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Dr. Anthony Fauci tests positive for COVID-19, is experiencing mild symptoms

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the nation's pandemic health response and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday and is currently experiencing mild symptoms.

Fauci, 81, is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, according to a statement from the National Institutes of Health. He has not been in close contact with Biden or any other senior government officials recently, the agency said.

Fauci is currently isolating and working from home. He will return to the NIH when he tests negative, the statement said. In addition to his role as chief medical advisor, Fauci also serves as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH.

Wednesday marked the first time it was publicly announced Fauci tested positive for the virus after more than two years of regular testing. NIH said he tested positive Wednesday after a rapid antigen test.

Older adults, like Fauci, are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. The risk increases for people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, according to the CDC. But adults 65 years and older who were fully vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine had a 94% reduction in risk of COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the organization.

Fauci has been the face of the United States' response to the COVID-19 pandemic since it started its spread across the country in 2020, advising former President Donald Trump before his current role in helping shape the U.S. response under Biden.

He was scheduled to testify before a Senate committee Thursday morning alongside other health officials, including the director of the CDC, to give an update on the federal COVID-19 response and future planning.

At the end of April, Fauci said in a statement on PBS NewsHour that the United States was "out of the pandemic phase," of COVID-19.

As chief medical adviser to Biden and as an adviser during President Trump's administration, Fauci graced cable news and Sunday morning shows close to nonstop throughout the pandemic, attempting to ease a country at a once-in-a century moment of complete uncertainty.

His role as a trusted figure grew contentious under Trump. The pair publicly sparred on many occasions early in the pandemic, often disagreeing on issues ranging from COVID treatment options and the timeline for rolling out the vaccine to remarks by Trump in September 2020 that the pandemic was "going to disappear." Fauci recently stated that he would leave his role if Trump was reelected.

Trump v. Fauci: Here's a timeline of President Donald Trump's and Dr. Anthony Fauci's relationship

Fauci has served under seven presidents since 1984, acting as a leading public figure on infectious disease in the United States for almost four decades. Among the viral epidemics he's helped the country confront: HIV, SARS, swine flu, Zika, Ebola and avian influenza.

He was named one of Time's 100 most influential people of 2020. As his public image became more recognizable in 2020, he gained a bobblehead in his likeness, a Topps baseball card with his picture and had a drink — the "Fauci Pouchy" —named after him at a Washington, D.C., bar.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Anthony Fauci tests positive for COVID-19, experiencing mild symptoms