President Donald Trump has warned of a “very painful two weeks” ahead, as the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak hit the US.
He said US deaths could reach 100,000, as the global infection toll rises above 800,000.
The president urged Americans to follow guidelines, calling it “a matter of life and death”.
The US death toll surpasses 4,000 and there are fears as many as 200,000 people could die there.
On March 31, the White House said projections show between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans could die with Covid-19.
The projection is based on some people not doing everything they can to stop the spread, US coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx explained.
US infectious disease chief Anthony Fauci said that “as sobering a number as that [100,000] is, we should be prepared for it. Is it going to be that much? I hope not and the more we push on mitigation the less likely it would be that number.
“But being realistic, we need to prepare ourselves… it will be difficult – no one is denying we are going through a very difficult time right now.”
President Donald Trump is expected to help businesses in America by allowing them to delay payments on certain tariffs.
The US imposes tariffs – fees for importing certain products from overseas – on a raft of goods, including steel from China.
However, the president is expected to waive payment of these fees for 90 days to help improve US companies’ cashflows as they struggle with lockdowns.
The 90-day breathing space will apply to specific goods from “most-favored nations”, although these are not expected to include imports from China or Europe.
Around 400 chief executives of small, medium, and large companies in the US urged President Trump in a letter on March 31 to delay the collection of these fees for up to 180 days.
The cash would normally be paid direct to the US government.