By Lisa Shumaker
(Reuters) - Total U.S. coronavirus deaths were approaching 30,000 on Wednesday, after a record single-day increase in COVID-19-related fatalities the prior day, according to a Reuters tally.
The United States reported 2,364 deaths on Tuesday, far above the previous daily high of 2,069 recorded on April 10, according to a Reuters tally. U.S. deaths on Wednesday stood at 29,751, up 1,305, with many states yet to report. Cases topped 615,000 in the United States and 2 million globally.
Despite the spike in deaths, there were tentative signs in some parts of the country that the outbreak was beginning to ebb.
Governors of about 20 states with few coronavirus cases believe they may be ready to start the process of reopening their economies by President Donald Trump's May 1 target date, a top U.S. health official said on Wednesday.
Graphic: Tracking the novel coronavirus in the U.S. - https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-USA/0100B5K8423/index.html
Of the 50 U.S. states, 17 reported fewer than 100 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.
Governors in harder-hit states - New York, California, Louisiana, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Michigan - said there was a need for more widespread testing before starting to end America's coronavirus shutdown, which has thrown millions out of work with the closing of restaurants, businesses and schools.
Graphic: World-focused tracker with country-by-country interactive - https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/COUNTRIES/oakveqlyvrd/index.html?id=united-kingdom
Health officials have noted that death figures are a lagging indicator of the outbreak, coming after the most severely ill patients fall sick, and do not mean stay-at-home restrictions are failing to curb transmissions.
New York state and some other hard-hit areas continue to report sharp decreases in hospitalizations and numbers of patients on ventilators, although front-line healthcare workers and resources remained under extraordinary stress.
Officials have also cautioned that coronavirus-related death figures are likely an undercount due to people dying at home or in nursing homes who were never tested for the virus.
(Writing by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Bill Berkrot)
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