U.S. could see more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths, Fauci says

Coronavirus outbreak: Dr. Fauci says deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. could top 100,000
WATCH: Dr. Fauci says deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. could top 100,000

The U.S. government’s foremost infection disease expert says the United States could experience more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections from the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Trump backs away from idea of quarantining N.Y., N.J., and C.T.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, offered his prognosis as the federal government weighs rolling back guidelines on social distancing in areas that have not been hard-hit by the outbreak at the conclusion of the nationwide 15-day effort to slow the spread of the virus.

“I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 cases,” he said, correcting himself to say he meant deaths. “We’re going to have millions of cases.” But he added “I don’t want to be held to that” because the pandemic is “such a moving target.”

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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that Trump’s downplaying of the severity of the novel coronavirus outbreak is “deadly.”

“As the president fiddles, people are dying,” Pelosi said. “We just have to take every precaution.”

Pelosi said the government needs to work in a “unifying way” to “get the job done,” but that they “cannot continue to allow [Trump] to continue to make these underestimates of what is actually happening here.”

“This is such a tragedy, but we don’t know the magnitude of it because we do not have the adequate testing,” she said. 

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-With files from Global News