Who is Anthony Fauci, who is the leading expert on infectious diseases and the face of the fight against disease in the United States, and why should the government arrange a bodyguard?
Dr. Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has the strongest voice calling for an increase in social distancing measures to combat the epidemic, is one of the few officials who dare to correct General Trump.
The 79-year-old gray-haired expert appears so often with a hoarse voice that even at a parliamentary interrogation, a congressman jokingly asks if he has twins because he is everywhere.
Another congressman suggested he use lemon, honey, and bourbon because his voice became husky after weeks of speaking to Congress, scientists, health officials, and reporters, according to the New York Times.
The Covid-19 pandemic was not his first opponent. He has led a federal effort against many other diseases such as HIV, SARS, 2009 flu, MERS or Ebola.
Anti-epidemic specialists are sought
Current concerns include a threat to Dr. Fauci and his excessive fans, the Washington Post cited a number of officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Justice Department.
Officials did not spell out exactly the threats targeting the six-party presidential advisors of both parties, but undoubtedly the constant presence in front of the lens increased the risks.
Fauci has become the target of right-wing writers, who have had a great influence on the conservative electorate in the United States who support the president. These writers urged Mr. Trump to relax limits on economic recovery, even though the disease is still raging, and so they want to smear Mr. Fauci.
The Washington Post quoted several unnamed officials as saying that US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar recently became concerned over malicious comments directed at Dr. Fauci. At the same time, his supporters often came forward to ask him to sign a baseball, as well as to show his admiration in other ways.
As a result, Minister Azar and other officials in the government arranged to have a separate bodyguard for Mr. Fauci.
“Any reporter calls, he calls back.”
At the White House press conference on the Covid-19 epidemic, Mr. Fauci was the most important voice about the spread of the disease, as well as the mandatory sacrifices to contain it.
Since the beginning of March, amid many other government scientists avoiding the press or being asked by the president not to exacerbate the risk, Fauci became the encyclopedia of epidemics for the American public. Any reporter called Fauci, he called again, according to the New York Times .
Many times he corrected the president, right in front of the reporters. For example, when Mr. Trump said the Covid-19 vaccine would be available in a few months, Fauci corrected it would take at least 12-18 months, in the best case.
Many people regarded him as a hero. When he was absent at a press conference in March, supporters, who were accustomed to judging his candid situation, feared he would be punished by the president for his candor. Many people went on Twitter and asked “where is Dr. Fauci?”, Making that question a trend on Twitter.
A picture of his hand on his face, expressed skepticism, has spread widely, because he was right behind President Trump when Mr. Trump was criticizing the US State Department as “a set of underground authorities” – repeated Trump’s unfounded condemnations are often made about opponents.
Fauci also appeared in large-coverage videos to talk about the disease, with celebrities from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to comedian Trevor Noah.
In an interview with the press, he often showed his ingenuity, both praising Mr. Trump and expressing doubts about the president’s unfounded assessments. Working with such a boss, Dr. Fauci always tried to orient the president’s speeches, but couldn’t “jump in front of the mic and interrupt him,” Fauci told Science magazine.
Perhaps because of that, many senior officials told the Washington Post that President Trump respected Mr. Fauci and the two had a good working relationship. Mr. Trump listened to Mr. Fauci’s advice to extend the time to social extra 30 days.
Used to be against many diseases
Dr. Fauci graduated top of his course at Cornell University School of Medicine and became director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 1984. From 1983-2002, he was the cited scientist. 13th among 2.5-3 million authors worldwide, across all scientific journal journals, according to the Institute of Scientific Information.
Congressman Donna Shalala of Florida commented that experts such as Dr. Fauci should be the ones who should come to the public to speak about the disease, instead of politicians.
“Anthony is playing the same role he had in the past – ensuring that science is accurate and clear,” she told the New York Times. “In a medical emergency, scientists and doctors are more trustworthy to the American public, rather than politicians.”
He was the chief architect of a worldwide plan to fight AIDS, initiated by President George W. Bush in 2003.
He also corrected President Bush’s words. When the anthrax bacteria were sent to a senator, the Bush administration wanted to ease the case. But Dr. Fauci frankly called it “bioterrorism.”
“This substance is very scary, making people infected through inhalation, do not need to touch … The truth is, it is a substance used to bioterrorism is very dangerous.”
Always looking for new pathogens, he was alarmed when in Wuhan mysterious pneumonia appeared. “Ever since I knew it was a coronavirus, I said it sounded like a SARS coronavirus … as soon as the virus was detected, I convened a meeting of the most senior people and said ‘have to get vaccinated now’. ”, He told the New York Times.
Dr. Fauci is one of the highest-paid federal officials, at $ 400,000 a year, more than the US vice president or Supreme Court judge, and manages nearly $ 6 billion in funding for his institute.
Scientists have “special” negotiation skills
The new virus worries him. Lack of ability to test is a major obstacle because officials need to know how many cases are there, where. Tests from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have failed, and replacement takes weeks. Strict regulations of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not allow independent laboratories to develop their own test kits.
But he did not respond to critics CDC. “It’s easy to say when things are gone,” he explained.
Similarly, when two nurses treating Ebola patients in the US became infected in 2014, the CDC was also heavily criticized, but he did not comment.
“If we make a mistake, he will tell the truth,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director at the time told the New York Times about Mr. Fauci. “If we were attacked unjustly, he would protect – a different way of behaving in a political environment like Washington. I think that’s why Tony is respected so much. ”
Mr. Frieden commented that Fauci also tried to be more optimistic to get Congressional money for vaccine projects. “It is a trick to get money from the Capitol, and the researcher’s role is to be always optimistic about the soon-to-be-done cure … He is very effective in getting funding.”
In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the US government suffered frequent protests, condemned for lack of action, lack of funding for treatment research. When a crowd of protesters outside the office in 1988, demanding a trial of AIDS drugs, Dr. Fauci surprised the invites to talk, eventually finding a way for them to access the drug without harm the test – a method that was later applied to other drugs.
“There are many world-class scientists, but Tony has special skills,” Senator Shalala told the New York Times. “The ability to communicate, integrity and understand politics – but also know when to stand outside politics to protect the scientific community.”
Mr. Fauci said his age put him in a high-risk form from the coronavirus. But that didn’t stop him, he still slept only five hours a night, working all the time waking up and making frequent trips between the office, the White House and the Capitol Hall of Congress. Almost every day he runs 5 km.c
“I’m not worried about myself,” he said. “I worry about the work that I have to do.”