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Half a million infected in US as daily death toll passes 2,000

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By Daniel Bellamy  with AP
Half a million infected in US as daily death toll passes 2,000
Copyright  FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP or licensors

More than 2,000 people in the United States died due to COVID-19 in a single day, a first for an individual country's daily death toll worldwide.

The US is currently the most impacted by the global pandemic with more than half a million confirmed cases of the virus, according to a Johns Hopkins University count.

But the government says the infection curve appears to be flattening out.

"The numbers of beds being used, we were just saying, are substantially reduced, that's usually the sign that it's heading in the downward curve," US President Donald Trump said on Friday.

The US is now on track to overtake Italy as the country with the highest number of deaths, though the true figures on infections and lives lost around the world are believed be higher that reported due to limited testing and different counting practices.

In several countries, victims who died outside a hospital - such as in a house or a nursing home - have not been included in official government counts.

"I understand intellectually why it's happening," said New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, where deaths rose by 777, to more than 7,800. "It doesn't make it any easier to accept."

But New York officials also said the number of people in intensive care dropped for the first time since mid-March and hospitalisations were slowing.

Cuomo said that if the trend holds, New York might not need the overflow field hospitals that officials have been scrambling to build.