US deaths due to the coronavirus topped 17,000 on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, although there are signs that Americans staying home was curbing new infections.
US 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 US outbreak.
With many Americans celebrating the Easter holiday on Sunday, the top US 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.
US cases topped 472,000 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 1.5 million confirmed cases, with the death rate fast approaching 100,000.
Only Italy has more deaths, with 18,279 fatalities reported on Thursday, although it has a much smaller population that the United States. 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.