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Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci told The Atlantic on Wednesday that efforts by certain White House officials to discredit him are "bizarre" and that it "ultimately hurts the president" to undermine a top health official in the middle of a pandemic.

Driving the news: Fauci's comments come on the heels of a USA Today op-ed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who claimed that Fauci has been "wrong about everything" related to the coronavirus that the two have interacted on. Fauci told The Atlantic: “I can’t explain Peter Navarro. He’s in a world by himself.”

  • A number of news outlets also received quotes and documents over the weekend from anonymous officials claiming Fauci was "wrong about things" in the early days of the pandemic. Several quotes omitted the nuance and caution that Fauci had attached to his statements.
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denies there's been a coordinated effort to discredit Fauci, and the White House said Wednesday that Navarro's op-ed "didn’t go through normal White House clearance processes."

What he's saying: "I stand by everything I said. Contextually, at the time I said it, it was absolutely true … [The White House document] is totally wrong. It’s nonsense," Fauci told The Atlantic.

  • Asked how he can work when elements of his own government are attempting to discredit him, Fauci said, "Well, that is a bit bizarre. ... I sit here and just shrug my shoulders and say, 'Well, you know, that’s life in the fast lane.'"
  • "I think if you sit down and talk to the people who are involved in that list that came out, they are really, I think, taken aback by what a big mistake that was," he continued.
  • "I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that. I think they realize now that that was not a prudent thing to do, because it’s only reflecting negatively on them."

Fauci said that he met Monday with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and told him: "When the staff lets out something like that and the entire scientific and press community push back on it, it ultimately hurts the president. And I don’t really want to hurt the president."

  • Fauci said that Meadows told him he hadn't known about it and did not offer an apology.

The bottom line: Fauci maintained that he has no plans to resign, telling The Atlantic: "I think the problem is too important for me to get into those kinds of thoughts and discussions. I just want to do my job. I’m really good at it. I think I can contribute. And I’m going to keep doing it."

Go deeper: Trump says Navarro shouldn't have written op-ed attacking Fauci

Go deeper

How the coronavirus pandemic could end

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's still the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but history, biology and the knowledge gained from our first nine months with COVID-19 point to how the pandemic might end.

The big picture: Pandemics don't last forever. But when they end, it usually isn't because a virus disappears or is eliminated. Instead, they can settle into a population, becoming a constant background presence that occasionally flares up in local outbreaks.

Oct 22, 2020 - Health

FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment

A production line of Remdesivir. Photo: Fadel Dawood/picture alliance via Getty Images

Gilead Sciences on Thursday received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for remdesivir, an antiviral treatment that has shown modest results against treating COVID-19.

Why it matters: It's the first and only fully FDA-approved drug in the U.S. for treating the coronavirus.

Updated Oct 22, 2020 - World

France becomes 2nd Western European country to top 1M coronavirus cases

French President Emmanuel Macron at the Seine Saint Denis prefecture headquarters in Paris, on Tuesday. Photo: Ludovic Marin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

France has become the second country in Western Europe to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, Johns Hopkins University data shows

The big picture: France had reported 1,000,369 cases and 34,075 deaths from the coronavirus by Thursday morning, per JHU. French President Emmanuel Macron declared a state of health emergency and imposed a curfew on virus hot spots earlier this month. Spain on Wednesday became the first Western European nation to top 1 million cases.