Dr. Anthony Fauci was hit with questions about the origins of the coronavirus during his latest briefing as the country’s top infectious disease expert.
Fauci, 81, who retires next month as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), delivered his final message after 54 years of public service.
“My message – and my last message, perhaps the last message I will give you from this podium – is that for your own safety, for that of your family, you will get your updated Covid-19 shot as soon as you are eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community,” Fauci said Tuesday from the White House briefing room.
Fauci also advised Americans to get tested before gathering with relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“If we get together at a family gathering for Thanksgiving or before Christmas, or for some other holiday as we head into winter, it makes sense that you might want to take a test that day before you go to a place where you could be infected and either other people spread,” he said.
Following his post, Fauci was bombarded with politically charged questions from reporters about the coronavirus.
Daily Caller reporter Diana Glebova tried to ask Fauci what he has been doing to investigate the origin of the virus, but was cut off by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
“We have a process here. I don’t call on people who shout. And you are… disrespectful to your colleagues and you are disrespectful to our guest,’ Jean-Pierre said.
“I won’t come to your place if you yell, and you’re also taking time off because Dr. Fauci has to leave in a few minutes.”
Glebova spoke again, but Jean-Pierre said she was “done” and would not “go back and forth” with her.
Then journalist Simon Ateba of Today News Africa vouched for Glebova.
“You need to call people across the room,” Ateba said. “She has a valid question, she was asked about the origin of Covid.”
Jean-Pierre said to Ateba, “It’s not your turn.”
“I hear your question, but we’re not doing this the way you want it. This is disrespectful,” said Jean Pierre. Simon, I’m done. Simon, I’m done. I’m done with you now. You take time away from your colleagues.’
It marked the end of a lonely tenure for Fauci, who was a constant presence at briefings during the pandemic and often clashed with ex-President Donald Trump over response strategy.
Fauci announced in August that he would step down from his role as NIAID director and chief medical adviser to the White House in December.
Fauci said he “gave it all I had for decades.”
“I think what I’ve accomplished in my 54 years at the NIH and my 38 years as director of NIAID, although Covid is really, really important, it’s a fragment of the total 40 years I’ve been doing it,” Fauci said .
“I let other people judge the value of my performance or not, but what I want people to remember about what I’ve done is that I’ve given everything I’ve got every day all these years and I’ve never had anything on the field abandoned.’
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