In these trying times we search to find trustworthy information and we have choices. If you prefer to listen to our political leaders about this pandemic, then you should probably skip this post. I prefer to listen to the science. I pay attention to what Dr. Anthony Fauci has to say. He is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases. Fauci is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on infectious diseases. As a physician with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Fauci has served American public health in various capacities for over 50 years, and has been an advisor to every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan.
Recently, a newspaper asked him about his own behavior choices. Here are the questions he was asked and his answers.
Q: When and where do you wear a mask?
It dominates everything I do. 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
Q: Besides family, do you allow anyone else inside your home, such as cleaners or service people for repairs?
The only person who comes into the house besides (my wife) Christine and me is the woman who cleans the house once every two weeks. She wears a mask and gloves at all times while in the house.
Q: Do you shop in grocery stores, or order online? Do you wash the items off or disinfect the outside of packages once you get home?
I do physically go to the grocery store, but I wear a mask and keep my distance. 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. 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.
Q: Would you dine inside a restaurant? Outside? Do you get takeout?
We don’t do anything inside. I don’t eat in restaurants. We do get takeout.
Q: Do you take any precautions with your mail or packages?
I used to, but now I just bring the mail in, wash my hands, then let it lie around for a day or two before I open it.
Q: Do you go to friends’ homes for dinner, or have friends to your house, or see them in other ways?
On the rare occasion when we have people over, we have them out on the deck, six feet apart, and we never have more than two people, and they are people who themselves are locked in. We wear masks, unless we are eating. We don’t share anything. There are no common bowls. Each person has his or her own receptacle. Some people even bring their own glasses. We always do takeout and I tell the takeout people that I want the food in four separate plastic containers, so no one has to touch anyone else’s food. Everyone’s food is self-contained. Also, we always stay outside. We don’t do anything inside. If it’s too hot, or rainy, we cancel it.
Q: Are you getting your hair cut?
I usually get it cut every five weeks, but I didn’t go for a long while. By the 11th week, it was looking really bad. So, I asked the woman who cuts my hair if I could come in really early in the morning, at 7 a.m., and we arranged to do that. No one else was there. She wore a mask and I wore a mask.
Q: Would you visit your kids/grandkids?
My middle daughter, who teaches school in New Orleans, drove up here after they closed the schools. She could teach online from here, so she thought: Why not come home and see her parents? 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. 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.
Q: What would you tell your kids or grandkids who wanted to join a protest march or go to a political rally?
My daughters feel very strongly about social injustice, but would not likely want to do that. They are very careful with their health. They stay away from crowds.
Q: Would you go work out at a gym? Swim in a pool? Run? Walk?
I wouldn’t go to a gym. I need to be so careful. I don’t want to take a chance. I have a pool at home, so I swim in that. I do power-walking with Chris. We go every day with few exceptions, 3.5 miles per day during the week, four miles over the weekend.
Q: Will you ever shake hands again? Hug/kiss someone?
I think it’s going to be a while. 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.
Dr. Andrew Fauci