Dr. Anthony Fauci: “He has run through it all.”

From a Wall Street Journal story by Ben Cohen and Louise Radnofsky about Anthony Fauci, the most influential person in American public health:

Dr. Anthony Fauci has been running the same federal entity through some of the worst crises of the last half-century: AIDS, anthrax, swine flu, Ebola and, now, a coronavirus pandemic that has turned this infectious disease expert into the most influential person in American public health.

He’s also been running for almost the entire time.

For most of his life, a long run was simply built into Fauci’s insanely busy schedule as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a daily appointment as routine as breakfast and dinner. He didn’t have to remind himself to breathe in fresh air. He couldn’t wait.

“Not only was it every day, but there was almost nothing that could stop us,” said Mike Goldrich, the NIAID’s former chief operating officer who also happened to be Fauci’s running buddy. “Ice. Snow. Rain. Heat. We were big fans of Gore-Tex.”

Now there is something that’s slowing him down. The greatest challenge of Fauci’s distinguished career is now so demanding that he can’t pause in his 20-hour workdays to run at lunch. It took a pandemic for this 79-year-old workaholic to resign himself to walking several miles on weekends. . . .

“I think the benefit for me is a stress reliever—because I have a pretty high-stress job, Fauci told the National Institute on Aging in 2016. “Getting outside in the day and hearing the birds and smelling the grass is kind of a very pleasing thing for me.”. . .

Dr. Vincent DeVita, a professor at Yale and the former director of the National Cancer Institute, was a longtime colleague. DeVita was a runner, too, until his knees made him an ex-runner. Those runs were crucial to his productivity. He used his time in sneakers to clear his mind and contemplate the road ahead. . . .

Even though Fauci has said that he’s not running during this particular crisis, Goldrich says he suspects he’s sneaking in some exercise at “ungodly hours,” while others who worked closely with him find themselves oddly uplifted that all those hours of exercise have kept him in shape for perhaps the battle of his life.

“I’m comforted that Tony is there,” DeVita said, “and fit and functional.”

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