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Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

More than 100 leading scientists and medical professionals have signed a letter defending NIAID director Anthony Fauci, calling Republican criticisms of him inaccurate and "motivated by partisan politics."

Why it matters: The letter comes days after Fauci, in a fiery exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said that the Kentucky senator's repeated attacks on him have led to "threats upon my life, harassment of my family and my children."

  • Among those who signed the letter supporting Fauci are former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and three Nobel Laureates.
  • The letter said that misinformation undermines the United States' response to the pandemic, adding that "routine public health measures have become unnecessarily controversial."

What they're saying: "We deplore the personal attacks on Dr. Fauci," the letter read. "The criticism is inaccurate, unscientific, ill-founded in the facts and, increasingly, motivated by partisan politics."

  • "It is a distraction from what should be the national focus – working together to finally overcome a pandemic that is killing about 500,000 people a year."
  • "We are grateful for Dr. Fauci’s dedication and tireless efforts to help the country through this pandemic and other health crises," it continued.

Go deeper

Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks has dropped plans to require that U.S. workers get the COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing, the company announced Tuesday in a memo to employees.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

3 hours ago - World

Netanyahu plea talks enter crunch time

Netanyahu (right) meets with his lawyer ahead of a court hearing last February. Photo: Reuven Casto/Pool/AFP via Getty

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's opposition leader and former prime minister, is negotiating a possible plea deal over the corruption charges against him, but Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit appears to be toughening his terms.

Why it matters: Mandelblit leaves office on Jan. 31. Negotiations could continue beyond that point, but the next attorney general may be less interested in quickly reaching a deal.

4 hours ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.