Can someone please let Anthony Fauci have a day off?
Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, is the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor on COVID-19. Biden even name-dropped the 80-year-old scientist during his address to the nation Thursday night, imploring Americans to “listen to Dr. Fauci.”
He’s also America’s favorite television guest.
More than anyone else in the government, Fauci has been the face of the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, even when his science-based analysis was briefly silenced and shunned by former President Donald Trump.
Under Biden, not a day goes by without Fauci making multiple television appearances. On Thursday alone, Fauci appeared for an interview on the Today show in the morning, spent time discussing sports on ESPN’s First Take, explained the CDC’s new guidance for vaccinated Americans on The CBS Evening News, and stayed up late to speak to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
That was Fauci’s 13th appearance on MSNBC since Biden became president, according to a spokesperson. He’s also appeared as a guest on NBC News programs like Meet the Press and the Today show 11 times. ABC, CNN, C-SPAN — wherever Fauci shows up, it’s always touted as an exclusive, with his comments often written up and widely disseminated by reporters across the country.
The thing about these appearances is he’s largely saying the same thing: COVID-19 vaccines are safe, we shouldn’t let down our guard yet, and the best way to stay safe is to continue wearing masks and social distancing. Sadly, the repetition is necessary, since polling still shows a large (but decreasing) number of Americans remain hesitant about receiving a Coronavirus vaccine shot.
TV appearances are just part of Fauci’s 18-hour workday, which include advising Biden on the COVID-19 pandemic, visiting patients at the NIH’s Clinical Center, Zoom meetings with his staff and the White House, and calls with mayors and governors.
“I don’t socialize,” Fauci told the Huffington Post. “It’s my wife and I and the federal agents,” which are necessary because of the death threats he and his family continue to receive, thanks to attacks and partisan criticism from right-wing news outlets and Fox News opinion hosts.
“So they drive me to work, they stay here, they make sure that nobody tries to break in and, as Steve Bannon would like, have somebody behead me,” Fauci added.
More coronavirus cartoons
Here are some coronavirus cartoons I’ve drawn over the course of the pandemic. For more editorial cartoons, visit inquirer.com/opinion/cartoons/.