Dr. Fauci Just Broke His Silence About His COVID Recovery
The country's top virus expert is opening up about his experience with the coronavirus.
From former President Barack Obama to comedian talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, the coronavirus has hit many high-profile people over the past two years. So far, there have been more than 86 million COVID cases officially reported in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the impact is believed to be even more widespread than this, with the agency estimating that more than 186 million Americans have been infected by COVID as of Feb. 2022. The illness has even managed to reach one of the country's top virus experts, who just tested positive recently. Now that he's recovered, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, is breaking his his silence on his experience. Read on to find out what the expert had to say about being infected with the coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci recently tested positive for COVID.
Fauci, who has often been referred to as "the face of the pandemic," recently tested positive for COVID for the first time ever. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed his diagnosis in a June 15 press release, as Fauci serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the NIH. According to the announcement, Fauci began isolating at his home last week after testing positive on a rapid antigen test. "He is fully vaccinated and has been boosted twice," the NIH confirmed at the time.
He just broke his silence on his experience and recovery.
As President Joe Biden's top medical adviser for the COVID pandemic, Fauci has often spoken out about the virus and the country's response to it. But over the past week, the infectious disease expert remained quiet, except for a virtual appearance on June 16 to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions. During a White House COVID press briefing on June 23, however, Fauci finally broke his silence regarding his illness.
"I'm feeling really fine," he said when asked by a New York Times reporter about his experience with COVID, and his recovery. "I had some mild symptoms last Tuesday. I checked my antigen test on Wednesday. It was positive. I had one day of symptomatology."
Fauci took Paxlovid during his COVID recovery.
During the briefing, Fauci confirmed that he had used an antiviral COVID treatment during his recovery. "I started on Wednesday on Paxlovid," he said. Paxlovid is an oral antiviral pill that was developed by Pfizer and was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Dec. 2021 for use in anyone age 12 or older who is at high risk for severe disease.
According to Yale Medicine, this COVID treatment can be taken at home to help keep high-risk patients from getting so sick that they need to go to the hospital. "I was on Paxlovid for five days, and I have now finished Paxlovid," Fauci said during the briefing, adding that he is "still feeling really quite fine" four days after finishing his Paxlovid treatment.
It is notable that Fauci is still feeling fine following his treatment, because there have been recent concerns about a rising number of people experiencing rebound COVID cases following the completion of a five-day course of Paxlovid. In May, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, confirmed that "if you take Paxlovid, you might get symptoms again," emphasizing that the benefits of the treatment far outweigh this risk.
He also said his COVID case was an "example" for Americans.
Despite catching the virus, Fauci told reporters that he sees his COVID case and recovery as an "example" for Americans.
"I think I'm an example, given my age, of what we're all talking about today. I'm vaccinated. I'm doubly boosted," Fauci, who is 81, said. "And I believe if that were not the case, I very likely would not be talking to you looking as well as I look, I think, right now."
Fauci also spoke about the recent FDA decision to expand COVID vaccine eligibility to children under age five during the briefing—confirming that he believes those in this young age group should also be vaccinated to protect against the consequences of COVID infection.
"The bottom line of all of this is that the FDA evaluation and analysis of the safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing data were very rigorously and comprehensively looked at to support the EUA. The known and potential benefits clearly outweigh the known and potential risks in this pediatric population," he said. "We are all very enthusiastic about getting your children vaccinated with these now available products."