US coronavirus death toll passes 25,000

The number of coronavirus infections in the United States has surpassed 600,000 as the death increased to more than 25,000.

Coronavirus cases increased by more than 26,500 in 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 604,270.

More than 1,500 Americans died in a day, bringing the death toll from the coronavirus to 25,289.

Deaths in hard-hit New York state are now at 10,834 after increasing by 778 in a day.

New York state, which remains the epicenter of the US outbreak, has 202,208 confirmed cases.  

New Jersey follows with 68,824 infections and 2,805 deaths. Massachusetts has overtaken Michigan to become the state with the third highest number of infections with nearly 27,000 cases and 844 deaths.

Michigan has just over 25,000 confirmed infections and 1,602 deaths.  

The tolls come as lawmakers and health officials work on deciding when the US should reopen again. 

Current social distancing measures in the United States are due to expire on April 30 but health experts are urging for continued social distancing measures to defeat the coronavirus. 

Top infectious disease Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that a May 1 restart for the economy, which is what President Trump is pushing for, was ‘overly optimistic’.

It comes as a battle erupted between Trump and state governors over who has the power to lift restrictions aimed at curbing the coronavirus pandemic. 

Dr Fauci said public health officials must be able to test for the virus quickly, isolate new cases and track down new infections before social-distancing restrictions can be eased. 

‘We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet,’ Dr Fauci said in an interview with the Associated Press. 

Dr Fauci, who frequently appears with Trump at White House coronavirus briefings, has previously contradicted Trump on issues including an unproven treatment touted by the president. 

Trump on Sunday reposted on Twitter a call by a conservative political figure calling for Dr Fauci’s firing but Trump later denied plans to dismiss his adviser. 

Trump has lashed out at Democratic state governors suggesting they were ‘mutineers’ after New York’s Andrew Cuomo said he would refuse any order by the president to reopen the economy too soon. 

‘If he ordered me to reopen in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn’t do it,’ Cuomo told CNN early in the day, referring to Trump. 

At a news conference later, Cuomo said Trump was ‘clearly spoiling for a fight on this issue’ and that he did not want a partisan battle, but added, ‘We don’t have a king in this country, we have a Constitution and we elect the president.’ 

The coronavirus restrictions have crippled the U.S. economy, with businesses forced to close and million of Americans becoming unemployed, in a development that could hurt Trump’s re-election prospects.  

Offering an expansive assessment of the powers of the presidency, Trump on Monday asserted he has ‘total’ authority to decide on reopening the economy even though he earlier had deferred to the governors in putting social-distancing orders in place.

Cuomo, a Democrat whose state has been the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, and governors of six other northeastern states have announced plans to formulate a regional plan to gradually lift restrictions. 

On the West Coast, the governors of California, Oregon and Washington state announced a similar regional approach.