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Fauci to appear at White House press briefing, Psaki says

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci warns of risks from single-dose strategy for Pfizer, Moderna vaccines MAGALand in Orlando CDC director warns states against lifting COVID-19 restrictions MORE will join the White House press briefing on Thursday afternoon to discuss the Biden administration’s coronavirus response efforts, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Cardona seeks to pivot from DeVos era at Education White House says weekly vaccine doses will increase to 15.2 million MORE said.

Psaki said on NBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday that Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, would be at the briefing scheduled for 4 p.m. to “ensure we are having public health experts, medical experts really leading our communication about the process that is underway to get the pandemic under control.”

Psaki also emphasized that Biden and his team need to set expectations on virus response and ensure the American public understands it will take time to get the pandemic under control following the change to a new administration.

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Coronavirus cases and deaths are high across the country, and public health experts have warned that President BidenJoe BidenIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Obama alum Seth Harris to serve as Biden labor adviser: report MORE will need to urge the public to be patient.

“We’re not going to be able to get out of the pandemic or get the pandemic under control overnight,” Psaki said. “It’s going to take months and months and we want to also be clear in setting that expectation to the American public.” 

Fauci is known for his sober public health advice and is one of the most trusted voices on the pandemic.

The decision to put him at the center of the briefing represents the latest effort by the Biden administration to diverge from the Trump administration in its response to the coronavirus.

Fauci was a leading figure at coronavirus task force briefings in the early part of the Trump administration’s virus response last year, but his presence was diminished as his blunt warnings about the threat from COVID-19 came in conflict with former President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE’s own rosy pronouncements. Trump even began to criticize Fauci on the campaign trail last fall and at one point openly mused about trying to fire him after the election.

Fauci, who has served as director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for more than three decades and is also serving as President Biden’s chief medical adviser, met virtually with the World Health Organization earlier Thursday and announced the new administration’s decision to remain in the global health body after Trump had moved to withdraw from it.

Psaki will lead her second briefing as White House press secretary on Thursday afternoon. She first fielded questions on Wednesday evening following Biden’s inauguration and pledged to bring “truth and transparency back to the briefing room.”