Dr. Anthony Fauci has been the only cog in the Trump administration capable enough to take care of Donald Trump’s absurd claims regarding Coronavirus. Back in March when the virus was still relatively unknown and most countries had started closing off their boundaries and enforcing social distancing, the POTUS was relatively unperturbed. He had just staved off a massive unemployment rate and was already reeling from stock market crashes. He simply didn’t want to believe that a virus that was supposedly created in China could ever do much harm to the world’s largest superpower. So when Fauci spoke to the government and proclaimed to the national media that it was time when people stopped flaunting rules and started following protocol as set by the WHO, Trump confidently announced that Easter would be a gala time for the nation and the world, who would see its strength in unity. Sadly, it just resulted in one of the biggest superpowers in the world contracting the virus and never really recovering.
Ever since that fateful announcement, Anthony Fauci has had dual roles to play. Not only is he the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has been for close to four decades, but he is also the lone voice in the Congress who keeps shutting down Trump’s delusional claims- be it hydroxychloroquine being a wonder drug that would work with both malaria and COVID-19, or that vaccines would take some time and are not popsicles sold at the county fair. Dr. Anthony Fauci is the expert of anything viral or infectious; sure, he might not be a good pitcher by MLB standards, but he knows his diseases. He has been a part of the NIAID through six Presidents, and countless viruses- be it Ziks, SARS, HIV-AIDS, Swine Flu, or Avian Influenza. With a President like Donald Trump who is more equipped at blaming the Governors for coronavirus, or who is more attuned towards denying the government’s failure at supplying enough COVID-19 test kits, how does Anthony Fauci deal with issues? According to him, this is simply business, and there is no reason to take it personally. When politicians try to meddle into things that are wildly out of their strata of expertise, one can’t chide them- you need to explain it to them politely and hope they don’t scrape you out of the project.
If Donald Trump were to throw Dr. Fauci out of this project, may Lord have mercy on the country.
Anthony Fauci’s political ideologies are perfectly sorted- for him to work with diversified Presidents like Reagan, Bush, Obama, and Trump, he has to keep his ideologies aside. Considering he is a doctor, he doesn’t have the luxury of putting forth his political views, for that would simply alienate him from the crowd that is backing him on any project. He is a doctor, a physician, and a scientist- and he has to do his job. But when he was asked how he maintained his cool while surrounded by people who would love nothing better than to discredit his theories, he mentioned that the best thing to do would be to be completely apathetic. His job as a scientist would be to state truths and back them up with facts. If he tried to please someone, he would never be recalled. And as Trump administration is witnessing, they need Dr. Anthony Fauci to get their country out of this mess.
With Fauci being the most trusted person in America right now, the question stands- how will Trump fare, being under the banner of someone who is massively respected and loved throughout the country- when compared to his own plummeting stature? For as records show, Trump has had this ‘problem’ where he would routinely fire people whose statements contradicted him. Be it his foreign policies at the Paris Accord, or his trade negotiations with China, he has had the opportunity to fire people at will. With the entire country resting on Fauci’s ideas, any chink in the armor can potentially spell disaster. But Dr. Fauci has repeatedly assured that Trump listens to him when he says something. And this should testify to the fact that this veteran doctor is a firm believer in pragmatism. Interestingly, the very duo of Trump and Fauci might strike odd to anyone who has known both of them. While there are several similarities, with them both being 70 years of age, and from the New York suburbs, the differences are massively staggering. Anthony Fauci is a man of incredible discipline, who still puts in eighteen hours of work daily. For years on end, he has had lunchtime runs which have been cut short to power-walking, owing to quarantine. This doctor and America’s most trusted man knows in the power of words and believes in stating facts rather than placing emotions on a pedestal.
Anthony Fauci’s legend goes well beyond his own employees. Micro-biologists and Nobel Laureates believe that Fauci is the principal reason that politicians still listen to medical diagnostics to pandemics and deadly viruses. With his ability to state without coming off as cold or uncaring, and yet placing facts to establish the truth, he not only has the respect of politicians but also Presidents, who have all relied heavily on him for advice. This doesn’t in any way mean that he hasn’t had his run-ins with politics before. For someone who doesn’t believe in compromises, for science doesn’t allow that, he gets extremely frustrated when a health bill is bagged with a bogus bill simply to appease a section of the Congress. In his many dealings with politicians, his ideals have always been the same- to not let Politicians drag him down with their own ignorance. And as the decades have gone by, Fauci is one of the most respected individuals in the American health sector- one who has had several meetings with Presidents, Prime Ministers, Senators, Celebrities over the course of the last four decades. When someone as polarising as George Bush considers you as their hero, you must have done something really commendable (this was around the time when Fauci was dealing with HIV-AIDS).
