Fauci said he has not seen any pressure from the White House to announce a vaccine close to the Nov. 3 election in the hopes of boosting President Donald Trump's re-election chances.
He added that regulators have promised "they are not going to let political considerations interfere" with the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine and that "safety and efficacy" will be primary considerations.
Fauci's interview with Reuters came on the same day Trump said in an interview with Fox News that the virus is "going away. It will go away like things go away."
Fauci offered a more mixed assessment, saying some parts of the country had done well in containing the spread of the virus, while others were "on fire."
He characterized the varying responses to the virus as "disjointed" - owing to the size and the diversity of the nation.
Fauci said he hoped the pandemic would be under greater control by the end of the year, when he expects a vaccine to be available.
While Fauci stressed that there is a "middle ground" in which the country can prudently reopen, he said the politicization of mask-wearing was detrimental to the fight against the virus.