you from this podium, is to, for your own safety, for your family’s sake, the latest COVID-19 precautions as soon as you are eligible. Get vaccinated. To protect yourself, your family and your community,” he said.
As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci was almost always present at White House briefings during the more than two years of the COVID pandemic.
In 2020, he served as a scientific check on then-President Donald Trump’s musings about the virus. He stayed on after the election of President Joe Biden, who elevated Fauci to chief personal adviser on the pandemic.
Fauci is set to retire from government next month after more than 50 years in office.
Asked by ABC News’ Karen Travers how he would like people to remember his achievements in government, Fauci leaves the judgment to others, but says, “I’ve spent decades I did everything I could,” he said.
“What I’ve accomplished in my 54 years at NIH and 38 years as Director of NIAID, COVID is really, really big, but it’s just a fraction of the 40 years I’ve been doing,” Fauci said. I was.
“I will leave it to others to judge the worth of my achievements,” he continued. The one I have and never left anything in the field. “
Fauci has spoken out about his decision to retire interview With ABC’s Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Carr on “This Week” in October.
On Tuesday, he joined Biden’s other top adviser, Dr. Ashish Ja, to discuss the need for Americans to get a bivalent COVID vaccine.
“The bottom line is that we are doing everything we can in the next six weeks to ensure that families have the latest COVID vaccinations by the end of the year, as this is the best protection for this winter,” said Jha. rice field.
Fauci also reflected on the COVID-19 crisis, saying that he initially never imagined that the country would experience “a three-year tale of suffering and death, and one million Americans losing their lives.” rice field.
The “most disturbing” aspect of the pandemic, he said, is the constantly evolving variants that make it nearly impossible to stay ahead of the virus.
Asked about the conflicting statements made by the Trump administration early in the crisis, Fauci said, “We are dealing with a moving target.”
“When dealing with media reports, discussions, recommendations, guidelines, etc., we need to build on the information we have at the time.” But we are not dealing with a static situation. No, we are dealing with a dynamic situation.”
Going forward, officials must do a better job of highlighting the evolving nature of outbreaks like this, he said.
Fauci also lamented the politicization around vaccines and other efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“As a doctor, it pains me when I see people in this country not being vaccinated for reasons that have nothing to do with public health, because of the divisions in our country.” Fauci said, “Because I don’t want to see anyone get infected.”
“I don’t want to see anyone get hospitalized,” he added. “I don’t want to see anyone die from COVID. It makes no difference to me whether you’re a far-right Republican or a far-left Democrat.”
Despite leaving government, Fauci could be called to testify before Congress.
Republicans, who took control of the House in the midterm elections, want to explore his role in overseeing the government’s response to COVID.
Fauci says he and his family have faced death threats amid all the attacks against him.
Fauci said on Tuesday that he would cooperate fully with oversight hearings conducted by the new Congress.
“I have no problem testifying. We can defend, explain and support everything we say, so we have nothing to hide,” he said. rice field.