New US government figures show that a spike in coronavirus infections will occur in the summer if the current lockdown measures are lifted after 30 days as planned.
About 95 percent of the US is currently on some form of lockdown after President Donald Trump issued guidelines that called for 30 days of measures to slow the spread of the virus.
The government projections, obtained by the New York Times, indicate that lifting the strict social distancing measures now in place will see a second wave surge in infections and deaths in about June and July.
If the current shelter-in-place orders are lifted on May 30, the death total is estimated to reach 200,000, according to the projections obtained from the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.
The death toll could reach 300,000 without any restrictions imposed to contain coronavirus - including school closings, shelter-in-place orders and social distancing.
The government projections indicate that lifting the strict social distancing measures now in place will see a surge in infections. The yellow depicted in the above graph assumes some social distancing is kept in place after the 30 days. The red in the graph assumes not additional measures are put in place after 30 days.
If the current shelter-in-place orders are lifted on May 30, the death total is estimated to reach 200,000, according to the projections obtained from the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services
Fatalities could reach 200,000 if the 30 day lockdown is lifted and some mitigation measures are put in place - like schools remaining closed until summer, 25 percent of the country continues working from home and some social distancing continues.
The projections, which are dated April 9, do not have dates for when shelter-in-place orders were delivered or specific dates for when spikes would hit.
Currently, the US death toll from the virus had hit more than 18,000 and the number of infections had increased to over 490,000.
During a White House briefing on Friday, President Trump said he and his advisers have not yet seen the new coronavirus projections.
He gave a much different projection, saying he thinks the US will lose fewer than the 100,000 lives initially projected to be lost to the coronavirus and suggested the country is nearing its peak infection rate.
The measures currently in place have seen most people isolating at home, schools shutter and businesses close down through at least the end of April.
White House officials said on Thursday they believe the US economy could start to reopen for normal business in May, despite health experts urging for continued social distancing measures to defeat the coronavirus.
Public health experts, including top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci, say the measures are needed to control the fast-spreading virus.
Dr Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus taskforce, on Friday warned it was too early to relax the lockdown even though hard-hit spots like New York are showing positive results in the battle against coronavirus.
'What we're seeing right now is favorable signs,' Fauci said in an interview on CNN on Friday.
'We would want to see a clear indication that you were very, very clearly and strongly going in the right direction, because the one thing you don't want to do is you don't want to get out there prematurely and then wind up back in the same situation.
'Now is no time to back off.'
Dr Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that if the US 'prematurely' ends social distancing measures 'you're right back in the same situation'.
'The virus kind of decides whether or not it's going to be appropriate to open,' he said.
He said the number of new cases appeared to flattening the curve given hospitalizations and patients on ventilators in New York had decreased.
'We're going in the right direction, let's keep in that direction,' Dr Fauci said.
'Obviously we're looking for the kinds of things that would indicate that we can go forward in a gradual way to essentially reopen the country to a more normal way,' Fauci said, adding that it depended on a number of factors.