What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

Even as many leaders hope to reopen stores, factories, airplanes and schools quickly and safely to ease economic pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, health authorities warned that returning to normal is a distant goal.

The wave of layoffs that has engulfed the U.S. economy since the coronavirus struck forced 5.2 million more people to seek unemployment benefits last week, the government reported Thursday.

President Donald Trump wants to ease guidelines on social distancing, but business leaders caution that they need more coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment before people can safely go back to work.

Here are some of AP’s top stories Thursday on the world’s coronavirus pandemic. Follow APNews.com/VirusOutbreak for updates through the day and APNews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak for stories explaining some of its complexities.


— Ten nurses have been suspended from their jobs at a hospital in Santa Monica, California, after refusing to care for coronavirus patients without being provided protective N95 face masks. They are among hundreds of doctors, nurses and other health care workers across the U.S. who say they’ve been asked to work without adequate protection. Some have taken part in protests or lodged formal complaints. Others are buying — or even making — their own supplies.

— Dr. Giovanni Passeri has worked every day at a hospital since his ward received its first COVID-19 case on March 7 in hard-hit Parma province in northern Italy. An AP photographer documented his day and night, from his tense 12-hour overnight shift to his drastically altered routine at home with his wife and 10-year-old son. What emerges is an intimate portrait of a doctor from a medical staff that well-wishers have affectionately dubbed their “warriors.”

— Doctors fear that the focus on the coronavirus pandemic could waylay efforts to combat other diseases. Resources to fight illnesses like tuberculosis, HIV and cholera that kill millions every year could be depleted by the pandemic’s toll on hospitals, medical workers and supplies.

— Facebook, Google and other platforms are taking unprecedented steps as potentially dangerous coronavirus misinformation spreads around the world. The companies are removing bad health advice and other falsehoods promoted by politicians and others while directing users to credible sources like the World Health Organization.

— As governments across the world enact emergency measures to keep people at home and stave off the pandemic, some are unhappy about having their missteps publicized. Others are taking advantage of the crisis to silence critics and tighten control.

— In China, where consumer spending propels most of the country’s growth, people have been slow to return to shopping malls and auto dealerships. Authorities are trying to encourage spending by handing out shopping vouchers, but many people are uneasy about a possible resurgence of the coronavirus or losing their jobs.



For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu.

One of the best ways to prevent spread of the virus is washing your hands with soap and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends first washing with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off.

You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how.

TRACKING THE VIRUS: Drill down and zoom in at the individual county level, and you can access numbers that will show you the situation where you are, and where loved ones or people you’re worried about live.



— 22 million: Roughly 22 million have sought jobless benefits in the past month — easily the worst stretch of U.S. job losses on record.



— LOVERS’ GAZE: A co-worker snapped a photo of two nurses, a husband and wife, in an eye-to-eye embrace despite layers of protective gear. The image is inspiring people around the globe.

— IRAN’S MUSICIANS: Performance halls in Iran are closed and many residents are isolated in their homes amid the Mideast’s worst outbreak. But some Iranian musicians are finding performance spaces where they can play, including on rooftops and in doorways and empty porches.


Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Categories: National & International News