THURSDAY, June 16, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, has tested positive for COVID-19, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced Wednesday.
The 81-year-old director of NIAID tested positive on a rapid antigen test and has mild symptoms, the agency said in a statement. It said he is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots.
Fauci will isolate and continue to work from home until he tests negative. He has not been in close contact with President Joe Biden or other senior government officials, the NIAID said.
This is the first time Fauci has tested positive, The New York Times reported.
Fauci has spent 50 years in government, advising seven presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan, on epidemic and pandemic threats. But during the coronavirus pandemic, Fauci’s public urging of mask-wearing and social distancing has made him a frequent target of critics who questioned or opposed such measures.
Fauci and other leading federal health officials were scheduled to appear Thursday before the Senate Health Committee to outline the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts are being made for Fauci to testify remotely, an official told theTimes.
More than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases are being reported each day in the United States, a Times database shows, but the actual number is likely higher because at-home rapid test results aren’t tallied by any government agency, experts added.
Case numbers are falling in the Northeast and Midwest, but cases and hospitalizations are rising in the West and South. Still, theTimes database shows fewer than 350 deaths being reported each day, far below the more than 2,600 a day at the peak of the Omicron surge.
Visit Johns Hopkins for more on breakthrough COVID infections.
SOURCE: National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, news release, June 15, 2022; The New York Times