Covid vaccine news: live updates

Covid vaccine news: live updates

dr Anthony Fauci has not been in close contact with President Biden or other senior government officials recently, the institute he heads said in a statement. Credit… Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

WASHINGTON – Maybe it was just a matter of time.

dr Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic, has tested positive for the virus and has “mild symptoms,” the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Wednesday.

dr Fauci, the institute’s director, tested positive on a rapid antigen test, the agency said in a statement. It added that he had been fully vaccinated against the virus and boosted twice. He is taking Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral therapy that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat Covid-19, an agency spokeswoman said.

The news that Dr. Fauci, one of the world’s leading infectious disease specialists and a household name thanks to the pandemic, has been echoed across Washington and across the country. The positive test was the first for Dr. Fauci, who is 81 years old.

But with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that more than half of Americans have contracted Covid-19, he’s hardly the only notable sufferer. Xavier Becerra, the Minister for Health and Human Services, tested positive for the second time in less than a month on Monday. 83-year-old MP Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, announced on Tuesday that she had tested positive; she had also done so in April.

dr Fauci has not been in close contact with Mr. Biden or other senior government officials recently and will “isolate and continue to work from home,” his institute’s statement said. He will return to his office once he tests negative.

But he had made public appearances. The AIDS Clinical Trials Group — a network of hundreds of researchers conducting trials to improve treatment for HIV and related infections — is meeting in Washington this week, and Dr. Fauci, whose lab work focuses on HIV/AIDS, addressed the Person group on Tuesday.

Along with other senior federal health officials, Dr. Fauci to testify Thursday before the Senate Health Committee on the status of the pandemic. An official said that the institute of Dr. Fauci was working with members of the committee to arrange a remote appearance.

While much of the nation appears to be trying to move on, the coronavirus remains an ever-present threat. More than 100,000 new cases are still being identified each day in the United States, according to a New York Times database — a number that was roughly flat in June. Many experts believe the number is too low because so many people are taking tests at home, the results of which are not recorded by health authorities.

While cases are declining in the Northeast and Midwest, cases and hospitalizations are increasing in the West and South. However, reports of fatalities remain low. Fewer than 350 deaths are reported each day, the Times database shows, down from more than 2,600 a day at the peak of the Omicron surge.

dr Fauci has spent half a century in administration advising seven presidents, beginning with Ronald Reagan, on epidemic and pandemic threats.

But the corona pandemic made him a political lightning rod. His public push for health precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing made him a frequent target of critics who questioned or opposed such measures.

Perhaps more than anyone else, he knows how contagious the coronavirus is. That spring, he decided not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner — a gathering of prominent political and news media figures at which the President appeared — “due to my individual assessment of my personal risk,” he said at the time. At that time Dr. Fauci is preparing for other public engagements, including inaugural speeches at Princeton and the University of Michigan.

The Correspondents’ Dinner, which drew more than 2,000 guests to a packed hotel ballroom, spread the virus among many journalists and other attendees.

“Honestly, it’s a matter of time before we all get infected. This virus has become so transmissible,” said Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University, on Wednesday. “What I’m telling people is that eventually you’re going to run into this virus because we’re doing more things and we’re coming together. And if you do encounter the virus, you had better get vaccinated and get a booster.”