Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was the face of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has announced that he will retire from his positions as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden in December.

“It’s never really a good time to leave, but you have to leave sometime,” Fauci said during an appearance on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show. “I have been wanting to pursue another chapter in my career, as you mentioned a bit ago because I’ve been wanting to do things outside of the government. Particularly, to do things, be they lecture or write or get involved in situations where I can serve as hope and inspiration to encourage young people to go into public service, particularly in the arena of science, medicine and public health.”

Fauci also revealed that he wanted to retire after the Trump administration but reconsidered after Biden asked him to be his chief medical adviser, assuming he would only be needed for one more year as most thought the pandemic would be over by then.

Before gaining nationwide fame for his work to educate the nation about COVID-19, Fauci served as a part of the National Institue of Health. He joined in 1968 but honed his expertise as a member of the infectious national disease branch during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

“Since things look like they’re starting to stabilize a bit, and I believe in the next few months we will do better than we’re doing now, I felt, again, I might as well do it now,” Fauci said before adding, “because I want to make sure that when I do leave, I still have the energy and the passion, and the health, to do the kind of things that I want to do.”

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