President Donald Trump has defended his tweets in which he appeared to endorse protests against stringent lockdown measures in several US states.
At his Friday briefing, he said some measures imposed by Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia had been “too tough”.
Earlier, he wrote in a series of tweets: “LIBERATE MINNESOTA”, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and then “LIBERATE VIRGINIA”.
The curbs, including the stay-at-home orders, are needed to halt the spread of coronavirus, health officials say.
But protesters say they are hurting citizens, by limiting movement unreasonably and stifling economic activity.
The US saw its highest daily death toll on Thursday, recording 4,591 deaths in 24 hours.
That spike could be because Johns Hopkins University, which records the data, began to include deaths with a Covid-19 probable cause.
The US has the highest number of cases and deaths worldwide, nearly 700,000 confirmed infections and more than 36,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
Demonstrations calling on authorities to end the shutdown have occurred in Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Minnesota, Utah, Virginia and Kentucky.
The states Mr Trump referred to in Friday’s tweets are all led by Democrats. Ohio and Utah, which he did not mention, have Republican governors.