US deaths due to coronavirus topped 15,700 on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, although there are signs the pandemic might be nearing a peak.
US officials warned Americans to expect alarming numbers of coronavirus deaths this week, even as an influential university model on Wednesday scaled back its projected US pandemic death toll by 26% to 60,000.
US deaths set new daily records on Tuesday and Wednesday with over 1,900 new deaths reported each day, according to a Reuters tally.
Only Italy has more deaths with 17,669 deaths reported on Wednesday. Spain reported 15,238 deaths on Thursday.
European countries, including hardest-hit Italy and Spain, have started looking ahead to easing lockdowns but their coronavirus-related fatality rates have fluctuated after initially showing a decline.
In Spain after two days of increases, the daily death toll decreased on Thursday.
Italy imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 9 to slow the spread of the virus and Spain followed on March 14. New York state required all residents to stay home except for essential businesses on March 20 and now more than 94% of Americans are under similar orders but the United States has resisted a national stay-at-home order.