A federal infectious disease official issued an ominous warning Sunday as New York state approached 1,000 deaths and U.S. fatalities from the coronavirus pandemic climbed above 2,300.

The U.S. death total has doubled in two days. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been a leading voice in the effort to curb the outbreak, says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die before the crisis is over.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing “extensive community transmission” of COVID-19 in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, late Saturday urged residents to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days effective immediately. The advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries such as trucking, public health professionals, financial services and food supply.

“Just a little bit of separation can stop a fire from spreading,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said. 

The U.S. counted more than 136,000 cases of coronavirus by Sunday afternoon, the world’s highest total, and there were nearly 2,400 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. More confirmations are expected as the U.S. continues to ramp up testing. 

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