Fauci confirms he intends to work with Biden - his seventh president - to continue the fight against coronavirus

The nation’s top public health official would not comment on whether he had already spoken to Joe Biden

Harriet Alexander
Tuesday 10 November 2020 16:05
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Dr Fauci says he will work with Biden
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Dr Anthony Fauci has no plans to retire and intends to make Joe Biden the seventh president he has worked with, he has confirmed.

The 79-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has endured death threats against him, his wife and children; Steve Bannon’s calling for his head to be “stuck on a pike outside the White House”; and Donald Trump describing him as an “idiot”. For the first time in his life, he has required a security detail.

Yet Dr Fauci said he had no intention of hanging up his lab coat.

Asked on Monday by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer whether he would work for Mr Biden, he replied: “Certainly that’s what I want to do, and I believe I will be doing that.”

He added: "I have no intention of leaving. This is an important job. I've been doing it now for a very long time. I've been doing it under six presidents.

“It's an important job, and my goal is to serve the American public, no matter what the administration is.”

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Dr Fauci, who knows Mr Biden from his time as vice president and his four decades in the Senate, would not say whether he had been in touch with the 77-year-old president-elect.

“I would prefer not to talk about any of that, because right now I want to focus on what I am doing now with regards to getting a vaccine and getting this country well, in the sense of towards normality,” he said.

But he did say that Mr Biden’s coronavirus task force, named on Monday, was full of qualified people.

Mr Biden’s task force will have three co-chairs: Vivek Murthy, surgeon general during the Obama administration; David Kessler, Food and Drug Administration commissioner under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; and Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine. 

Dr Murthy and Mr Kessler have briefed Mr Biden for months on the pandemic.

“They are all established individuals,” he said, when asked for his assessment of the team. 

"Obviously you couldn’t be in the business I’m in without knowing them.

"They are colleagues of mine; they are people I’ve been dealing with for years and years. They are qualified, of course.

Dr Fauci warned that the United States was in a "serious situation" with cases exceeding 100,000 a day, but said the country "can turn it around."

On Saturday there were 130,000 new cases; the US has now had more than 10 million cases, and 237,000 deaths.

"Unfortunately, we predicted it when we were talking about the fact that as we enter into the coolest season of the fall and the upcoming coldest season of the winter, that you're going to start seeing more indoor activity, and we never got down to a good baseline," he said.

"That is really something that is unfortunate.

“Having said that, it’s not too late to turn it around. In addition, help is on the way with a vaccine.”

He said people needed to keep maintaining distances, wear a face mask, wash hands.

"Just hang on in there," he said.

"We know there's light at the end of the tunnel, but that doesn't mean that we're going to give up the important public health measures that we continually still have to do every single day."

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