U.S. deaths due to the coronavirus topped 18,100 on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, although there are signs that Americans staying home was helping to curb new infections.
U.S. officials warned Americans to expect alarming numbers of coronavirus deaths this week, even as there was evidence that the number of new infections was flattening in New York state, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.
With many Americans celebrating the Easter holiday on Sunday, the top U.S. infectious disease expert warned on Friday that it is too early to relax restrictions on Americans.
"Now is no time to back off," Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
The number of U.S. deaths is now the second highest in the world. Over 1,900 new deaths have been reported three days in a row, according a Reuters tally. U.S. deaths rose by 1,500 on Friday with many states still to report their figures. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T)
Confirmed U.S. cases of the COVID-19 illness caused by the virus topped 485,000 on Friday and have been rising by 30,000 to 35,000 cases a day as testing becomes more available. Globally, there have been over 1.6 million confirmed cases, with the death toll topping 100,000.
Only Italy has more coronavirus deaths than the United States, with 18,849 fatalities reported on Friday, although it has a much smaller population. After a marked reduction from previous peaks, new infections have picked up in the past two days, frustrating hopes that the illness was in clear retreat.