At the same time Fauci is directing critical government research, he’s also one of the administration’s leading spokespeople on the virus, spending hours each week by Trump’s side during his lengthy, daily White House briefings.

Fauci said his public role is important but conceded that the duration of those briefings — Monday’s ran for nearly two-and-a-half hours — was “really draining” and that doesn’t even count preparation and waiting for it to start.

“If I had been able to just make a few comments and then go to work, that would have really been much better,” he said. “It isn’t the idea of being there and answering questions, which I really think is important for the American public. It’s the amount of time.”