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3 Cool Facts About Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Nation's Top Infectious Disease Expert

Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD, who was appointed director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in 1984, has served six presidents and had a hand in advancing research on some of the most dangerous infectious diseases of our time, including HIV/AIDS, ebola and now COVID-19.

Despite his impactful history as a public health official, Fauci and his family now find themselves the target of death threats. “There are people who get really angry at thinking I’m interfering with their life because I’m pushing a public-health agenda,” he told CNN’s “The Axe Files.” Fauci and his family now have private security.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fauci has served as the voice of reason for many on how to contain the spread of the virus. Not everyone appreciates his expertise, but there is never a reason to send death threats to anyone or their family.

So in appreciation of Dr. Fauci, here are three cool things about the nation’s top infectious disease expert you should know:

1. He doesn’t take himself too seriously.

Fauci celebrated the opening of the Washington Nationals’ baseball season on Thursday by throwing the first pitch. It went way off course, which made for a lot of joking online. While some sought to ridicule the doctor, he took it in stride, telling the Washington Post:

It went in the wrong direction. I joked around after and said I used to be a shortstop when I played ball as a young boy and I thought I was supposed to throw to first base.

Fauci was a Yankees fan in his youth, and is now the subject of one fan’s series of baseball cards you can buy on Etsy.

2. He practices what he preaches.

Dr. Fauci may be the top boss, but he is on the ground alongside his staff. For example, in 2015, Fauci spent two hours every day helping to treat a U.S. health care worker who had ebola. Like his staff, he would suit up to treat patients, which sets and example and he said helps him understand a disease better.

“I do believe that one gets unique insights into disease when you actually physically interact with patients,” he told Science in 2015.

3. He has a long history of listening to patients.

Oftentimes, patients are left out of the conversation about health conditions, research and treatment developments. Fauci, however, doesn’t hesitate to include patients in his work. In 1990, for example, activists protested the National Institute of Health for its handling of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Instead of brushing them off, Fauci took their concerns seriously and invited them to participate in the government’s response. Fauci is credited as the architect behind the programs to address and eradicate HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

Header image via Bluerasberry / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

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