dr. Anthony Fauci grinned as he shared how the pandemic has made him an international celebrity in a recent interview.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” the White House COVID-19 czar, 81, looked pleased with himself and recalled how he hadn’t had to introduce himself since his first appearance at a White House COVID-19 briefing in February 2020.
The interview also revealed that Fauci has a pillow with his own face on it and a quote credited to himself: “It is what it is.” – on an armchair in his living room.
ABC didn’t share a glimpse of said pillow — but it’s on sale online for $40. Fauci wasn’t asked if he bought the pillow himself, or if it was a gift.
The interview comes as Fauci’s 54 years at the National Institutes of Health will come to an end at the end of this year, when he will step down from his position as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
dr. Anthony Fauci grinned as he shared how the pandemic made him an international celebrity in a recent interview with ABC
The interview revealed that Fauci has a pillow with his own face and a quote credited to an armchair in his living room, similar to the one in the photo
Fauci sat in his living room with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who recalled Fauci’s first time stepping onstage at a COVID briefing.
“I vividly remember your very first appearance in the White House briefing room in one of the COVID briefings, where a reporter yelled out, interrupted, and asked you to say your name,” Karl said. “I suspect this was the last time you were asked to identify yourself.”
“Yes, I think so, in fact a lot has happened since then, it’s been an amazing journey that we’ve all been on, and we’re still on it,” Fauci replied with a mocking smile.
Karl asked Fauci what it was like to become an icon.
‘You became an icon. It was quite wild to watch,’ Karl said. “There were Fauci bobbleheads. People had Fauci shirts that said ‘In Fauci We Trust’. You became someone the whole country turned to. How was that?’
“I was quite well known among my colleagues in science, but certainly not to the extent that it is now,” Fauci said. “You know, I actually think both extremes, Jon, are aberrations of a reflection of the divisions in our country.”
Speaking on ‘This Week’, 81-year-old Fauci recalled how he hasn’t had to introduce himself since his first COVID briefing at the White House
Fauci will retire at the end of this year after 54 years at the National Institutes of Health
Fauci went on to explain that while many in the United States disagreed, he still considered the entire country his “patient.”
“I consider the country my patient in many ways,” he said. “And if you — if you’re a really good doctor, you worry and worry about every element of your patient.”
“Including how your patient will react to something you said?” said Karel.
“Exactly,” said Fauci. ‘Precisely. And even if the patient is someone who is not the most attractive person in the world in terms of personality, you should still treat him as you would treat anyone else. We learned that in medical school.’
Fauci speaks at a White House COVID-19 briefing on Feb. 29, 2020, one of his first appearances during the pandemic
Fauci holds his head as he stands behind President Trump at a COVID-19 briefing in March 2020
During the interview, Fauci also doubled down on his mask mandate recommendations, saying he wishes he could retract comments he made early in the pandemic that masks were not necessary.
“Will you take back what you said about masks?” asked Karel later.
“Yes,” Fauci said. “I mean, sure, if I had to do it again. Naturally. Again, if I tell you why we did it, that would be interpreted as an excuse, and I don’t want to go there, because that will only create resistance. If I had to do it again, I would have analyzed it a little better.’
Fauci agreed that school closures were a bad idea, but insisted they had nothing to do with him. Individual states were able to dictate how schools should reopen.
The veteran health expert admitted he was wrong to put on masks after telling Americans at the start of the crisis that they were not necessary.
Fauci later became a big believer in face coverings, claiming that he initially only advised against keeping supplies for doctors when they were in short supply.
When asked how he hopes to be remembered, Fauci said he wanted to be remembered as someone who gave everything.
“I want to be remembered as someone who gave everything for the public health of the American public and indirectly for the rest of the world because we are such a leader in science and public health,” he said. “I mean, I just want people to know that I gave everything I had and left nothing on the pitch. I was all there.’