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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Anthony Fauci during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Insitute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Thursday he feels safe even as his security has been stepped up following "growing threats to his personal safety."

Why it matters: As the top U.S. infectious disease expert, Fauci plays a leading and highly visible role in the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Details: "The concerns include threats as well as unwelcome communications from fervent admirers," the Washington Post first reported on Wednesday.

Between the lines: It's unclear what the threats against Fauci entail, but he has risen to prominence as the scientific voice of reason during President Trump's daily coronavirus task force news briefings. The 79-year-old immunologist has at times stepped in to clarify, or even refute, some of Trump's statements.

  • The New York Times reported on Saturday that he had become "the target of an online conspiracy theory that he is mobilizing to undermine the president ... fanned by a right-wing chorus of Mr. Trump's supporters."

What they're saying: Asked at the daily coronavirus task force briefing whether he had his security increased, Fauci referred the question to the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Inspector General.

  • President Trump said Fauci "doesn't need security, everybody loves him," adding, "Besides that, they'd be in big trouble if they ever attacked him."
  • An HHS watchdog spokesperson told Axios they're unable to comment on providing protective services for Fauci.
  • An HHS spokesperson said when contacted by Axios about the threats, "Dr. Fauci is an integral part of the U.S. government’s response against COVID-19."
    • "Among other efforts, he is leading the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and he regularly appears at White House press briefings and media interviews. We do not have anything further to add at this time."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Go deeper

GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde defends comparison of Jan. 6 riot to "tourists"

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) departs a press conference on June 14. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Andrew Clyde defended comments made during a House committee hearing in which he compared the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot to a "normal visit."

Why it matters: The Georgia Republican has routinely tried to downplay the events of Jan. 6, calling the mob of Trump supporters who breached the Capitol "tourists" and voting against awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to officers.

29 mins ago - Health

England lifts quarantine requirement for vaccinated EU, U.S. citizens

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Biden at the G7 in Cornwall last month. Photo: Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Fully vaccinated travelers from the European Union and the U.S. will no longer need to quarantine when arriving in England, effective Aug. 2 at 4 a.m. local time, the U.K. government announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's a reflection of the British government's confidence in its highly successful COVID-19 vaccine rollout, despite the spread of the Delta variant. The move stands in stark contrast to the Biden administration's continued refusal to lift restrictions for travelers from the U.K. and Europe.

2 hours ago - Sports

Simone Biles is still a winner

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Simone Biles' leadership on the mat has never been questioned. After her shocking withdrawal from Tuesday's team final, she proved just as capable a leader off of it.

What happened: During the first rotation, Biles performed an uncharacteristically bad vault, appearing to lose herself in midair.

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