Unknown by the general audience before the coronavirus outbreak, Dr. Anthony Fauci is the head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Allergies, and, as such, he has become the most authoritative voice in the epidemic.
Through his tireless communication sessions and regular press meetings, Fauci has become a trusted and important voice in communicating realities about the COVID-19 outbreak.
Trump may fire him.
Trump’s initial doubts over the extent of the pandemic has led to a tense relationship with Fauci over the past few weeks, which might have now reached a peak. Trump retweeted a post calling for the doctor’s job, leading to many speculations over his position in the government.
Fauci repeatedly danced a delicate dance, trying to recommend what’s right without criticizing Trump or his administration, even when criticism was warranted.
Recently, Fauci was recently asked about a report by The New York Times, which claimed Trump had underestimated the epidemic and reacted too slow in January. In an interview with the CNN, the doctor was asked about the report and agreed earlier action could have saved more lives.
“Obviously, you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing, and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” Fauci replied. “Obviously, no one is going to deny that. … But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.”
DeAnna Lorraine, a former Republican congressional candidate, said Fauci had told people in February that “there was nothing to worry about” regarding the virus, claiming it was “time to #FireFauci.” Trump used that tweet to claim the Times’ report was “fake news”.
To say that Fauci is an expert is an understatement. The doctor has worked for six US presidents, from Ronald Reagan to Trump, and has vast experience in the health crises. He is considered a global eminence in the fight against AIDS and also played a big role in the SARS pandemic in 2002, in the swine flu in 2009 and in the Ebola outbreak in 2014. However, due to his disagreements with Trump, Fauci has been criticized by right-wing pundits and received death threats that resulted in the need for a security detail.
His first public crossings with Trump raised fears that the president, famous for fraying anyone who contradicts him, could end up firing him.
But Fauci, with a strong network of support between Republicans and Democrats after many years in Washington, ended up winning over the president.
“The president has listened to what I’ve said and to the other people who are on the task force have said,” Fauci said in the past. “When I’ve made recommendations, he has taken them. He has never countered, overwritten me. The idea of just pitting one against the other is not helpful
In early March, during a meeting in the White House, a journalist asked Trump when a vaccine against the new virus could be ready. Trump said he did not know, that he had heard “months.” A few seconds Fauci corrected him and said the vaccine could be ready in at least a year.
Last week, Trump promoted at a news conference a remedy for malaria, chloroquine, as a treatment against COVID-19. But that treatment has yet to complete clinical trials. A day after the conference Fauci dismissed the idea and claimed there was still missing evidence.
The coronavirus outbreak has led Fauci to have a growing presence in all major media outlets across the US, changing the way science is communicated. He explains things in a way that’s easy to understand for a wide audience, from Youtubers and podcasters to major news channels.