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Fauci: Worst-case coronavirus predictions 'unlikely if we do the kinds of things that we're essentially outlining right now'

Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that the steps the U.S. is taking to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus will likely mean the worst-case estimates for the number of deaths don't materialize. 

ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked Fauci on “This Week” about the New York Times report on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) worst-case projections. The CDC reportedly predicted 160 million to 214 million infections, 2.4 million to 21 million hospitalizations and 200,000 to 1.7 million deaths in the country. 

Fauci responded that a model is “only as good as the assumptions you put into a model.”

“The worst-case scenario is either you do nothing or your mitigation and containments don't succeed,” he said “So although that's possible, it is unlikely if we do the kinds of things that we're essentially outlining right now.”

The infectious disease expert said he doesn’t think the situation will be that bad because of the steps the U.S. has taken, including President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote One quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors MORE’s announced travel bans from China, Iran and now, Europe. 

“So you block infections from coming in, and then within is when you have containment and mitigation,” he said. “And that's the reason why the kinds of things we're doing that may seem like an overreaction will keep us away from that worst-case scenario.”

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The president initiated a ban of non-U.S. citizens traveling from Europe last week, later expanding the suspension to include those from the U.K. and Ireland Saturday. Trump had limited travel from China and Iran earlier in the outbreak. The restrictions do not apply to Americans returning to the U.S.

The U.S. has taken other steps as well to combat the virus that has infected almost 3,000 people and killed at least 57 in the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The House passed legislation designed to help families during the crisis, while the president declared a national emergency Friday.