New York passes coronavirus peak as President, Governors clash over ending lockdown

New York, the epicenter of coronavirus infections worldwide at the moment, appeared to have passed the peak of the outbreak on Sunday, as President Donald Trump clashed with state governors over ending lockdowns.

The United States has so far recorded more than 746,000 coronavirus cases and 40,000 deaths, far more than any other nation.

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.

Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News Sunday that every US state had the ability to do enough testing “to move into phase one.”

“Phase one” ends stay-at-home restrictions for healthy people, and allows restaurants, cinemas, sporting venues, places of worships and gyms to re-open with physical distancing.

But Virginia Governor Ralph Northam pushed back at the Republican administration’s claims that there was enough testing, saying “that’s just delusional.”

Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, said “we could double or even triple the number of tests that we’re executing daily if we had the swabs and reagents.” She called for more federal government help.

“I am right on testing. Governors must be able to step up and get the job done,” Trump tweeted.