WASHINGTON—Revealing that the mental projection represented the combined hopes and needs of a deeply unsettled populace, psychology experts announced Monday that the figure referred to by Americans as “Dr. Anthony Fauci” was merely a figment of the nation’s collective imagination. “In trying times like these, it’s natural for the public to seek out a clear source of expertise and authority, and, in lacking that, to dream up an illusory figure like Dr. Fauci to help comfort them through this stressful period,” said American Psychological Association President Sandra Shullman, telling reporters that her organization first noted the physician’s chimerical nature when they observed subjects repeatedly pointing to a television screen displaying an empty podium in the White House briefing room and saying they were thankful Dr. Fauci was there to provide some much-needed context. “What’s incredible is how realistic some of these mass hallucinations are. Millions of Americans speak to each other as if they once saw Dr. Fauci in a one-on-one interview on CNN, when in reality, what they saw was Jake Tapper talking to an empty chair for nearly six minutes. With that said, there’s nothing wrong with these delusions in particular. It’s similar to how a child might construct an imaginary friend to get through difficulties in their life.” Shullman went on to stress that this was not even the first incident of such a widespread mental chimera, noting that the purely fictional Special Counsel Robert Mueller also once dominated the country’s troubled consciousness.