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The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States rose by almost 2,000 in the past 24 hours to reach 40,661 on Sunday, a tally from Johns Hopkins University showed.

The rise in deaths, by 1,997, is marginally above the 1,891 which Johns Hopkins data showed a day earlier for the previous 24-hour period to Saturday.

The 24-hour tally in the United States had exceeded 2,500 on Wednesday, Johns Hopkins data showed.

Deaths from Covid-19 in the United States are by far the highest of any country, as is the total number of cases which on Sunday reached 759,086, according to Johns Hopkins.

New York, the epicentre of America’s coronavirus infections, appeared to have passed the peak of the outbreak on Sunday, as President Donald Trump clashed with state governors over ending lockdowns.

New York has borne the brunt of the virus, which has killed more than 18,000 people in the state, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

“We are past the high point, and all indications at this point is that we are on the descent,” state governor Andrew Cuomo told a press conference.

“Whether or not the descent continues depends on what we do, but right now we’re on the descent.”

He added that “it’s no time to get cocky and it’s no time to get arrogant.”

New York’s improving data came as the ongoing political battle between Trump and other state governors worsened again, with virus testing rates emerging as the focus.

Experts say extensive testing is crucial to a safe reopening of the economy, but some state governors said testing capacity fell far below the levels needed to avoid sparking new outbreaks of the virus.