Over the past few weeks, Dr. Anthony Fauci has risen to public consciousness thanks to his role on the White House Coronavirus Task Force. However, it appears as if all this publicity has also gotten more than a few people thirsting after the 79-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

You read that right: The internet officially has a huge crush on Dr. Fauci, though it's not without good reason. After all, aside from his obvious smarts and laundry list of laudable achievements, his continued efforts to help spread accurate and helpful information about the pandemic has served as a foil for Trump's attempts to downplay the severity of COVID-19's impact — and, now, the internet can't get enough of him.

From a proliferation of fan accounts to the kind of intense yearbook back-stalking typically reserved for heartthrob celebs, it's obvious the internet can't get enough of Dr. Fauci — and it's even gotten to the point where a petition to name him the "sexiest man alive" has racked up close to 7,000 signatures.

"His comforting and intelligent demeanor has helped to lessen our national anxiety," the petition said. "He speaks truth to power, a strength few have at this time. His kind face and manner of speaking bring calm during the storm. For sapiophiles and many others, he is the definitive Sexiest Man Alive in 2020."

That said, Dr. Fauci taking home the coveted title may actually be a very real possibility. As People editor-in-chief Dan Wakeford told WWD Fashion, "April Fool's prank or not, Dr. Anthony Fauci is indeed the latest unexpected 'star' to emerge from the COVID-19 task force daily press briefings."

"He has helped bring back 'must-see TV' to the masses, who are hungry for wisdom about how to best care for their family's health and safety in this time of uncertainty," Wakeford continued. "Smart is sexy, no doubt."

And though we'll have to wait and see whether he beats out the likes of Brad Pitt and Idris Elba, in the meantime, you can read some of our favorite Dr. Fauci thirst tweets, below.

Photo via Getty

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