Covid Update: Fauci has first positive test for Coronavirus

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

WASHINGTON – Maybe it’s just a matter of time.

Dr. Anthony S. FauciPresident Biden’s top medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic has tested positive for the virus and is showing “mild symptoms,” the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Wednesday. .

Dr. Fauci, director of the institute, positive for rapid antigen test, organ said in a statement. It added that he was fully vaccinated against the virus and had been boosted twice. An agency spokesman said he was taking Paxlovid, the Pfizer antiviral therapy approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat Covid-19.

The news that Dr. Fauci, one of the world’s leading infectious disease experts and famous for his pandemic, has fallen victim to the coronavirus has reverberated across Washington and across the country. The positive test result is the first for Dr. Fauci, 81.

But with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that more than half of all Americans have contracted Covid-19, he is unlikely to be the only one with the big-name illness. Xavier Becerra, secretary of health and human services, tested positive for the second time in less than a month on Monday. Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, 83, announced Tuesday that she has tested positive; she did the same in April.

Dr. Fauci has not recently been in close contact with Mr. Biden or other senior government officials and will “quarantine and continue to work from his home,” a statement from his institute said. He will return to his office once the test results are negative.

But he did appear in public. The AIDS Clinical Trials Group – a network of hundreds of researchers doing research to improve the treatment of HIV and related infections – will meet in Washington this week and Dr. Fauci, who has lab work focused on HIV/AIDS, settled for the human group on Tuesday.

Along with other top federal health officials, Fauci is scheduled to testify on Thursday before the Senate health committee on the state of the pandemic. An official said that Dr. Fauci’s institute was working with committee staff to arrange a televised appearance.

While much of the country seems to be trying to move on, the coronavirus remains a pervasive threat. Based on New York Times database, more than 100,000 new cases are still being identified each day in the United States – a number that has remained largely unchanged throughout June. Many experts believe the number is a low number because a lot of people are doing tests at home whose results are not recorded with public health authorities.

While cases are declining in the Northeast and Midwest, cases and hospitalizations are increasing in the West and South. However, reports of the death toll remain low. The Times database shows that 350 fewer deaths are reported per day, down from more than 2,600 per day at the height of the Omicron surge.

Dr. Fauci has spent half a century in government and has advised seven presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan, on the threats of disease and pandemic.

But the coronavirus pandemic turned him into a political lightning rod. His public urges for health precautions such as mask wearing and social distancing make him a frequent target of critics, who question or oppose measures such as so.

Perhaps more than anyone, he knows how contagious the coronavirus is. This spring, he decided not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – a gathering of prominent political and media figures that featured the president – “because of personal judgment.” me on my personal risk,” he said then. At the time, Dr. Fauci was preparing for other public talks, including opening speeches at Princeton and the University of Michigan.

The reporters’ dinner, which drew more than 2,000 guests to a ballroom filled with the hotel, is over spread the virus among many journalists and other attendees.

“Honestly, it’s a matter of time before we all get infected; Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University, said Wednesday. “What I’m telling people is that at some point you’re going to have this virus, because we’re doing more and working together. And if you are going to encounter the virus, you better get vaccinated and strengthen your health. “

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