US deaths from coronavirus could reach 200,000 among millions of cases, the government's top infectious diseases expert has warned as New York, New Orleans and other major cities pleaded for more medical supplies.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, estimated the pandemic could cause between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in the US.
Since 2010, the flu has killed between 12,000 and 61,000 Americans a year.
The US coronavirus death toll topped 2,300 yesterday, after deaths on Saturday more than doubled from the level two days prior. The US has now recorded more than 130,000 cases of Covid-19, the most of any country in the world.
New York state reported nearly 60,000 cases and a total of 965 deaths yesterday, up 237 in the past 24 hours, with one person dying in the state every six minutes.
However, the number of patients hospitalised was slowing, doubling every six days instead of every four, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
One bright spot yesterday was Florida reporting about 200 more cases but no new deaths, with its toll staying at 56.
President Donald Trump has talked about reopening the country by April 12, despite many states such as New York ordering residents to stay home past that date. At the weekend, he seemed to play down those expectations, saying only: "We'll see what happens."
Tests to track the disease's progress also remain in short supply, despite repeated White House promises that they would be widely available.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, whose state has become one of the fastest-growing areas for the virus, especially in the county that includes Detroit, called the rapid spread "gut-wrenching".
"We have nurses wearing the same mask from the beginning of their shift until the end, masks that are supposed to be for one patient at one point in your shift. We need some assistance and we're going to need thousands of ventilators," Ms Whitmer said.
New York City will need hundreds more ventilators in a few days and more masks, gowns and other supplies by April 5, Mayor Bill de Blasio said yesterday.
New Orleans will run out of ventilators around April 4 and officials in Louisiana still do not know whether they will receive any ventilators from the national stockpile.
Louisiana has tried to order 12,000 ventilators from commercial vendors, but had secured only 192 so far, Governor John Bel Edwards said in a TV interview yesterday.