Seven weeks ago, Fed Chair Jerome Powell publicly said he expected economic activity would resume in the second half of the year.
But on Wednesday, Reuters reports Powell offered a much darker outlook.
In an interview webcast by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Powell warned of an "extended period" of weak economic growth.
The situation is tied to uncertainty about how well the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic could be controlled in the United States.
There is a sense, a growing sense I think, that the recovery may come more slowly than we would like.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell
More than 83,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 so far.
Many epidemiological models predict deaths will surpass 100,000 in a matter of weeks.
Overall new cases of the virus continue to climb as well, as states end lockdowns and reopen local economies.