In 2020, Fauci is well-known throughout the world. He has been a champion in America’s fight against coronavirus, and the current population has not shirked from giving credit where it is due. He has bumper stickers with the phrase ‘In Fauci We Trust’, and several other memorabilia. He has also had several Facebook groups named after him, and People magazine was somewhat accosted by Americans petitioning that Fauci be declared the ‘sexiest man alive”. But on the other end of the spectrum, he is also considered to be a soft liberal by the Right Wing media. According to conservative Internet shows, Fauci is all about exaggerations and turning the virus into something much worse than it is. Times magazine recently reported that there were several thousand troll accounts on Twitter that kept spreading the hate about Anthony Fauci- to such an extent that he has also been receiving death threats. But as the cool doctor believes, he is simply doing his job. Interestingly, way back in 2017, Fauci had given a keynote address at a conference where he took up the question of pandemics- his biggest question was ‘What if there is a pandemic that hasn’t surfaced yet but will in the upcoming years?’ He asked everyone present if they knew how to deal with it, or did the country have the resources to deal with it in a way that would leave a huge majority of the population without any major disability. Coronavirus might have been a surprise to America, but it certainly wasn’t to him. His words were ominous- History repeats itself. If it has happened once, it will happen again.
Who Is Anthony Fauci?
An alumnus of Cornell Medical College, Fauci joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) all the way back in 1968. And once he reached the position of director in 1984, he slowly started receiving the recognition he so deserves. Previously, he was extremely popular for his work on HIV-AIDS, where his research brought out many effective drugs to the market reducing the mortality of the virus. Since then, he has had roles to play in combatting several other deadly viruses like Ebola, SARS, and others.
Early Life Of Anthony Fauci
Anthony Fauci lived in an apartment in New York where his family managed a pharmacy below. His earliest memories of the pharmacy would involve watching people come from Mass to get the medicines that they needed along with him making deliveries when asked. His entire family managed it- his dad prescribing the medicines, his mother taking care of the register, and his sisters managing in some or the other way. Interestingly, while he described his father as totally laid-back, his fellow students mentioned that Anthony was exceedingly focused. Not only was he driven towards a particular goal- in his case he had to it better and faster than everyone else. From a very young age, he showed signs of being a leader. And when the world’s worst pandemic hit, his leadership skills came to the fore to protect a country from being destroyed by an inefficient government. Whilst reminiscing about his education at Regis- a Jesuit private school, he spoke about how the school prepared him to infuse his statements with facts and evidence, rather than simply arguing to save face. He also found himself trained in the art of speaking to the point, without going on a different course altogether.
Whilst studying at Cornell, the US-Vietnam War was slowly covering ground. According to the laws implemented, every medical student had to participate in the war in one of the groups- be it the army, navy, air force, or the Marines. Here, Fauci had to take a chance- while he so wanted to work for the National Institute for Health- one of the leading institutes in the country, he also had to sign up for the Navy. Fortunately, he never had to partake in the war and spent five decades of his career at the country’s finest institute. In 1972, Fauci went from NIH to the NIAID where he first accepted the position of a senior researcher, and then the Director in just over a decade. His beliefs were set in stone, and he wanted a challenge- any infectious virus that would kill people, and the only way to stop it was if Fauci personally took up the case- that would be the way he would serve the country. And thirty years on the trot, he has been doing exactly that. Back when he was in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation as a senior investigator, he created ripples in the field of immunoregulation and created drug regiments that would be successful against lymphomatoid granulomatosis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and polyarteritis nodosa. He became the director under the Presidency of Reagan.
