Dr Anthony Fauci officially stood down from his government roles today after four decades spearheading America’s response to infectious disease threats.
He became one of the most-cited scientists on the planet for his work on HIV and other infections – before becoming the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 1984.
But Dr Fauci was not a name known to most Americans until 2020 when he became the face of the US’ Covid pandemic response. The 81-year-old was initially a revered figure — seen as a safe pair of hands in the face of a new, unknown pathogen and dubbed ‘America’s doctor’.
But his credibility has come under intense scrutiny in the two years since Covid struck after he exaggerated the effectiveness of vaccines to boost uptake, flip-flopped on face masks and pushed for lockdowns.
In March 2020, when concern was rising globally over Covid, Fauci told Americans that there was ‘no need’ to wear a face mask. He insisted at the time that they may only help people ‘feel a little better’, and ‘might even block a droplet’ — but would not provide good protection.
Less than a month later, however, he urged all Americans to wear them and became an overnight face mask zealot, pushing for mandatory face coverings for children as young as two.
He later admitted the reason the public were recommended not to wear masks initially was to save them for healthcare workers.
Dr Fauci also exaggerated vaccine effectiveness against Covid infection — saying there was little chance those who are double-jabbed would catch Covid.
He told MSNBC in June 2021: ‘It’s as simple as black and white. You’re vaccinated, you’re safe. You’re unvaccinated, you’re at risk. Simple as that.’
Meanwhile, Dr Fauci quashed discussion about Covid’s origin and virus-tinkering experiments at the Wuhan facility at the center of the lab leak theory – even though privately he expressed concern the virus was unleashed in an experiment-gone-wrong.
Read More: Fauci’s fall from grace: how the Covid doctor lost the nation’s trust