“I didn’t fixate on that, but it was in the back of my mind because I had to be out there,” he said. “I mean, particularly when I was going to the White House every day when the White House was sort of a super-spreader location.”

Case in point: After an event Trump held in September to celebrate the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, where few wore masks or socially distanced, about three dozen people with ties to the White House and Capitol Hill ended up testing positive for the coronavirus.

Although Fauci said he believes in telling hard truths to any president he works with, he admitted it has been less stressful in recent weeks because Biden is “very wedded to the concept of ‘science rules’ and you act on basis of what the data and the scientific evidence tells you to do.”