WASHINGTON: The United States recorded 2,228 deaths related to COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University as of Tuesday (Apr 14) night.
The number of fatalities was a sharp increase after two days in decline.
The COVID-19 outbreak has now claimed the lives of at least 25,757 people in the US, the most of any country.
President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that swaths of the United States could lift coronavirus shutdowns "very soon" and said he could see "rays of light" on the horizon for the world's largest economy.
But a threat on Monday to invoke his "total" power to force state governors to follow his directives on reopening prompted an outcry.
"We don't have King Trump, we have President Trump," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on CNN.
Equally combative, Trump responded on Twitter by likening skeptical governors to rebellious sailors in the movie Mutiny On The Bounty.
At his press conference, Trump backpedalled, clarifying that governors would take the lead on when and how to ease the restrictions paralysing the US economy.
"I'm not going to put any pressure on any governor to open," Trump said.
The president indicated that numerous states with less dense populations could open "very, very soon, sooner than the end of the month", while places like New York could take longer.
"We'll open it up in beautiful little pieces," Trump said.
The president had been expected to unveil a new task force on Tuesday for managing the national reopening, but that did not happen.
Instead, Trump announced he would be talking to large groups of business leaders, Congress members and all 50 governors in conference calls this week.
"Our country has to get open and it will get open," he said.