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Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci called criticism against him "completely inappropriate, distorted, misleading, and misrepresented attacks."

Details: MSNBC's Rachel Maddow asked Biden's chief medical adviser if he worried about being the subject of personal attacks as the public face of the federal government's coronavirus response, but Fauci said he was more concerned about the "attack on science."

What he's saying: "I mean, it is what it is. I'm a public figure. I'm going to take the arrows and the slings. But they're just, they're fabricated, that's just what it is," Fauci said.

  • "My job was to make a vaccine and use my institute and these talented scientists that we have there and that we fund in the various universities to get a vaccine that was highly safe and highly effective, and we succeeded."
  • "I've become the object of extraordinary, I believe, completely inappropriate, distorted, misleading and misrepresented attacks which, you know, it is what it is, but it's happening and that's unfortunate," he lated added.

The big picture: Some of Fauci's emails were released by several news outlets via a Freedom of Information Act request, leading to a new rise in attacks that accuse him of lying about the origin of the virus, Politico reports.

  • Fauci said that it's important to investigate how the virus started, but that the effort to do so "is being approached now in a very vehement way, in a very distorted way, I believe, by attacking me."
  • Republican lawmakers continue to call for his ouster with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introducing a bill called the "Fire Fauci Act."

What to watch: Former President Donald Trump plans to single Fauci out as he returns to the political stage on Saturday evening. Earlier in the day, Fauci and the first lady are visiting a vaccination site in Harlem and will appear together Monday on "Live with Kelly and Ryan."

Go deeper

Sep 12, 2021 - World

U.K. won't require vaccine passports for crowded events, nightclubs

Health Secretary Sajid Javid. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC on Sunday that the country will not be moving forward with plans to implement vaccine passports for nightclubs and other large, crowded events.

Why it matters: The move marks an abrupt change of course after the vaccine passport plan came under growing criticism from conservative lawmakers. Just days earlier, the U.K.'s vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, defended vaccine passports as the best way forward, the Associated Press reported.

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker
Sep 12, 2021 - Health

Thirteen gorillas at Atlanta zoo test positive for COVID-19

A western lowland gorilla, an endangered animal species, sits in an exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo in 2007. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Thirteen western lowland gorillas at Zoo Atlanta are receiving treatment for COVID-19 after initial tests came back positive, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.

Why it matters: Zoo Atlanta confirmed in a statement on Friday that "a number" of its 20 gorillas had tested presumptively positive, and that the zoo believes they were infected by a fully vaccinated team member.