Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Tuesday that he will celebrate his 80th birthday virtually through a Zoom call.
Fauci turns 80 on Thursday, and has been working long hours as the federal government’s leading infectious disease expert amid the coronavirus pandemic. In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Fauci said he normally spends his birthday with his daughters.
With the coronavirus pandemic still spreading through the US, Fauci will only be spending the milestone in person with his wife.
Fauci’s birthday comes one day before Christmas. He is following the type of advice he has been giving to Americans amid the holidays. The US is averaging more than 2,500 coronavirus-related deaths and is still battling a surge spurred by Thanksgiving gatherings.
“I am going to practice what I am preaching to my fellow Americans in this country,” Fauci told Blitzer. “I am going to do something that is quite modified from what I had done traditionally. I am going to have a quiet dinner in my home with my wife. I would love to have my three daughters who are on different parts of the country, different states that would have to fly in for the most part. We are going to do a Zoom together. We are going to be talking to each other and toasting each other.”
Fauci cautioned that people should avoid traveling during the holidays.
“This type of travel is risky,” Fauci said. “Particularly if people start congregating, when they get to their destination in larger crowds in indoor settings, I'm afraid that if in fact we see this happen, we will have a surge that's superimposed upon the difficult situation we are already. And so it could be a very difficult January coming up. If these things happen.”
In the District of Columbia, Thursday has been proclaimed “Dr. Anthony S. Fauci Day” by mayor Muriel Bowser.
“We are incredibly proud to count Dr. Fauci among the many DC residents who are sacrificing so much to keep our communities healthy and safe,” Bowser said.