He's become one of the most familiar faces in the effort to fight the coronavirus—maybe a little too familiar. Justice Department officials said Wednesday that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director who's become a household name due to his appearances at President Trump's virus briefings, will start receiving "enhanced personal security" due to threats he's received, per the New York Times. Sources say the request for more security was also made due to "unwelcome communications from fervent admirers," per the Washington Post. "Yesterday, upon the recommendation of the US Marshals Service, the department approved the special deputization request from [the Department of Health and Human Services] for nine ... special agents to provide protective services for Dr. Fauci," says the DOJ in a statement.
Along with Dr. Deborah Birx, who also regularly appears at the virus pressers, Fauci has delivered sobering news about COVID-19 and strongly advocated for the social distancing that's closed down US schools and businesses, making him a target of conspiracy theorists. His critics became especially agitated after a viral video showed the 79-year-old immunologist doing a facepalm as Trump referred to the "deep state department" at a recent presser. That clip was soon followed by claims that Fauci is secretly a member of that deep state who's against Trump. During Wednesday's press briefing, Trump didn't seem worried that Fauci might need more protection. "He doesn't need security," the president said, per the Times. "Everybody loves him." Fauci's own comment when asked: "I would have to refer you to HHS [inspector general] on that. I wouldn't comment." (Fauci's face on doughnuts?)