Americans hit the beach as coronavirus death toll nears 100,000

The United States faced a grim milestone on Sunday as the death toll from the coronavirus neared 100,000, the highest number of any country.

The New York Times marked the expected milestone by filling the entire front page of its Sunday edition with the names, ages and brief details of 1,000 Americans who died from the virus - just 1 percent of the expected toll before the end of Memorial Day holiday week.

The long weekend drew Americans out of their homes in what for many was their first big break from coronavirus lockdowns.

"I'm glad to see everybody out and trying to get back to a normal life."

"Are you worried about getting sick?"

"No. I believe God's got me. I try to kind of stay away from as many people as I can, but not today."

Public health officials warned that mass gatherings at beaches and other areas could lead to an increase in new cases.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that "Cases, numbers and deaths are going down all over the Country!"

Trump has been eager to promote the idea that the United States is returning to normal.

But, in the last week, 11 states have reported a record number of new coronavirus cases, according to a Reuters tally, while Iowa, Minnesota and Rhode Island saw a record increase in deaths.