The number of deaths in the United States linked to the novel coronavirus topped 15,000 on Thursday, but officials said that despite the grim tallies, there are signs the pandemic might be nearing its peak in the cities hardest hit early on in the crisis.
More than 451,000 people across the US have been infected with the coronavirus, with more than 15,900 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University.
US officials had warned Americans to expect alarming numbers of coronavirus deaths this week, even as an influential university model on Wednesday scaled back its projected US pandemic death toll by 26 percent to 60,000.
“We are in the midst of a week of heartache,” Vice President Mike Pence said during a White House briefing on Wednesday, but added, “we are beginning to see glimmers of hope.”
US deaths set new daily records on Tuesday and Wednesday with over 1,900 new deaths reported each day.
Only Italy has more deaths with 18,279. Spain reported 15,238 deaths as of Thursday.
In the US, New York state has been hardest hit with more than 799 reported on Wednesday, up from 779 a day earlier. The state has recorded 7,067 deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, so far.