The blunt warning came on the deadliest day yet in the United States as a whole, as nearly 800 deaths had been announced on Tuesday by the time the President reached the podium at the White House.
"It's a matter of life and death, frankly," Mr. Trump said, as he urged Americans to follow the federal request for people to hold back on their social actions.
By his side again at the White House, both Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx laid out the figures from a series of studies, which predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die - many in the next few weeks.
Birx and Fauci repeatedly emphasized that if Americans do their part to hold down the spread of the virus, that will in turn allow many people to survive.
Asked about deaths of 100,000 or more, health officials did not mince words as to whether it might or might not happen.
"The answer is yes," said Dr. Fauci. "As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it."