The Slatest

Coronavirus Could Kill 100,000 to 200,000 in U.S., Warns Fauci

President Donald Trump, flanked by Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on March 25, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump, flanked by Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on March 25, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images

The coronavirus could kill somewhere between 100,000 to 200,000 people in the United States, the government’s top infectious disease expert warned. “Looking at what we’re seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 cases … excuse me, deaths. I mean, we’re going to have millions of cases,” Anthony Fauci said on CNN’s State of the Union. Fauci did say though that he didn’t want to be “held to that” because the numbers could quickly change so projections aren’t necessarily useful. “I just don’t think that we really need to make a projection when it’s such a moving target, that you could so easily be wrong and mislead people,” Fauci said.

Fauci made these latest projections as the death toll in the United States passed the 2,000-mark. As of Sunday morning, the United States had around 125,000 infections and 2,200 deaths. The real number of cases is likely much higher, considering many were likely not reported. Around the world, the confirmed death toll passed the 32,000-mark, more of half of which took place in Spain and Italy.

An infant in Illinois with COVID-19 died and could become the youngest known fatality of the coronavirus in the United States. “There has never before been a death associated with COVID-19 in an infant. A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us.” Although children are a small proportion of the total of COVID-19 cases around the world the death of an infant would not be unprecedented. Chinese researchers recently reported the death of a 10-month-old with COVID-19. A separate group of researchers also reported the death of a 14-year-old in China.