Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a briefing on coronavirus in the Brady press briefing room at the White House, Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Washington. Credit: Alex Brandon | AP

WASHINGTON — Americans must be ready for more drastic steps to slow the march of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.

“Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Asked if he would prefer some kind of 14-day national shutdown to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 spread, Fauci said, “I would prefer as much as we possibly could.”

The veteran infectious diseases specialist made the rounds of Sunday talk shows, with at least five appearances scheduled.

On ABC’s “This Week,” Fauci said domestic travel restrictions are likely not in the immediate future but are possible as the U.S. refines its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Travel restrictions within the country have not been seriously discussed,” Fauci said.

“I don’t see that now in the immediate future,” he said, adding that the Trump administration is “open minded” about steps it might have to take.

Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said he was “absolutely” confident the federal government is doing what it needs to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.