Dec 4, 2020 - Health

Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot"

The government's top infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci said Friday that he "absolutely" will accept the offer from President-elect Joe Biden to serve as his chief medical adviser, telling NBC's "Today" that he said yes "right on the spot."

Why it matters: President Trump had a contentious relationship with Fauci, who has been forced during the pandemic to correct many of the president's false claims about the coronavirus. Biden, meanwhile, has emphasized the importance of "listening to the scientists" throughout his campaign and transition.

Between the lines: Biden's decision to praise and hire Fauci not only continues the contrast he is trying to create with President Trump, who has talked about firing the doctor, but also shows the calibrated media exposure the president-elect and his team are using to control their message and instill public calm.

The big picture: Biden said in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday night that on Inauguration Day he will ask Americans to wear a mask for 100 days, "not forever," as a patriotic duty to help curb the spread of the virus until a vaccine is widely available.

  • Fauci said that he spoke to Biden about that suggestion and told him it was a good idea, but clarified that mask-wearing may still be needed after the 100 days.
  • On the vaccine front, Fauci told NBC: "As we get into January and February and March, more and more people will be able to get vaccinated. So now is the time to hang in there and not give up."

Go deeper: More highlights from Biden's interview with Tapper

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