Washington, United States:
Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease specialist in the United States, likes to focus on science – but his honest stance on America's failure to deal with COVID-19 has brought him into ever-increasing conflict with President Donald Trump.
As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the doctor-scientist has led the country's response to every epidemic since the 1980s and deserves special recognition for his research into HIV treatments.
Nowadays, his public profile is bigger than ever, thanks to his straightforward approach to the corona virus, which has earned him legions of fans who buy T-shirts and bobbleheads in his shape.
At the start of the pandemic, the 79-year-old learned the delicate art of defending himself against his boss's noise without publicly contradicting him – on topics ranging from the development of the vaccine to Trump's puzzling belief in an unproven anti-malaria drug to fight the pandemic rich virus.
However, there is growing evidence that diplomacy is beginning to fray.
Fauci says he has not met the president since June 2, and he has not recently attended any White House coronavirus task force television meetings that made him a household name.
His grim warnings of the dangers of reopening states too quickly do not seem to match the commander-in-chief, who has placed his hopes of reelection in place to explain victory over the virus and boost the economy.
The United States, by far the most affected country in the world with more than 137,000 deaths, has seen a dramatic upswing since mid-June. The location of the epidemic is moving to California, Texas, Arizona and Florida.
"If you compare us as a country to other countries, you cannot say that we are doing well," Fauci told political news site FiveThirtyEight last week, days after warning that the US could see 100,000 new cases the day if it did did not correct his course.
When asked about the effects of face mask politicization, he replied, "I think you would have to assume that if there were no such split, we would take a more coordinated approach."
US health officials adopted a pro-mask policy in the spring after new data shifted the balance of evidence in favor of their use.
However, Trump has still not made a clear statement on this issue, and at different times has attempted to portray facewear as an affront to freedom and a conspiracy to fuel fear.
At the weekend, the White House struck back and sent a memo to the news media claiming that Fauci was "wrong about things" during the pandemic.
This was followed by a devastating statement in the USA Today by the President's trading adviser, Peter Navarro, who wrote that he had only listened to Fauci's advice "with skepticism and caution".
Fauci, who is not allowed to conduct television interviews, more than compensated for this by going on a print media and podcast flash in which he adopted a more assertive tone.
"I think everyone thinks I'm doing more than an excellent job," he told women's fashion magazine InStyle this week.
He also pointed out that, at least while working at NIAID, where he leads the development of COVID-19 vaccines, the president cannot fire him.
The escalation of the conflict has led to speculation that the experienced medic could soon show the door to the president.
Trump, who remains behind in Vice President Joe Biden's polls, needs to think carefully about such a move if he backfires.
A Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday found that Fauci was trusted by 65 percent of the American public, indicating broad support from both parties.
And so both sides have found ways to lower the temperature.
Fauci told The Atlantic that the attacks in the White House were "bizarre" and added wisely, "If staff lets it out and the entire science and press community uses it, it will ultimately hurt the president."
Trump, in turn, took it out and told reporters that he and Fauci were getting along well and that his employees had acted on their own initiative.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)