Anthony Fauci will step down in December

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When Covid struck the U.S. in 2020, Fauci stepped into the national spotlight as the face of the government’s pandemic response. His public-facing role earned him worldwide notoriety, cast by many as a pandemic-era hero. But Fauci’s celebrity also earned him pariah status in some circles, especially among Republican lawmakers, Covid skeptics and opponents of public health measures intended to combat the virus.

Fauci has had an outsize, decadeslong impact on public health policy. The doctor joined the NIH in 1968 under then-President Lyndon Johnson, and in 1984, Fauci was tapped to lead the infectious disease branch as the AIDS epidemic rocked the country. He’s advised every president since Ronald Reagan.

It’s not yet clear what Fauci will do next, but he made clear with his announcement that he does not plan to retire. He said he hopes to use this next chapter to “inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders.”

“While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring. After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field,” he said.