US President Donald Trump has warned Americans to prepare for the “toughest week” of the coronavirus pandemic yet, predicting a surge in deaths.
At his daily briefing, Mr Trump said “there will be death” in a grim assessment of the days ahead.
He sought to reassure the worst-hit states, promising medical supplies and military personnel to combat the virus.
But in contrast to his warning, Mr Trump suggested easing social-distancing guidelines for Easter.
“We have to open our country again,” Mr Trump told a news conference at the White House on Saturday. “We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months.”
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Mr Trump’s calls to relax restrictions on life came on the day confirmed coronavirus infections in the US surpassed 300,000, the highest number in the world.
As of Saturday, there were almost 8,500 deaths from Covid-19 in the US, with most in New York state – the epicentre of the outbreak.
On Saturday, New York state recorded 630 more coronavirus deaths, another daily record that takes its toll to 3,565. The state now has almost as many cases – over 113,000 – as the whole of Italy.