Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has stayed out of the spotlight in recent weeks as Congress, the White House, and state governments begin to lift COVID-19 safety measures.
Although Fauci had been one of the public faces of the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he hasn’t made an appearance on a network news channel since Feb. 18. A former spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Washington Examiner that this could be mostly attributed to the virus going into a new phase and other issues taking prominence at the moment.
"You reach a point in a pandemic when new developments aren't happening as frequently," University of Georgia communications professor Glen Nowak, a former CDC spokesman, told the Examiner. "We're at a point in this one where there clearly has been a lot of fatigue from many people. We have a conflict in Ukraine that is getting a lot of attention, and that's got to be the No. 1 priority right now for the administration."
President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last week was promoted by his chief of staff as the "most normal thing people have seen in Washington in a long time," after the House removed its mask mandate, and the White House is now holding its COVID-19 safety briefings in person instead of remotely.
"A lot of the recommendations that [public health experts] make, people, including experts, can disagree about," Nowak added.
"And you're not going to know with a great deal of foresight how well things will play out in the real world. You don't know how easily something can be implemented until you implement it. I'd imagine that whoever is in a visible position during the initial stages of a pandemic will get both lots of praise and lots of criticism."
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