Dr. Marty Makary told Yahoo Finance's "On the Move" that he believes the number of coronavirus cases is much higher than the confirmed cases and deaths that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported.
“I think we have between 50,000 and half a million cases right now walking around in the United States,” he added.
The professor noted that American hospitals will be overwhelmed by the massive influx of people, saying most intensive care units are already operating near full capacity.
“We only have 100,000 ICU beds in the United States. We could see 200,000 new patients that need critical care up to 2 million,” he stated.
In contradiction to professor's claim, the state and local health agencies, governments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced that there are less than 3,000 cases of the coronavirus in the United States. They have declared that 60 patients have died of the deadly disease, so far.
Citing the CDC, The New York Times has reported that as many as 1.7 million people across the US could die as a result of the coronavirus.
An article in the newspaper suggested on Friday that between 160 million and 214 million people in the US could be infected from the epidemic and as many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die in a worst-case scenario.
At a time when US fatalities from the sickness have risen, there remain limited numbers of tests and the capacity of laboratories is under strain. The furor has been growing, as US public health experts, politicians — and anxious people seeking tests — have grown increasingly alarmed about the lack of testing across the country.
Many Americans who are sick and seeking a coronavirus test continue to be turned away, creating a vexing problem for patients and health officials as the virus spreads, according to a report by The Washington Post.
The problem persists, doctors and patients across the country say, despite increased production and distribution of the tests in recent days.
The number of medical professionals and patients who are denied access to tests is not tracked nationally. But in interviews, people from several states stated that their doctors sought but were unable to get testing approval from local or state health officials.
Amid criticism about the availability of coronavirus test kits in the US, compared to other countries, like China and South Korea, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases admitted the country is "failing".
"The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Thursday, adding, "That is a failing. It is a failing. Let's admit it."
On Wednesday, Fauci, a member of the US president's task force on coronavirus, testified in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee in Washington DC about the current state of the outbreak in the United States, warning that the coronavirus situation in the United States is "going to get worse".
On Friday, the administration of President Donald Trump — under fire for the slow US testing response — declared a national emergency to free up $50 billion in federal resources to combat coronavirus even as he refused to take personal responsibility for administration failures early in the outbreak.
Globally, nearly 6,600 people have died from the coronavirus, in excess of 152,000 cases that have been confirmed in 150 countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the virus a "pandemic", while Europe has now become the epicenter of the outbreak.