Dr. Anthony Stephen Fauci born December 24, 1940) is an American physician and immunologist who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. Since January 2020, he has been one of the lead members of the Trump administration's White House Coronavirus Task Force addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Fauci is one of the world's leading experts on infectious diseases, and during the early stages of the pandemic, The New Yorker and The New York Times described Fauci as one of the most trusted medical figures in the United States.
As a physician with the National Institutes of Health , Fauci has served American public health in various capacities for more than 50 years, and has been an advisor to every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan. He has made contributions to HIV/AIDS research and other immunodeficiency diseases, both as a scientist and as the head of the NIAID at the NIH. From 1983 to 2002, Fauci was one of the world's most frequently-cited scientists across all scientific journals. In 2008, for his work on the AIDS relief program known as PEPFAR, Fauci was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush, the highest civilian award in the United States.
Early life and education Fauci was born in Brooklyn, New York City, to Stephen A. Fauci and Eugenia Abys Fauci, owners of a pharmacy. His father was a Columbia University–educated pharmacist, his mother and sister Denise worked the register, and Fauci delivered prescriptions. The pharmacy was located in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn, directly beneath the family apartment, previously in the Bensonhurst neighborhood.
Fauci's paternal grandparents, Antonino Fauci and Calogera Guardino, were from Sciacca, Italy. His maternal grandmother, Raffaella Trematerra, from Naples, Italy, was a seamstress. His maternal grandfather, Giovanni Abys, was born in Switzerland and was an artist, noted for landscape and portrait painting, magazine illustrations as well as graphic design for commercial labels, including olive oil cans. His grandparents emigrated from Italy to the United States in the late 19th century. Fauci grew up Catholic, but now considers himself a humanist.
Fauci attended Regis High School in Manhattan's Upper East Side, where he captained the school's basketball team despite standing only 5 ft 7 in tall. After graduating from high school in 1958, Fauci attended the College of the Holy Cross, graduating in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in classics with a pre-med track. Fauci then attended medical school at Cornell University Medical College where he graduated first in his class with a Doctor of Medicine in 1966. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, now known as New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine.
Career In 1968, Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health as a clinical associate in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In 1974, he became head of the Clinical Physiology Section, LCI, and in 1980 was appointed Chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. In 1984, he became director of NIAID, a position he still holds as of 2020. In that role he is responsible for an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research on infectious and immune-mediated illnesses. He has turned down several offers to lead his agency's parent, the NIH, and has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts to contend with viral diseases like HIV/AIDS, SARS, the 2009 swine flu pandemic, MERS, Ebola and COVID-19.
He played a significant role in the early 2000s in creating the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and in driving development of biodefense drugs and vaccines following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Fauci has been a visiting professor at many medical centers, and has received 30 honorary doctorates from universities in the U.S. and abroad. Fauci has made important scientific observations that contributed to the understanding of regulation of the human immune response, and is recognized for delineating the mechanisms whereby immunosuppressive agents adapt to that response. He developed therapies for formerly fatal diseases such as polyarteritis nodosa, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and lymphomatoid granulomatosis. In a 1985 Stanford University Arthritis Center Survey of the American Rheumatism Association, membership ranked Fauci's work on the treatment of polyarteritis nodosa and granulomatosis with polyangiitis as one of the most important advances in patient management in rheumatology over the previous 20 years.
President Barack Obama greets Fauci in June 2014 Fauci has contributed to the understanding of how HIV destroys the body's defenses leading to the progression to AIDS. He has outlined the mechanisms of induction of HIV expression by endogenous cytokines. Fauci has worked to develop strategies for the therapy and immune reconstitution of patients with the disease, as well as for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. His current research is concentrated on identifying the nature of the immunopathogenic mechanisms of HIV infection and the scope of the body's immune responses to HIV.
In 2003, the Institute for Scientific Information stated that from 1983 to 2002, 'Fauci was the 13th most-cited scientist among the 2.5 to 3 million authors in all disciplines throughout the world who published articles in scientific journals." As a government scientist under six presidents, Fauci has been described as 'a consistent spokesperson for science, a person who more than any other figure has brokered a generational peace' between the two worlds of science and politics.
