Dr. Anthony Fauci says he's avoiding planes, restaurants during COVID-19 pandemic

NEW YORK -- The nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, won't be getting on an airplane or eating out at restaurants while the coronavirus pandemic persists.

During an interview with MarketWatch on Friday, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that his age puts him "in a risk category."

"I don’t like to admit it, but I’m 79 years old," Fauci said. "I can’t think of a reason to go trans-Atlantic. Right now, I’m very sequestered. I’m on a coronavirus task force. I go to the White House almost every day."

Rather, Fauci said that he spends half of his day in his office trying to develop a drug and vaccine for COVID-19.

"That’s really what I need to do," he said. "I don’t fancy seeing myself getting infected, which is a risk when you’re getting on a plane, particularly with the amount of infection that’s going on right now."

Another issue that has drawn a major concern for Fauci was dine-in service, which reopened in some areas, but has been shut back down in others due to a fresh round of cases throughout the United States.

Although Fauci admitted he won't be "going to restaurants right now," he recommended that if people are heading out for a bite, they should opt for outdoor seating instead.

"If you’re going to go to a restaurant, try as best as you can to have outdoor seating that is properly spaced between the tables," he said.

Fauci has sat at the helm of the National Institute of Allergies and Infections Diseases since 1984. Over the last four decades, Fauci has advised six sitting presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues, according to the institute.

Most recently, he has become the government’s most visible face in the battle against the coronavirus, and polls show him as its most trusted authority as well.

Earlier this month, a poll conducted by Morning Consult/Politico indicated that 62 percent of voters rated his handling of the pandemic as either "good" or "excellent."