The public health official, 79, is reportedly in good condition after the operation on Thursday morning

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Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci
| Credit: Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

Dr. Anthony Fauci is recovering after undergoing surgery.

On Thursday, the 79-year-old public health official — who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the face of the White House's Coronavirus Task Force — confirmed to CNN that he underwent vocal cord surgery to have a polyp removed on Thursday morning.

According to the outlet, Fauci opened up about having problems with his vocal cord in an April discussion with the Economic Club of Washington: "... When you get your voices damaged a little — I probably have a polyp there — the only way to get better is to keep your mouth shut."

CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta wrote on Twitter that Fauci contacted him after the procedure to say he is doing okay.

"Dr Anthony Fauci had an operation today to remove a polyp on his vocal cord. He had general anesthesia and texted me after to let me know he was doing ok. Doctors have advised him to curtail his talking for a while to allow his vocal cords to recover," tweeted Gupta.

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Further details about the procedure were not provided. Polyps, like nodules and cysts, are lesions that can form on vocal cords that require surgery to be removed, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Fauci had participated in numerous press appearances and interviews leading up to the surgery, including last week when he discussed public health with Matthew McConaughey on the actor's Instagram Live. During the talk, the scientist warned how allowing society to freely spread the coronavirus with the not-yet-proven goal of achieving a herd immunity could result in a deadlier public health crisis.

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"If everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms ... a lot of people are going to die," Fauci said. "You look at the United States of America with our epidemic of obesity as it were. With the number of people with hypertension. With the number of people with diabetes."

"If everyone got infected, the death toll would be enormous and totally unacceptable," he explained.

Last month, Fauci also threw the opening pitch at at the Washington Nationals' game against the New York Yankees to kick off the shortened 2020 baseball season.

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