With social-distancing measures, the White House is projecting that between 100,000 and 240,000 people in the US will die in the coronavirus pandemic.
“As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, who is helping to lead the US effort.
If no social-distancing measures had been put in place across the country, the modelling indicates that between 1.5 million and 2.2 million people would have died.
According to a Johns Hopkins University database, there have been 3,721 deaths already in the United States, with New York worst-hit.
That puts America, which has by far the most confirmed cases in the world, above China (3,309 deaths) but below Italy (12,428) and Spain (8,464).
During a White House briefing on the pandemic, US President Donald Trump said every American was being “called upon to make sacrifices” and that following the national guidelines on social distancing was a “matter of life and death”.
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