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Coronavirus Live Updates: Relief Package Passed by Senate; Markets Slump Again

As health care providers around the country complain that the shortage of tests has left them unable to accurately track the outbreak’s spread, and forced them to make triage-like decisions about whom to test, a steady stream of celebrities, politicians and professional athletes have announced that they tested positive for the coronavirus. Meaning they were tested.

The question of whether the rich, famous and well-connected were able to get their tests faster than others burst into public view this week after the Brooklyn Nets announced Tuesday that four of their players — including Kevin Durant, one of the biggest stars in the N.B.A. — had tested positive for the coronavirus, including three who were not showing any symptoms. That seemed to run counter to the pleas of federal officials that tests be saved for those displaying symptoms, or for members of particularly vulnerable populations, including older people.

Some of the A-listers who were tested said that they had come into contact with people who had the disease, and others said that it had been important to find out because they came into contact with so many people. The recommendations from health departments of who should be tested, meanwhile, has sometimes seemed to shift in recent days.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York crictized the dynamic on Tuesday, writing on Twitter that while he wished the athletes “a speedy recovery,” he did not think the N.B.A should be getting tests for its athletes while critically ill patients were waiting to be tested.

“Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick,” he wrote.

After receiving criticism, the N.B.A. released a statement explaining the rationale for testing the players. “Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given N.B.A. players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus,” it said.

Mr. Trump was asked at a White House briefing Wednesday why asymptomatic athletes were being given tests, and whether he thought the well-connected should be given preferential treatment.

“No, I wouldn’t say so, but perhaps that’s been the story of life,” Mr. Trump said. “That does happen on occasion.”

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