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Coronavirus death toll in US could reach 200,000 by September, expert says

The head of Harvard’s Global Health Institute said even if the number of US cases remain flat, it's 'reasonable' to expect 200,000 deaths by September.

WASHINGTON — The United States could see 200,000 coronavirus deaths before the end of September, according to one leading expert, as confirmed cases in the country surpass 2 million.

The head of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, Dr. Ashish Jha, told CNN and Today that without action, the number of deaths across the U.S. would continue.

“Even if we don’t have increasing cases, even if we keep things flat, it’s reasonable to expect that we’re going to hit 200,000 deaths sometime during the month of September,” Jha said on CNN, according to Reuters. “And that’s just through September. The pandemic won’t be over in September.”

RELATED: US passes 2 million COVID-19 cases

Worldwide there have been more than 417,000 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data on Thursday. The U.S. has more than 112,000 deaths since the outbreak arrived in February and early March.

"I think right now, most Americans are not ready to lock back down, and I completely understand that. ... I understand people are willing to live alongside this virus. It means that between 800 and 1,000 Americans are going to die every single day," Dr. Ashish Jha told CNN.

There's a long list of recommended steps to limit the spread of the virus like contact tracking, using a mask, washing your hands and limiting face-to-face contact with others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Jha told Today about his concerns of protesters across the country being so close to each other amid in the pandemic.

"I think protests are also going to feel more cases," he said. "The key here is that people need to wear masks. I see some people wearing masks, I see others who are not. It's really really critical that people wear masks. We think, as the data is coming in, that that can really help a lot."

RELATED: Widespread facemask use can prevent another coronavirus wave, study finds