The global number of deaths linked to the novel coronavirus reached 100,000 on Friday, as the number of cases passed 1.6 million, according to a Reuters tally.
And while U.S. deaths topped 18,000 - there are signs that stay at home measures are helping to curb new infections.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK GOVERNOR, ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING: “To use an overused term, we are cautiously optimistic that we are slowing the infection rate.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday offered a glimmer of hope that the surge in critical care hospitalizations across the state might be leveling off: (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK GOVERNOR, ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING: “Change in ICU admissions is actually a negative number for the first time since we started this intense journey.
That means there are fewer people in the intensive care unit statewide than there were.” But Cuomo said New Yorkers, living in the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, must continue social distancing efforts.
Top health officials agree… saying that while U.S. cases are leveling off, Americans should not take their foot off the gas.
Coordinator of the White House Task Force, Deborah Birx: (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. DEBORAH BIRX, COORDINATOR OF THE WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE, SAYING: "So, it's really about the encouraging signs that we see.
But as encouraging as they are, we have not reached the peak.
And so every day we need to continue to do what we did yesterday and the week before and the week before that, because that's what in the end is going to take us up across the peak and down the other side.” To that sentiment - the director general of the World Health Organization gave a stern warning on Friday: (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) DIRECTOR GENERAL, TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, SAYING: “The WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone, at the same time, lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence.”