Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, is working around the clock to lead coronavirus research and disseminate new information.
His schedule involves working around 20 hours a day, he told The New York Times.
Fauci said he spends his workdays at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he directs, and briefing journalists, public officials, and the White House.
"You're lucky if you get to bed before midnight," he said. "And then you get up at 4 or 5 in the morning."
Facing down a viral coronavirus epidemic that threatens the well-being of Americans and the economy alike, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, may have one of the most intense jobs in the world right now.
If he's awake, he's at work. And he's getting only four or five hours of sleep a night.
In an interview on Tuesday with "The Daily," a New York Times podcast, Fauci said his work schedule reaches the outer limits of what he thought was possible.
"You're lucky if you get to bed before midnight," said Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. "And then you get up at 4 or 5 in the morning."
"We are in a war," he said. "There's so much to do it's like drinking out of a firehose."
His day typically begins with providing up to date information to people around the country — like journalists, Congress members, and state and federal officials — "who constantly need briefing."
"And I also am running a very large institute that's responsible for making the vaccines and for developing the drugs. So I come in for a couple of hours and get things on the right track here," he said.
Then he heads to the White House, where he spends "more than half the day" in meetings.
"I'm with the vice president for hours at a time," he said. "I see the president himself at least an hour a day and maybe more. And then I go back home and I have a thousand things to do. And then you're lucky if you get to bed before midnight."
He has been keeping this pace for a while. When a reporter for Science magazine opened an interview in March asking how he was doing, Fauci responded: "Well, I'm sort of exhausted."
Though Fauci used to run seven miles a day every day, he says he couldn't keep up the regimen during the epidemic. In mid-March, he said he cut them down to 3.5 miles a day.
When he was in midst of the fight against HIV/AIDS, Dr. Fauci was known to run 7 miles daily.
I just asked him if he still keeps to that exercise regimen.
No, he says, noting that he is working 19 hour days to fight the coronavirus.
He is down to 3.5 miles -- at the age of 79.
— Alexander Nazaryan (@alexnazaryan) March 16, 2020
Trump's messaging on the epidemic has veered from skepticism to severity in a matter of days. On "The Daily," Fauci said he did not believe his role as a medical expert included trying to change Trump's rhetorical "style."
"I see my job as the person who is the scientist, the public health official, the physician who understands disease," Fauci said. "And to get the correct information, correct evidence to him so he can make decisions that are based on evidence and based on data."
"I don't think it would be possible for me to influence another person's style. That just doesn't happen," he added.
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