Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has accused US President Donald Trump of having denied the true extent and severity of the coronavirus pandemic, charging that this decision cost lives.
"His denial at the beginning was deadly," Pelosi said on CNN on Sunday as the US death toll passed 2000 on Saturday.
Pelosi, the top Democrat, sharply objected to a proposal floated by Trump to reopen the country's economy by April 12, warning the virus was still spreading and a lack of testing means emerging hotspots may be escaping observation.
Trump on Sunday continued blasting the media for what he contends is a biased portrayal of his administration's response to the virus, which has been particularly lagging in providing widespread coronavirus testing.
Trump touted the large viewership numbers of his near daily press conferences, saying the "Lamestream Media is going CRAZY".
The recriminations amongst politicians comes as the coronavirus outbreak worsens, with New York state as the epicentre and hotspots emerging in Los Angeles, New Orleans and Chicago, among other urban centres.
The US leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 135,000, followed by Italy and China.
New York, which accounts for almost half of US cases, reported its largest single-day jump in deaths on Sunday at 237, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, bringing the state's death toll to 965.
Top health official Anthony Fauci warned the US death toll from the novel coronavirus could top 100,000 people and could infect millions of people.
Fauci, a key adviser to Trump on the outbreak, told CNN that more and quicker testing was needed before restrictions ordering people to stay at home across the country were lifted.
The governor of Louisiana said Sunday the US state's healthcare system was set to be soon overwhelmed by the rising number of coronavirus cases.
His remarks echoed other state and local officials around the country, who are urging people to stay home to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the load on the medical system.
Meanwhile, jurisdictions throughout the country are scrambling to obtain more ventilators.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio told CNN he had enough medical equipment to last until next Sunday but was in desperate need of more ventilators.
Australian Associated Press