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Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 101,000, as Pandemic Disrupts Good Friday Observances: Live Updates

But even if broad-based restrictions remain in place, testing of Americans could begin soon to identify those who have already been infected with the coronavirus and recovered, allowing them to return to some their usual activities, including work, the government’s top infectious disease expert said on Friday.

“Within a period of a week or so, we are going to have a relatively large number of tests available,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN.

He said federal officials were discussing the idea of “certificates of immunity,” which could be issued to people who had previously been infected.

Dr. Fauci said Friday that he assumed that whenever the restrictions are lifted there would be an increase in cases, which would heighten the need to be able to identity them, isolate them and trace possible contacts.

The death toll across the country topped 17,900 on Friday. There have been nearly half a million confirmed cases in the United States, three times as many as any other country has reported.

In New York, still the center of the U.S. outbreak, 777 more people had died, bringing the state total to 7,844, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced. While the death toll was sobering, he said there were reasons for guarded optimism, with fewer patients in intensive care units and the number of hospitalized patients remaining nearly flat.

In Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said on Friday that the Trump administration had agreed to bipartisan negotiations with congressional leaders to break a stalemate over providing a $250 billion federal infusion to replenish a loan program for distressed small businesses.


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