HIV/AIDS epidemic Fauci was one of the leading researchers during the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. In 1981, he heard of the virus, and he and his team of researchers began looking for a vaccine or treatment for this novel virus, though they would meet a number of obstacles. In October 1988, protesters came to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci, who had become the institute's director in 1984, bore the brunt of the anger from the LGBTQ community, who were largely ignored by the government.
Leading AIDS activist Larry Kramer attacked Fauci relentlessly in the media. He called him an 'incompetent idiot' and a 'pill-pushing' tool of the medical establishment. Fauci did not have control over drug approval though many people felt he was not doing enough. Fauci did make an effort in the late 1980s to reach out to the gay community in New York and San Francisco to find ways he and the NIAID could find a solution. Though Fauci was initially admonished for his treatment of the AIDS epidemic, Fauci's work in the community was eventually acknowledged; Kramer, who had spent years hating Fauci for his treatment of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, eventually called him 'the only true and great hero' among government officials in the AIDS crisis.
Ebola Congressional hearing See also: Ebola virus cases in the United States On October 16, 2014, in a United States Congressional hearing regarding the Ebola virus crisis, Fauci, who, as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases had been discussing the importance of screening for weeks, testified that NIAID was still some distance away from producing sufficient quantities of cures or vaccines for widespread trials. Specifically, Fauci said, 'While NIAID is an active participant in the global effort to address the public health emergency occurring in west Africa, it is important to recognize that we are still in the early stages of understanding how infection with the Ebola virus can be treated and prevented.'
Fauci also remarked in the hearing: 'As we continue to expedite research while enforcing high safety and efficacy standards, the implementation of the public health measures already known to contain prior Ebola virus outbreaks and the implementation of treatment strategies such as fluid and electrolyte replacement are essential to preventing additional infections, treating those already infected, protecting healthcare providers, and ultimately bringing this epidemic to an end.'
Fauci is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force established in late January 2020, under President Trump, to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. He became a 'de facto' public health spokesperson for the office of the president during the pandemic and a strong advocate for ongoing social distancing efforts in the United States.
In March, he predicted that the infection fatality rate would likely be close to 1%, which was ten times more severe than the 0.1% reported rate for seasonal flu. On March 29, 2020, Fauci argued for the extension of the initial 15-day self-isolation guidelines, issued by the executive office, to at least until the end of April 2020. In mid-April, Fauci stated that if the administration had 'started mitigation earlier,' more lives could have been saved, and 'no one is going to deny that.' He added that the decision-making for implementing mitigation measures was 'complicated," and 'there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.'
Fauci's comments were met with a hostile response from former Republican congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine. President Trump retweeted Lorraine's response, which included the call to ' FireFauci', drawing public alarm. 'Fire Fauci' has also been chanted loudly by anti-lockdown protesters in various locations, including Florida and Texas. As a result, the White House denied that Trump was firing Fauci, and blamed the media for overreacting.
Due to his disagreements with Trump, Fauci has been criticised by right-wing pundits and received death threats that resulted in the need for a security detail. In an interview with 60 Minutes he mentioned that other members of his family, including his wife and daughters, have been repeatedly harassed since the pandemic begun.
On July 6, 2020, Fauci spoke on a Facebook livestream, offering his opinion that the country's situation as pertaining to COVID-19 'is really not good," pointing to more than 55,000 new cases on July 4, 2020. The United States was 'still knee-deep in the first wave' of cases, and was experiencing a 'resurgence of infections," stated Fauci. On July 7, 2020, during a press conference, Fauci stated that it was a 'false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death' for COVID-19 in the country: 'There's so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus, don't get yourself into false complacency." Both Trump and the White House had cited the falling death rate as proof of success of the Trump administration's response. After this appearance by Fauci, the White House cancelled three scheduled media appearances by Fauci due later that week. On July 7, 2020, Trump contradicted Fauci's comments describing a dire situation in the country, with Trump saying: 'I think we are in a good place. I disagree with .' While there have been disagreements, Trump has also praised Fauci.
