Thanks, Dr. Fauci, for working to keep us all safe

It’s a wonder Anthony Fauci didn’t throw in the towel earlier. He’s been harassed by countless science deniers and had a boss — Donald Trump —who mocked wearing masks and suggested coronavirus patients be injected with disinfectants.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, waves hello to the committee at the start of a House Committee on Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing, about the budget request for the National Institutes of Health, May 11, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, waves to the committee at the start of a House hearing on the budget request for the National Institutes of Health, May 11.

AP

He has been trying to keep Americans safe and healthy for over half a century.

Many of us just didn’t know it. When crises like the HIV/AIDS epidemic and post-9/11 anthrax attacks instilled fear, who among the younger generation was aware that it was Dr. Anthony Fauci diligently helping the nation and advising the White House with his research and medical expertise?

Then 2 12 years ago, as Fauci was thrust into the spotlight, the entire public became privy to the grace, tact and intelligence of a doctor tasked with the overwhelming, thankless job of guiding the country during the midst of a deadly pandemic alongside a blowhard president who downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19.

The 81-year-old infectious disease expert announced earlier this week that he’d be stepping down from his federal duties in December. It’s a wonder Fauci didn’t throw in the towel earlier. He’s been harassed by countless science deniers and had a boss — Donald Trump —who mocked wearing masks and suggested coronavirus patients be injected with disinfectants.

Editorial

Editorial

But Fauci didn’t give up. He stuck to the facts and advised Americans to mask up and maintain their social distance at the height of the pandemic, and to get vaccinated when the shots became available. In the sea of dysfunction that characterized the Trump administration and its response to the pandemic, Fauci was among the few voices of reason.

Fauci’s responsibilities may haven gotten easier working for Joe Biden, but he continues to be a punching bag for those who still believe the coronavirus is a hoax. Earlier this month, a West Virginia man was sentenced to three years in prison for sending threatening letters to Fauci and another federal health official for talking about the virus and efforts to keep it from spreading.

The passionate distaste for Fauci, who runs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and serves as the chief medical adviser to the president, exemplifies that too many Americans are choosing ignorance.

Public trust in medical scientists and scientists has plummeted since 2020, according to the Pew Research Center. In November 2020, 40% of U.S. adults said they had a great deal of confidence in medical scientists to act in the best interests of the public; only 29% of Americans feel that way now.

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Fauci is well aware of this disturbing trend. During the commencement ceremony at Roger Williams University in May, he urged the graduates to fight the “normalization of untruths.”

Advising seven presidents was “the honor of a lifetime,” Fauci said in announcing his departure.

America owes Fauci a huge debt for his years of public service— and his determination to keep us all out of harm’s way.

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