Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser for the coronavirus pandemic, has tested positive for Covid-19 and is experiencing “mild symptoms,” the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Wednesday.
Dr. Fauci, the institute’s director, took a rapid antigen test in the morning, the statement said, adding that he is fully vaccinated against the virus and has been boosted twice. The statement said he has not recently been in close contact with President Biden or other senior government officials, and would “isolate and continue to work from his home.”
Dr. Fauci, who is 81, will return to his office once he tests negative, according to the statement.
Along with other top federal health officials, Dr. Fauci was expected to testify on Thursday before the Senate Health Committee on the state of the pandemic; it was not immediately clear whether he would still do so.
Dr. Fauci, one of the world’s foremost infectious disease specialists, has spent 50 years in government and has advised seven presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan, on epidemic and pandemic threats. He became a political lightning rod after publicly urging public health precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing.
Perhaps more than anyone, he knows how infectious the coronavirus is. Earlier this spring, he decided against attending the White House Correspondents Dinner — a gathering of prominent political and media figures that featured an appearance by the president — “because of my individual assessment of my personal risk,” he said then. At the time, Dr. Fauci was preparing for other public engagements, including at least one commencement speech.
The correspondents’ dinner, which drew more than 2,000 guests to a packed hotel ballroom, ended up spreading the virus among many journalists and other attendees.