Sometimes you have to see how the experts do it.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has become one of the most trusted authorities on coronavirus and our country’s response to the respiratory illness.
Dr. Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has advised Americans and officials on the state of the outbreak and risks to look out for.
But how does he handle COVID-19 in his day-to-day life?
Fauci recently spoke to the Washington Post about how he is going about routine everyday activities amid the pandemic.
Based on his responses, these are a few measures Fauci takes regularly to keep safe against the virus.
A major plus of his role on the White House coronavirus task force and his close work with Trump is that the health expert is tested regularly.
Fauci told the Post that he is tested for COVID-19 every time he goes to the White House.
Wearing a face mask
Fauci is a staunch advocate of facial coverings, and is careful to wear them whenever necessary in his personal life.
“It dominates everything I do,” he told the Post when asked when and where he wears masks.
He continued: “The only time I don’t wear one is when I am alone, when I am home with my wife, or when I am speaking in public — provided there is 6 feet between me and the people to whom I am speaking, as was the case when I answered questions at the recent Congressional hearings.”
Quarantining from at-risk family
One of the most difficult parts of adhering to safety guidelines amid the coronavirus lockdown is the need to restrict interaction with those closest to you. And the rule is no exception, even for a top official like Fauci.
The health expert explained the measures his family took when his daughter, a teacher from New Orleans, stayed at home with him and his wife when she was allowed to teach her classes online.
“When she got here she went straight through the back entrance into the basement. She stayed in our basement, which has a room with a bed, a shower, electricity, and she did not come upstairs for 14 days. My wife brought food down to her on paper dishes.”
Fauci admits that he had the urge to greet his daughter with a hug, but she wouldn’t let him out of prudence.
He explained: “She lives in a very high risk city, and she wouldn’t let us near her. I wanted to hug her when she arrived, but she said: ‘No way, dad.’ She came upstairs after 14 days, and then stayed with us for several months.”
Not hugging or shaking hands
While the temptation to hug his own daughter was significant, Fauci is overall reluctant to physically greet people and thinks it might be long before that becomes normal again.
“I think it’s going to be a while,” he said when asked if he’ll ever shake hands again, or hug or kiss someone.
“The infection rate will have to be extremely low or nonexistent, or we have to have a vaccine. Right now, I don’t even think about doing it.”
Grocery shopping at odd times
Like many of us, Fauci goes grocery shopping. But he takes certain precautions.
“I do physically go to the grocery store, but I wear a mask and keep my distance,” he explained.
He also said that he goes at times when there might be less people around.
“I usually go at odd times. I spend half the day alone in my office, and I’m part-time at the White House. In the late afternoon or evening, when I’m finished with the White House, I go shopping for groceries, or to drugstores.”
Fauci did say that he doesn’t wipe down packaging when he gets back, opting instead to give his hands a thorough washing when everything it put away.
“I don’t disinfect the bags. In general, I will take the materials out of the bags, then wash my hands with soap and water, and then use Purell, and let everything sit for a day.”
Not dining at restaurants
Even as establishments have begun to reopen, Fauci is strict on not dining at restaurants — either inside or outside. But he does order out.
“We don’t do anything inside,” he said frankly when asked. “I don’t eat in restaurants. We do get takeout.”
Not flying or using public transportation
Fauci is also steadfast in his refusal to fly or use public transportation, based on his age and past experience getting sick on commutes.
“I’m 79 years old. I am not getting on a plane,” he said when asked. “I have been on flights where I’ve been seated near people who were sneezing and coughing, and then three days later, I’ve got it. So, no chance. No Metro, no public transportation. I’m in a high risk group, and I don’t want to play around.”
Skipping the gym
Fauci’s still getting exercise — just not at the gym, which he deems too risky.
I wouldn’t go to a gym. I need to be so careful,” he told the Post. “I don’t want to take a chance. I have a pool at home, so I swim in that.”
He also gets physical activity from walking, sometimes on his own and sometimes with his wife, Christine Grady.
“I do power-walking with Chris. I was running until about a year ago, but every time I went running, my back would tighten up the next morning. So now I walk the same distance. It just takes longer. We go every day with few exceptions, 3.5 miles per day during the week, four miles over the weekend. Prior to covid-19, I did it at lunch alone in the parks near NIH. Now, I do it in the evening with Chris around the neighborhood. On the weekends, Chris and I do it together on the C&O canal.”
Holding off on seeing the doctor unless necessary
The doctor may be ready to see him, but Fauci isn’t quite ready for a check-up with his doctor or dentist unless it is necessary, which he says it may be soon.
When asked if he’s making routine trips to his physicians, he said: “No, not yet, although I might check in within the next few weeks with my physician to get some soothing meds for my throat since I have a hoarse voice from so many briefings and interviews. He will probably take a look and say: ‘Just stop talking so much.’”