For seven presidential administrations spanning more than 40 years, Brooklyn native Dr. Anthony Fauci has worked to get the country through one health crisis after another, and he doesn’t get the appreciation from the public that he deserves.
When they write the epithet on his career, Dr. Fauci — who announced on Monday that he’ll be stepping down as President Biden’s chief medical adviser this December — will likely be remembered for his efforts to help the nation tackle the COVID-19 pandemic from its darkest moments in the spring of 2020.
Yet from the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci’s name has been wrongly smeared by conspiracy theorists, right-wing propagandists on cable news, those who parrot the propagandists’ talking points, and MAGA Republican elected officials — many of whom continue to deny the facts about the health crisis to this very day.
Their behavior, disgusting as it is, falsely cast this good and decent public servant and renowned epidemiologist as some sort of monstrous participant in an insane, fantastical conspiracy to sicken the population and shut society down for political gain. Have they no decency, at long last?
Had they done an iota of genuine research on this man, they’d know that Dr. Fauci was instrumental in helping the United States tackle the AIDS crisis. Then-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush, in the 1988 campaign, specifically lauded the doctor’s research efforts in a debate — efforts which helped lead to the discovery of treatments that saved millions of lives.
When later presidents sought counsel in the face of burgeoning health crises — such as the swine flu, Ebola and Zika outbreaks — they turned to Dr. Fauci for help in containing the outbreak and steering the country away from disaster.
COVID-19 proved to be so dangerously potent and contagious that it could not be contained. Dr. Fauci offered the best advice he could, based on the best available information at the time, to the American people on how to stay healthy — but the public smearing of his name by those who wanted to make COVID political (and succeeded) caused countless Americans to live in denial and rage, leading too many to endure horrific suffering and death.
Yet Dr. Fauci also played a significant role in helping with the miraculous development of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine that proved effective at reducing the virus’ potency, saving millions of lives and getting the country (and world) back on the road to normalcy.
The nation owes a great debt — and his detractors owe a great apology — to Dr. Fauci, the Brooklyn native who got the job done when America needed him most.