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Ex-Kansas Health boss claims he was ‘fauci’d out’ of his job

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Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, joined by Dr. Lee Norman walk to a news conference at the Statehouse.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Dr. Lee Norman, who was the leader of Kansas through the coronavirus pandemic before his abrupt departure in the last month, has said in an interview that he was “Fauci’d” out by COVID-19’s politics.

Democratic governor Laura Kelly announced that Norman was retiring as the department of health and Environment’s top administrator and state health officer on the 19th of November. Norman was the top health department administrator since Kelly took office in January of 2019. He was replaced swiftly by Janet Stanek, a longtime hospital administrator from Topeka.

Norman said he resigned after being asked to do so by Kansas News Service. He cited the constant friction between the governor, and the Republican-led legislature.

“The humiliating treatment of the Trump administration of public health leaders, I think, set the stage for having the same thing take place at the state level,” Norman said, citing frequent criticism from the right of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief infectious disease expert of the government.

In response to the constant criticism, Norman said, “To be honest with you, I think I was Fauci’d.”

Kelly said Norman’s leadership was “the most important” in department history when he announced Norman’s departure. The departure came two weeks after Kelly had publicly criticized vaccination mandates issued by Democratic President Joe Biden that affect more than 100 million workers.

Norman was probably the most prominent Kelly advisor during the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic. He was often walking alongside her wearing a white lab coat. Norman’s presence was less prominent in the last few months.

Conflicts with the public and elected officials at the county and municipal level have led to the resignations and firings of many public health leaders across the U.S. Norman said 48 of Kansas county’s 105 counties have lost their public health administrator or county health officer.

He also said that “the brain drain from public health puts us at risk in the future.”

Norman reiterated that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and offer the best protection against the current and future strains of the virus.

“The longer we have non-immune individuals roaming the Earth, the more variants we will see emerge,” he said.

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