As the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, mulls retirement, he has found it increasingly difficult to get Americans to heed his warnings about COVID-19 even as the BA.5 variant becomes more prevalent.

In an interview with Politico, Fauci explained the political divide amongst Americans and how they have become tired of the pandemic, a trend that the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases sees as worrisome.

“It's becoming more and more difficult to get people to listen, because even the people who are compliant want this behind them,” Fauci told Politico. “What I try to convince them [of], with my communication method, is we're not asking you to dramatically alter your lifestyle. We're not asking you to really interfere with what you do with your life. We're just asking you to consider some simple, doable mitigation methods.”

Fauci, who has been criticized by Republican leadership for the COVID response, said his health advice is backed by science and can’t be argued with.

“I don’t think they can say anything about the science,” he said. “If that’s what you want to investigate, be my guest. My telling somebody that it’s important to follow fundamental good public health practices … what are you going to investigate about that?”

Fauci, however, wants to leave a legacy as he announced that he will leave his position as the chief medical advisor for the White House by the end of President Biden’s term without giving an exact date for his departure.

“I don’t think there is anything else that I, Tony Fauci, can do except leave behind an institution where I have picked the best people in the country, if not the world, who will continue my vision,” he told the news outlet.

In the meantime, Fauci’s focus is on getting Americans to get their booster shot, especially as the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron spreads and can evade current vaccines and COVID infection immunity. BA.5 is estimated to account for 65% of U.S. COVID cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly forecast.

Fauci said during last week’s coronavirus response briefing that “Variants will continue to emerge if the virus circulates globally and in this county. We should not let it disrupt our lives, but we cannot deny that it is a reality that we need to deal with.”

According to the CDC, just 67.1% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 48.1% receiving their first booster shot.

Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has warned of 'a surge superimposed upon a surge' caused by millions travelling for the Thanksgiving holiday
Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has warned of 'a surge superimposed upon a surge' caused by millions travelling for the Thanksgiving holiday POOL / Graeme JENNINGS
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