It’s Dr. Anthony Fauci’s 80 birthday – and boy, was he in for a surprise by his wife, according to a report.
America’s indefatigable top infectious diseases expert — who has been the leading voice calling for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic – wasn’t exactly expecting a bash, The Guardian reported.
But his wife of 35 years, Christine Grady, had a safety-compliant celebration planned.
“She is a genius at fooling me,” Fauci told the UK news outlet. “I mean, it’s very tough to fool me. But she threw surprise birthday parties for my 50th, 60th and 70th birthdays.
“By having me at work and then all of a sudden, ‘Come on home. We’ve got to do something. You gotta go out to dinner.’ I walk in the house and there are people who come from all over the country,” he added.
The couple agreed this year that their three far-flung adult daughters would not spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with them.
“Because I have been telling the country to limit travel, and I don’t want to be one of those health officials who tells the world to do something and then they go out and have a party themselves,” said Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Grady, the top bioethicist at the National Institutes of Health, fooled her hubby by telling him that on Christmas Eve the two of them would enjoy a quiet birthday dinner at home before celebrating with their kids online.
On Sunday, she told him to get home from the office by 5:30 p.m. so they could have their usual weekend virtual chat with their daughters.
“So as you know, I’m protected by federal agents because of the threats on my life here,” said Fauci, who has revealed that he has received death threats as a result of his public statements about the pandemic.
“The agent who’s outside says, ‘Uh, it’s getting to be five o’clock. You gotta be home at 5:30.’ I said, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’m fine,’” he said.
The agent persisted, he added.
“‘No, no, no. Your wife said you gotta be home at 5:30.’ I should have known what’s going on,” said Fauci, who walked into his home office to find that 15 or so of his closest friends popped up on a computer via Zoom.
His creative wife had had arranged for them to dial in from across the US and other parts of the globe to help celebrate his milestone birthday.
Fauci, who received the COVID-19 vaccine this week, told CNN that he has worked 18 hours a day, seven days a week all year.
“I have not taken a day off since mid-January of this year,” he said.
“You just kind of have to dig deep and suck it up, because the problem itself is of such enormity that it just requires that you have to put a full effort into it,” the top doc said about the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser has proclaimed Thursday “Dr. Anthony S. Fauci Day” in the nation’s capital.
“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,” she said on Twitter.
“So what am I doing for my birthday?” Fauci told the Guardian. “I’ve already done it.”