Fauci turns 80: ‘There is no option to get tired’
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, turned 80 Thursday, but said he has no plans to ease his work load as the country enters a dangerous stretch of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is no option to get tired. There is no option to sit down and say, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve had enough,’” Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, told The Washington Post. “I’m gonna dig deep and just suck it up.”
Fauci said he relies on muscle memory from working as a young doctor in a large New York hospital to keep his energy levels up. He said he’s been going almost nonstop since January, when concerns about COVID-19 were spreading around the world.
For most of 2020, Fauci has been the public face of health experts warning about the dangers of the virus and how to mitigate its spread. But that high profile role has also made him a target of criticism among opponents of government efforts to restrain the coronavirus. Fauci and his wife require constant security, and their three adult daughters have received harassing messages, the Post reported.
President Trump has been one of Fauci’s dissenters, at times contradicting the guidance from Fauci and other public health officials. But Fauci said they have remained on good terms throughout the pandemic.
“When [Trump] started to say things that were outright incorrect, I could not just stand there and shake my head and say it’s okay. I had to go to the microphone,” Fauci told the Post. “I didn’t intend to be anti-Trump. You know? I maintained my apolitical position. But I couldn’t stand there and not say anything and being complicit in things that were completely untrue.”
Earlier this month, President-elect Joe Biden asked Fauci to stay on and serve as his chief medical adviser, an offer Fauci accepted “right on the spot,” he told the Post.