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US coronavirus death toll tops 8,000 as Trump warns 'there will be a lot of death'

CNN: President Donald Trump on Saturday warned that "there will be a lot of death" in the coming weeks as the number of people who had died from the coronavirus in the United States surpassed 8,000.

"This will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week," the President said in a White House briefing Saturday.

"And there will be a lot of death, unfortunately. But a lot less death than if this wasn't done," he said, referring to certain mitigation tactics.

At least 301,902 people in the United States have been infected by the coronavirus and 8,175 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's running case count.

Health officials urged Americans to continue following social distancing guidelines, with Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease calling it "our most important tool." He pointed to Washington state, where social distancing measures appear to be paying off.

"I want to actually just plea ... to the American public, you know, as sobering and as difficult as this is, what we are doing is making a difference," Fauci said. "So we really need to continue to do that."

White House experts earlier this week predicted at least 100,000 Americans could die from the virus -- and that's if residents strictly abide by federal social distancing guidelines, which were extended for another month.

Several states have seen large jumps in their number of cases, including Louisiana, which reported 2,199 new cases Saturday, and New Jersey, which reported 4,331.

But along with the rise in cases, some state leaders have said they're still missing vitals tools to combat the virus and slow it's spread.

New York state, which has been desperately searching for ventilators, will receive 140 ventilators from Oregon, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday in a news conference.

"This was unsolicited, but the 140 ventilators will make a difference," Cuomo said, adding the gesture was both "kind" and "smart."

"We're all in the same battle here," the governor said. "And the battle is stopping the spread of the virus."

China is donating another 1,000 ventilators, Cuomo said. Those are expected to arrive Saturday.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said his state doesn't even have enough tests to get a clear idea of the scale of the outbreak.

"Everything about the tests are very difficult to come by, and there's no federal plan for this, so every state is on their own," Pritzker said. "As I've said, it's the Wild West out here."

New York state has more than 113,000 cases, with more than 10,000 reported on Friday -- a "new high" -- Cuomo said Saturday. At least 3,565 people had died.

The state has yet to reach the peak of its curve, Cuomo told reporters, saying projections forecast the apex is between four and eight days away. At that point, New York's health care system will face its "ultimate challenge," Cuomo said.

"But there's part of me that says it's good we're not at the apex because we're not yet ready for the apex either," he said. "We're not yet ready for the high point. We're still working on the capacity of the system. The more time we have to improve the capacity of the system, the better."

To achieve that, the governor said he will sign an executive order to allow medical students who have yet to graduate to begin practicing. In all, the state has 85,000 medical volunteers, he said, including 22,000 from out of state.