On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, announced that he has tested positive for COVID.
Fauci, age 81, is fully vaccinated and twice-boosted. He also serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“Dr. Fauci will isolate and continue to work from his home,” the National Institute for Health said in a press release. “He has not recently been in close contact with President Biden or other senior government officials. 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.”
Fauci has previously defended the COVID vaccine’s efficacy against critics who wonder how some folks can get infected with the virus and require hospitalization despite being vaccinated.
Recently, Fauci was interviewed on a podcast hosted by CBS’ Major Garrett, who was forced to record the discussion from his home due after testing positive for COVID even though he was double-vaxxed and boosted, Eat This, Not That reported.
“This is a highly transmissible virus, and it is very likely that if you were not vaccinated and double boosted, that you would’ve had a much more severe outcome than you have right now,” Fauci told Garrett. “And you and I very unlikely would be speaking to each other right now.”
In April, Fauci criticized those who believed getting infected was not something to worry about.
“We don’t want to pooh-pooh getting infected. I think people sometimes say, ‘Well, it’s OK to get infected.’ No, it’s not,” Fauci told ABC’s Jonathan Karl at the time. Fauci also relayed that while people should be able to assess their own risk level, they should not consider getting infected to be an acceptable risk because of the potential for long COVID or for significant illness.
“They may be at home, they may require a doctor consultation, but they don’t get hospitalized,” Fauci said. “That’s not something to pooh-pooh.”
In early June, CBS News reported that “federal data suggests the rate of breakthrough COVID infections in April was worse in boosted Americans compared to unboosted Americans — though rates of deaths and hospitalizations remained the lowest among the boosted.” But, CBS noted that that does not necessarily “mean are somehow increasing the risk.”
John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College, told CBS News that “one of the dynamics here is that people feel, after vaccination and boosting, that they’re more protected than they actually are, so they increase their risks.”
“That, I think, is the major driver of these statistics,” Moore explained.
For his part, Fauci is experiencing mild symptoms with his first case of COVID.
This is a developing story; please check back for updates.