The US has become the first country in the world to record more than 2,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day.
2,108 people lost their lives on Friday, according to data collated by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
The US also surpassed half a million infections at the end of what has been a devastating week.
More Americans died between Monday and Saturday (8,800) than died from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.
The US death toll, 18,693, as of Saturday morning, is expected to surpass that in Italy, 18,849, by Sunday, but the overall picture indicates that while deaths continue to rise, the speed of the outbreak looks to be slowing.
Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images
“We’re starting to see the leveling off and the coming down,”Dr Anthony Fauci, the US top epidemiologist advising the White House, said on Friday.
But other officials were keen to play down any thoughts of an end to the crisis.
“As encouraging as they are, we have not reached the peak,” Dr Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response director, said of the easing of new cases on Friday.
While the US as a whole may look better, New York state is still in a dire situation, and remains the country’s worst affected region. 777 new fatalities were reported on Friday, according to The Associated Press.
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