This is a pretty sweet birthday gift.
Time magazine has named Dr. Anthony Fauci, as well as the world’s frontline health workers, as its Guardians of the Year for 2020, the publication announced on Thursday morning — which also happened to be Fauci’s 80th birthday.
The Christmas Eve cover story credits Fauci’s “steadfast commitment to science and to the truth at a time when we needed it most” for bestowing the title on him. Staff writer Alice Park writes that Fauci, the Coronavirus Task Force member and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director who quickly became a household name during the COVID-19 pandemic, never considered stepping down, even when his public health advice was “questioned, ridiculed and dismissed repeatedly,” including by President Trump.
“He wasn’t thinking about himself, but about the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died from COVID-19, and the millions of health care workers on the frontlines who put their lives, and those of their families, at risk every day by going to work,” she writes. The article praises Fauci and health workers for displaying “the best of humanity” during the pandemic
These essential medical workers across the globe share the “Guardian” title with Fauci, including “uncounted, often anonymous caregivers” such as “pulmonologists, EMTs, school nurses, home health workers, nursing-home staff, community organizers running testing sites, health workers from regions where case counts were low who packed up and raced to places the pandemic was spiking,” the article notes.
Christmas Eve also marked Fauci’s milestone birthday, which he planned to spend virtually reconnecting with his family on Zoom, including his three adult daughters who live in different parts of the country.
“The Christmas holiday is a special holiday for us because Christmas Eve is my birthday. And Christmas Day is Christmas Day. And they are not going to come home … that’s painful,” he recently old The Washington Post. “But that’s just one of the things you’re going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented challenging time.”
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His wife of 35 years, Christine Grady, also surprised him with a Fauci-approved socially-distanced party on Sunday, when 15 or so of his closest friends popped up on a celebratory Zoom video chat at 5:30 p.m. sharp.
What’s more, Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser declared Thursday “Dr. Anthony S. Fauci Day” in honor of his 80th, recognizing the new octogenarian for “sacrificing so much to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
This led the hashtag #DrFauciDay to trend on Twitter on Thursday morning, as well as “Happy 80th.”
Earlier in the week, Fauci received his first dose of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.
He also assured the children of the world during a “Sesame Street” town hall with CNN over the weekend that he went to the North Pole and “vaccinated Santa Claus myself,” so that St. Nick can still come to town this year.
“He is good to go,” Fauci said.