Who better to ask than two 80-year-old public health professionals for advice on how to stay healthy in your golden years?
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the past 37 years, and Jane E. Brody, who has written the Times’ Personal Health column for 45 years, recently met via Zoom for the first time to discuss living well at the age of 80.
They laughed together, talked about the difficulties of working out with a security detail, and shared tips for ageing well.
A wise man who will be 80 in December 2020 advised people to “take care of themselves,” including getting enough sleep, not allowing themselves to become overly stressed, and eating healthfully.
Take pleasure in life, but don’t overdo it. Regular physical activity is essential. My long history of running marathons and 10Ks has been a major factor in my ability to maintain a healthy weight, appearance, and mental well-being.”
In her 80th year of life, Mrs. Brody concurred. She said, “I think you should keep up with it.” ‘How do you do it?’ people ask me.” “Well, I don’t stop,” I replied. It’s over if you stop. Don’t give up. It’s important to keep going, so keep going.”
He is a Scientist “to the Core of his Being.”
Dr. Fauci oversees research at the NIAID, the United States’s national institute for allergy and infectious diseases.
He is in charge of an enormous research portfolio aimed at preventing, diagnosing, and treating infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika as well as more well-known ones like HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, tuberculosis, and malaria.
Fauci maintained his position as director of a major NIH institute throughout the whole COVID outbreak, despite the constant scrutiny from the media.
“He in his very spirit was a laboratorian, was a bench scientist,” remarked Dr. Georges Benjamin, the long-time head of the American Public Health Association. “It turned out he was the kind of guy who thrived on that kind of challenge. While he was adept at navigating the organization’s bureaucracy, it wasn’t why he woke up each day.”
Scientists at Fauci’s institute did, in fact, work tirelessly toward developing a vaccine against COVID-19 under his leadership. And, in collaboration with the pharmaceutical firm Moderna, they made one in a record-breaking time frame of under a year. More than 90% effectiveness was achieved, which was much higher than Fauci had hoped.
He was “giddy with laughter,” as Benjamin remembers. I watched him on TV with the pride of a new parent who had something truly priceless, and I knew then how important that vaccine would be.
According to a statement Fauci released, serving as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was “the privilege of a lifetime.” After leaving his current government responsibilities, he plans to keep working, he said.
When asked about his plans for the future, he remarked, “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field.”