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The US enters crucial weeks of coronavirus fight after a grim milestone of most deaths reported in one day

North America

(CNN) The US reached a grim milestone with the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths reported in one day, and officials are warning the next two weeks will be crucial in the fight to stop the spread.

With 1,344 new deaths reported Saturday, the US had the most fatalities recorded in one day.

Early Sunday, the nationwide death toll had gone up to at least 8,503 people, with at least 312,245 infected, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The big test will come in the next few days, said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

"The next two weeks are extraordinarily important," Birx said. "This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe, and that means everybody doing the six feet distancing, washing your hands."

Social distancing measures already appear to be paying off in Washington state, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases said, calling the measure "our most important tool."

Continue reading on CNN.

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