Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci bemoaned the impact of political divisiveness on the country's response to Covid-19.
"When I see people in this country, because of the divisiveness in our country, not getting vaccinated for reasons that have nothing to do with public health but have to do with divisiveness and ideological differences, as a physician, it pains me," Fauci said from the White House briefing room on tuesday.
"I don't want to see anybody get infected, I don't want to see anybody hospitalized, and I don't want to see anybody die from Covid," he said.
At the age of 81, Fauci is stepping down next month as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases after nearly four decades at the helm and as White House chief medical advisor.
He told reporters that his final message from the podium is that "get your updated Covid-19 shot as soon as you're eligible to protect yourself, your family, and your community" as the US is headed for the holiday season.
"I don't think any of my colleagues have imagined that we would see a three-year saga of suffering and death and a million Americans losing their lives," Fauci said.
As of Wednesday morning, the country's overall Covid caseload and death toll stood at 100,279,698 and 1,103,355, respectively.
The two tallies are the highest in the world.