On July 9, 2020, Trump publicly claimed that Fauci 'made a lot of mistakes." By July 12, 2020, a White House official told media outlets that 'several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things," passing to the media on a list of purported mistakes made by Fauci during the outbreak. One of the supposed mistakes highlighted was Fauci's February 29, 2020, statement in an interview that 'at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you're doing on a day-by-day basis." However, the White House list neglected to mention that in that same interview, Fauci had stated that the risk could change, 'when you start to see community spread," and that the disease could morph into 'a major outbreak' in the country.
As late as September 23, 2020, when U.S. coronavirus fatalities exceeded 200,000, conservatives continued to question Fauci's and the CDC's recommendations for responding to the epidemic. In a hearing before the Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Kentucky's Senator Rand Paul asked him if he had 'second thoughts' about his mitigation recommendations, including six feet apart of social distancing and mask wearing, claiming, 'our death rate is essentially worse than Sweden's.' Fauci stood by the guidelines, indicating Sweden's fatality rate exceeded those of other Scandinavian countries and said the comparison between Sweden and the U.S. was not legitimate. Fauci said the recommendations remained valid. After Paul then asserted New York's high fatality rate showed that mitigation efforts were insufficient, Fauci replied, 'You've misconstrued that Senator, and you've done that repetitively in the past.' The doctor explained further that New York State had succeeded in getting the virus under control by following the CDC's clinical guidelines. Paul had made numerous claims about herd immunity, Sweden's interventions to combat the pandemic, the contention that the populations of Asian countries have greater resilience against COVID-19, and death rates due to the virus.
In October 2020, Fauci objected after his words 'I can't imagine that anybody could be doing more' were featured in an advertisement from the Trump campaign touting Trump's handling of the pandemic. Fauci said he did not consent to the ad, his words were taken out of context , and he had never made a political endorsement in his career.
On October 18, 2020 Fauci mentioned that he 'wasn't surprised' Donald Trump contracted coronavirus. The next day, during a presidential call, Trump called Fauci 'a disaster' and said that 'people are tired of COVID.' During a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona on October 19, Trump has launched attacks on his political rival Joe Biden where he said that Biden 'wants to listen to Dr. Fauci' in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic response, upon which Biden merely replied '...yes' on Twitter. On October 31, the Washington Post published an extensive interview of Fauci, in which he voiced a candid assessment of the administration's coronavirus policies and was critical of the influence of presidential advisor Scott Atlas.
Cultural impact Owing to his prominent role in the United States response to numerous global pandemics, most notably HIV/AIDS and COVID-19, Fauci has become the subject of tributes and interpretations across various media, including television, literature, merchandising, and internet memes. Brad Pitt's performance as Fauci during the 2020 season of Saturday Night Live earned the actor an Emmy nomination, and praise from Fauci. Author Sally Quinn has credited Fauci as the inspiration for the love interest to the protagonist in her bestselling 1991 romance novel Happy Endings. Larry Kramer based the character Dr. Anthony Della Vida on Fauci in his play The Destiny of Me.
Personal life In 1985, Fauci married Christine Grady, a nurse and bioethicist with the NIH, after they met while treating a patient. Grady is chief of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. The couple have three adult daughters.
Memberships Fauci is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine; the American Philosophical Society, and the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, as well as other numerous professional societies including the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the American Association of Immunologists. He serves on the editorial boards of many scientific journals, as an editor of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, and as author, coauthor, or editor of more than 1,000 scientific publications, including several textbooks.
Awards and honors
In addition to receiving an honorary degree in 2015, Fauci was invited to deliver guest remarks on May 21, 2020, for the Johns Hopkins University Class of 2020. Other notable guest speakers during the virtual ceremony included Reddit co-founder and commencement speaker Alexis Ohanian; philanthropist and former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; and senior class president Pavan Patel.