• By The Financial District


Another 20,000 COVID-19 deaths by the end of the month are "inevitable," according to a former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, KCRA 3 News said.

The estimate is based on the number of infections "that have already occurred," Dr. Tom Frieden said, during CNN's "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears" town hall.

The United States reported 57,420 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest number of new daily cases since August.

"Anytime we ignore, minimize or underestimate this virus, we do so at our peril and the peril of people whose lives depend on us," Frieden said.

More than 7.7 million people have been infected with the virus in the U.S. and 214,377 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

By February, the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. could double to about 400,000, a model from the from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington School of Medicine projected.

Projections aren't set in stone, however, and what the public does can have a big impact, another former CDC director, Dr. Richard Besser, said.

Following guidance like wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and investigating cases means "we can have a very different trajectory and we can get this under control," he said.