Dr. Anthony Fauci smiles as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (L) speaks to reporters during the daily briefing in White House on January 21, 2021
Dr. Anthony Fauci smiles as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (L) speaks to reporters during the daily briefing in White House on January 21, 2021
Photo: AFP

Over the last year, Dr Anthony Fauci has become something of a household name. Shops have begun selling donuts with his face on them, and many now own Dr Fauci bobblehead dolls. But while a large part of the country turned to the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for guidance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump grew increasingly disenchanted.

“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Trump said in October last year. Over the course of the pandemic, he had dubbed the immunologist a "disaster", alleged that Fauci "had been wrong a lot" and threatened to fire him "a little bit after the election". And while it was Trump that ultimately exited the US government before Fauci, the medical expert had been sidelined for quite some time.

Now, with the Biden administration taking over, netizens agree that Dr Anthony Fauci appears to have had a huge weight lifted from his shoulders. "He looks 10 years younger in one day," exclaimed several Twitter users.

"Dr Fauci is all of us," tweeted VP Kamala Harris' niece Meena in an apparent reference to the change in administration.

And it would appear that he agrees. “One of the new things in this administration is, If you don’t know the answer, don’t guess,” Fauci said in one pointed observation during a White House briefing. “Just say you don’t know the answer.”

And indeed, the physician-scientist bore a very different demeanour from his past appearances at these briefings. He laughed and joked with those assembled at the White House meeting, and candidly admitted that it was "something of a liberating feeling" to be able to "get up here and talk about what you know and what the science is".

Take a look at some of the reactions:

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