In his meteoric rise as the country’s top medical advisor, he had lobbied successfully for increased fundings for AIDS research, whilst also being a part of several activist groups- which allowed him to forge alliances giving him access to several experimental drugs that were still not regulated by the FDA. Most importantly, his research displayed how the Human Immunovirus steadily harmed the immune system of the body, leading to the introduction of drugs that helped steady the defense system and allow the body to survive for quite some time. Even after the formation of the Office of AIDS Research in ’94, he was still a very important figure against AIDS and was one of the integral members of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
The true genius of Anthony Fauci presents itself when we compare his keynote address back in 2017, to Trump’s declaration in March. When the POTUS stated that he had no idea that a pandemic could occur in this day and age, and that there never had been any pandemic of such magnitude- it simply highlighted his own ignorance. For anyone with an internet connection would know that pandemics have been as old as civilization itself- and they have had the power to change the course of history. The Black Death, for instance, killed half of the population of Europe in the 1600s. And if the world’s most powerful person declared his lack of knowledge, it is left to the other individuals to salvage their country from crisis. It is undeniable that with the advancement of medicine and technology, most doctors would be of the opinion that any pandemic that might crop up would be dealt with extreme prejudice- but that doesn’t mean that a medical professional would absolutely discard the notion that a medical anomaly can occur at any point of time. Polio has been cured, and so has smallpox. Most countries offer vaccinations against most diseases, and the rise of pandemics is extremely limited to a topological region. In that spirit of things, it was in 1972 when Macfarlane wrote that the future of pandemics or infectious diseases would be extremely dull and without any spike. Well, looks like someone took grave offense to that.
Awards and Honors Received By Anthony Fauci
For an extremely distinguished career in the medical field, Anthony Fauci has received quite a number of awards. From the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service to the National Medal of Science- he has won it all. Apart from these, he is also an honorary doctorate in several universities strewn across the globe, whilst also being a part of several associations like the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
What Creates a Pandemic?
After experiencing a relatively dull period in the field of infectious diseases, the world is really coming to terms with the most deadly virus in recent history- coronavirus. In just half a year, the entire world has been brought to its knees, with billions clamoring the safety of their houses. While there might be another pandemic in the next decade, or the next century- no one, not even Anthony Fauci would guarantee that nothing would really happen. For any virus to be termed as deadly, and which might generate widespread panic, three clauses have to be met- the virus has to come out through animals (whilst being entirely new), for this would ensure a lack of immunity. Second, the virus absolutely must make humans sick. And finally, it should be communicable by normal routine actions like sneezing, touching, or coughing. Coronavirus ticks all three boxes. In this scenario, what is the world’s government to do? Either they have to spend billions in trying to create a vaccine, or they have to wait until the tide is over. And in most cases, the second one is always more fatal.
Joshua Lederberg had provided the most appropriate way to describe the time we live in. This Nobel Laureate mentioned that the entire human generation lives in times where they are in a constant state of conflict with viruses and bacteria. And there is no possible way to derive who’s winning- or if we are winning at all. Catastrophes may come up, and we would never have an answer to that.
Since the turn of the millennium, Anthony Fauci has argued for a basic set of vaccines to be created based on the information that is available now. The best way to deal with any upcoming virus, or infection, Fauci believes, is to create platform vaccines that would not only hit the particular virus, but also aim itself at the entire strain. While it may not the ultimate solution to that virus, it will buy researchers valuable time to develop a vaccine that would simply eradicate it. “We keep trying to develop a vaccine for one thing—usually the last one—and it’s a waste of time,” he said. “Every time we get hit, it is always something we didn’t expect. So, instead of predetermining what it is you’re going to prepare for, make universal platforms.”
And this process isn’t something wildly impossible- scientists have the means to do this. All one needs is synthetic DNA, and gene-sequence information and a biologist with proper technology would be able to build a makeshift vaccine in a matter of weeks. Fauci believes that scientists simply need to create a chassis for the vaccine, and put it right on the shelf. In the event of a pandemic, all they need to do is put out the protein from the gene they want to express, and create as many vaccines as they want.
The main issue- money. All these ideas are conceivable but they would require an immense amount of money- something politicians and governments are unwilling to part with. Although Donald Trump’s government has been quite upfront with fundings to vaccine companies like Glaxo, the delay can be fatal. But we can hope that the case would be similar to the AIDS outbreak, where the government’s hand was forced to pay up. And now, as the casualty rate of COVID-19 keeps increasing exponentially, one can hope that the governments start listening to people like Anthony Fauci and take precautions.
One can almost get fooled with the calm serenity on Anthony Fauci’s face as he gets holed up between Trump and the American public. But in his own records, he is not as optimistic. He believes the worst can happen, and it is his job to prevent it from happening.