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Dr. Anthony Fauci Wants Us to Know He’s Not Retiring

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When I recently had the chance to speak to the president's chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, about what’s being done to combat the MPV (monkeypox virus) outbreak that is raging through the gay community, I also let him know how sorry I was to hear that he was retiring.

Knowing his love for baseball, I framed a question to him around Willie Mays. One of the all-time Major League Baseball greats, Mays sort of petered out during the last two years of his 22-year career with the New York Mets. Rather than go out on top, Mays kind of faded. Baseball aficionados sometimes refer to this as “Willie Mays Syndrome.”

So, I asked Fauci, “Are you leaving now to go out on top and avoid the Willie Mays syndrome?” Fauci had a good laugh. “Retiring is an inappropriate description,” America’s doctor said. “What I was asked was if I would continue to serve in my role at the NIH [National Institutes of Health] if Donald Trump was elected president in 2025, or if a Republican was elected, or if Joe Biden won a second term. My answer was that I don’t anticipate working in the federal government past 2025.”

Fauci explained that sometime between now and January of 2025, he would retire from the federal government and pursue his research and work in a different venue. He cited continuing to work on what he’s working on now, public and global health, and his unwavering commitment to the fight against HIV.

 

This Spring Dr. Fauci told me that while there has been so much focus of his time on COVID-19 during the last two years that he wanted me to be sure to emphasize, in the strongest terms possible, that he has “not pulled back one bit, not in the least, on his enthusiasm, passion, and efforts toward HIV/AIDS.”

“This is very personal to me,” he said. “We still have challenges ahead, and we have not — or will not — give up, and I am going to remain 100 percent involved, fighting for more support for research, and continuing the fight to find a cure.” 

Fauci agreed that that his statement about staying in the fight still holds true, and he will not abandon his commitment. “When I think of retirement, I envision going off and playing golf or traveling across the country in a minivan,” he joked. “When I step down from the federal government, I will continue my work, particularly with diseases that affect the LGBTQ community. I’m not ending my work; I’m just reemerging somewhere else.”

Fauci said that there's been “absolutely no decisions made” made on whether he’ll take a research job in the private sector or an academic institution. So, those of us who revere Fauci and all the work he has done for the last 40 years of his career can rest assured he will keep fighting for us.”

Regarding his love of baseball, did that perhaps mean that Fauci might be able to spend more time watching America's past-time once he leaves the government? “Well, I'll still be going to the ballpark when I'm able. I’ll always do that; however, I haven't been going this year since we still have so much work to do right now with monkeypox, and that's my top priority." 

For the most up-to-date info on MPV (monkeypox virus) visit CDC.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox. You can also CLICK HERE to read all of Plus magazine's latest articles on this developing situation. 

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