On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
In the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, in his dual role as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, was so busy that his wife had to remind him to take a break.
“I had to almost put a glass of water in his hands and get him to eat,” Fauci’s wife, Dr. Christine Grady, a nurse and bioethicist, said during an interview with InStyle. “He has gotten better about that, but still, if he’s got too much to do, he’ll just go and go and go. I do have to remind him to eat and sleep and to drink water.”
As America’s leading infectious disease expert, Fauci, who turns 80 this year, has been working non-stop since the outbreak. “We are in a war,” he said on the New York Times podcast, The Daily. “There’s so much to do it’s like drinking out of a firehose.”
I used to read two books a month for a total of about 25 a year. I used to alternate between biographies and history, as well as spy and detective and intrigue novels. And now, ever since coronavirus, I’ve actually stopped reading. I just don’t have time. I really used to enjoy reading in the evening or on a plane or on the treadmill. I don’t go on the treadmill anymore, and I haven’t been on a plane since January.Dr. Anthony Fauci and Wife Dr. Christine Grady on Coronavirus and Quarantine | InStyle
For Dr. Fauci and his wife, there are no typical days anymore. “There is no difference between Monday and Saturday,” Grady says about their daily routine. “There is no difference between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.”
As soon as he’s up at 5.10am, he’s scanning through emails (Fauci gets over a thousand a day), and getting ready for press interviews about the pandemic. A day before Thanksgiving, Fauci was spending a majority of his 18-hour workdays talking to the media, appearing on shows like ABC News’ Good Morning America, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and WNYC-FM’s The Takeaway.
In between media interviews, White House briefings and staying up to date with any new COVID-19 developments, Fauci also has to juggle the responsibilities in his day job. He described his daily routine in an interview with National Geographic:
I then head to the NIH [National Institutes of Health] for my day job—trying to develop a vaccine and drugs and running a $6 billion institution. I stay there until around one o’clock, and then I go down to the White House for multiple meetings. First, I meet with the doctor group—myself, coronavirus response coordinator Debbie Birx, director Bob Redfield from the CDC, commissioner Steve Hahn from FDA, and others. We then go into the task force meeting run by Vice President [Mike Pence], which usually lasts about an hour and a half. We summarize this pre-brief with the vice president and then go brief President [Donald Trump] for the press conference. Then, the work starts. I head home or back to the NIH and work until the wee hours of the morning. The whole day is punctuated by everybody needing to talk to you: every governor in the states, every congressional leader, every leader in the White House. It’s constant conference calls. It’s an almost impossible situation—and that’s seven days a week.Fauci: No scientific evidence the coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab | National Geographic
Over the past decades, serving six presidents and leading America’s health efforts through HIV/AIDS, SARS, the 2009 swine flu pandemic, MERS and Ebola, Fauci has always managed to find time in his busy schedule to squeeze in a run.
“He made the time. He manufactured the time in his busy schedule because running was so important to him,” says the Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen. “There was this precious hour of the workday right around lunch every day when he went for a run.”
These days, however, with the insurmountable pressures on his time, Fauci has had to stop his daily runs. Instead, he and his wife go for evening power walks. “Since this pandemic began, I think we’ve been trying to walk every day, even if it’s sometimes late in the evening,” said Grady. “It’s for mental and physical health.”
Aside from his work, there’s not much else in Fauci’s current daily routine, not unless you count the federal agents sent to protect him and his family from death threats, “I don’t socialize,” he told HuffPost. “It’s my wife and I and the federal agents. We’ve sort of become like a new family unit.” At the end of the day, instead of winding down for a regular sleep routine, Fauci continues to answer emails or talk to press late into the night “until I’m so tired I can’t do anymore.”
I think the thing that drives Tony is commitment to public health. And if it feels like he’s making a contribution to public health, then he’ll do it. He doesn’t care about stopping to eat or doing other things that are normal. He’s committed, and he works hard.DR. ANTHONY FAUCI AND WIFE DR. CHRISTINE GRADY ON CORONAVIRUS AND QUARANTINE | INSTYLE
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