The United States surpassed more than 500,000 coronavirus cases as of Saturday morning, and per Johns Hopkins University data, the US is now neck and neck with Italy in terms of total number of deaths—as of Saturday morning, Italy claimed 18,849, while the US had 18,777. On Friday, however, the US reached another bleak milestone: more than 2,000 fatalities in one day, the first nation in the world to reach that number, the BBC reports. Somewhat good news on that comes from Dr. Chris Murray, head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, who created one of the models being used by the White House to keep track of the virus. "We rerun the model, basically, almost every night—and the new returns from different states are suggesting different peaks in different states, but at the national level we seem to be pretty much close to the peak [daily death toll]," he tells CNN.
Murray notes that, based on his team's model, he expects about 61,500 American deaths by August, though he warns that's only if states keep rigorous social distancing going through the end of May; if some states balk, the numbers "don't look good." So when will things get back to "normal" in the US? According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's go-to infectious disease expert, election month is a target date of sorts. "I would hope that by November we would have things under such control that we can have a real degree of normality," Fauci told MSNBC's Brian Williams Friday evening, per the Washington Post. "That's my interest and my job as a public health person." Asked by Williams if citizens across the US would have the right to vote by mail in the election as a result of the ongoing pandemic, Fauci answered that was "not my area of expertise." (Read more coronavirus stories.)