Dr. Anthony Fauci reemerged from an apparent media hiatus only to hint that, with the COVID-19 pandemic numbers in decline, he might be retiring soon.
The 81-year-old chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden told ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast that he couldn’t stay in the job “forever” and with coronavirus waning and hospitalizations dropping, he might be stepping down soon.
“I have said that I would stay in what I’m doing until we get out of the pandemic phase and I think we might be there already if we can stay in this,” Fauci told ABC News’ Brad Mielke in a discussion on the decline in U.S. cases and hospitalizations.
“I can’t stay at this job forever. Unless my staff is gonna find me slumped over my desk one day. I’d rather not do that,” he added, with a laugh.
Fauci, who currently heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, has had over five decades serving as a public health expert and has worked under seven U.S. presidents.
Though he has not formally announced any retirement plans, he admitted he “certainly” has thought about it.
In discussing the pandemic, Fauci noted that there would likely be an increase in cases due to the BA.2 variant, but nothing like what was seen at the height of the pandemic.
“I would not be surprised if in the next few weeks we see somewhat of either a flattening of our diminution or maybe even an increase,” he said.
“Whether or not that is going to lead to another surge, a mini-surge or maybe even a moderate surge, is very unclear because there are a lot of other things that are going on right now,” Fauci added.
He admitted that, if needed, enforcing mandates and restrictions on Americans once again may prove to be a challenge.
“From what I know about human nature, which I think is pretty much a lot, people are kind of done with COVID,” he said.
Fauci’s hint at possible retirement comes on the heels of an announcement by Sen. Rand Paul that he will introduce an amendment eliminating Fauci’s NIAID position.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past two years, but one lesson in particular is that no one person should be deemed ‘dictator in chief.’ No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans,” the Kentucky Republican wrote in a Fox News op-ed earlier this week.
“To ensure that ineffective, unscientific lockdowns and mandates are never foisted on the American people ever again, I will introduce an amendment to eliminate Dr. Anthony Fauci’s position as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and divide his power into three separate new institutes,” he added.
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