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This is the First COVID Symptom Dr. Fauci Had

Dr. Fauci experienced “Paxlovid rebound.”
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Dr. Anthony Fauci is defending Pfizer's oral antiviral medication Paxlovid after he experienced a "rebound" infection following a five-day course of treatment. "When [the symptoms] increased, given my age, I went on Paxlovid for five days and I felt really quite well, really just a bit of rhinorrhea and fatigue," Dr. Fauci, 81, says. "It was sort of what people are referring to as a 'Paxlovid rebound.'" Here are the first symptoms Dr. Fauci experienced. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Scratchy Throat

Closeup of sick woman having sore throat.

The first COVID-19 symptom Dr. Fauci noticed was a scratchy throat. "I'm feeling really fine," he said during a White press briefing on June 22. "I had some mild symptoms last Tuesday.  I checked my antigen test on Wednesday. It was positive. I had one day of symptomatology.  I started on Wednesday on Paxlovid. And I was on Paxlovid for five days, and I have now finished Paxlovid and I'm still feeling really quite fine."


Dr Fauci Took Paxlovid Twice

Paxlovid pills

Dr. Fauci took a second round of Paxlovid after testing positive for COVID-19. "Paxlovid did what it was supposed to do," Dr Fauci says, crediting the drug with lessening the severity of virus symptoms and keeping him out of hospital.


Should People Still Take Paxlovid?

Closeup of medical worker or pharmacist hands wearing blue latex protective gloves,pouring white medicine pills on palm of hand.

Paxlovid still does exactly what it's supposed to, virus experts say. "The goal of Paxlovid is to prevent serious illness and death, and so far no one who has gotten sick again has needed to be hospitalized, so it's still doing its job," says Davey M. Smith, MD, chief of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine and infectious disease specialist at UC San Diego Health. "We simply need to understand why the rebound happens in some patients and not others. More research is needed to help us adjust treatment plans as necessary."


Is the Virus Developing Paxlovid Resistance?

Woman outdoor with cold and handkerchief

Paxlovid is still effective against the virus and its mutations, according to experts. "Our main concern was that the coronavirus might be developing resistance to Paxlovid, so to find that was not the case was a huge relief," says Aaron F. Carlin, MD, PhD, assistant professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine.


Vaccinations Save Lives

Woman wearing face mask looking at camera showing thumbs up after getting the covid-19 vaccine.

Dr. Fauci credits being fully vaccinated and boosted as the key to his recovery. "I think I'm an example, given my age, of what we're all talking about today. I'm vaccinated. I'm doubly boosted," Dr. Fauci says. "And I believe if that were not the case, I very likely would not be talking to you looking as well as I look, I think, right now. So, all is well with Fauci, and thank you for asking."


How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan