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Anthony Fauci. Photo: GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a Wednesday interview that working alongside the Trump administration to combat the coronavirus in the U.S. has been "very stressful."

Why it matters: Although Fauci, who considers himself apolitical, is among the most trusted voices in the country on the coronavirus, he has faced attacks from Trump loyalists and the president himself, who recently called him a "disaster."

The big picture: Fauci's interview comes a week after former Trump administration chief strategist Steve Bannon suggested on his podcast that Fauci's and FBI Director Christopher Wray's heads should be put on pikes, per the Washington Post.

What he's saying: "When you have public figures like Bannon calling for your beheading, that's really kind of unusual," Fauci noted.

  • "That’s not the kind of thing you think about when you’re going through medical school to become a physician."
  • Fauci said he has gotten through the barrage of criticism by focusing "like a laser beam" on his objective as a scientist to develop vaccines.
    • “If you focus on that and don’t get distracted by all the other noise, then it’s not as bad as you might think it is,” he said.

Go deeper

13 hours ago - Sports

The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Packed stadiums and a more normal fan experience could return by late 2021, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

Why it matters: If Fauci's prediction comes true, it could save countless programs from going extinct next year.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
14 hours ago - Health

Nursing homes are still getting pummeled by the pandemic

Data: AHCA/NCAL, The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The U.S. has gotten no better at keeping the coronavirus out of nursing homes.

Why it matters: The number of nursing home cases has consistently tracked closely with the number of cases in the broader community — and that's very bad news as overall cases continue to skyrocket.

11 hours ago - World

Putin says Russia will begin large-scale COVID-19 vaccination next week

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he has directed officials to begin large-scale vaccination against COVID-19 as early as next week, according to state media.

Why it matters: Russia, which has the fourth-largest coronavirus caseload in the world with more than 2.3 million infections, would be the first country to begin mass vaccination. Experts have criticized the lack of scientific transparency around the vaccine and the haste with which the Kremlin approved it.