What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

Iconic events like the U.S. national spelling bee in June, Spain’s Running of the Bulls in July and Germany’s Oktoberfest are being scrapped, even amid growing impatience over shutdowns that have thrown millions of people out of work.

The push to reopen has set off warnings from health authorities and politicians about a crisis that by Tuesday had killed well over 170,000 people worldwide. Experts say the crisis is far from over and relaxing the stay-at-home restrictions too quickly could enable the virus to surge.

Meanwhile, economic damage has mounted as stocks dropped around the world and oil prices suffered a historic collapse.

Here are some of AP’s top stories Tuesday 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.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

__A malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported after the study of 368 patients.

— President Donald Trump says he will sign an executive order “to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” because of the coronavirus. Already, almost all visa processing by the State Department has been suspended for weeks because of the pandemic.

__ A Louisiana pastor has been arrested on an assault charge after after he admitted to driving his church bus toward a man who has been protesting his decision to continue holding mass gatherings at church. Police say Tony Spell turned himself into the department and was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and improper backing.

__ A spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health says transporting bodies from a hospital to the medical examiner’s office in the back of a pickup truck is “unacceptable.” A photographer for The Philadelphia Inquirer captured images of the delivery of five or six bodies enclosed in white body bags and covered by mats in the back of the pickup truck Sunday afternoon.

— U.S. sales of existing homes cratered 8.5% in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. The decrease was the steepest since November 2015.

___

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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.

___

ONE NUMBER:

— $5 Billion: U.S. hog farmers have endured an estimated $5 billion in losses for the industry amid restaurant closures.

IN OTHER NEWS:

__ HOME TEST: U.S. health regulators on Tuesday OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The test from LabCorp will initially only be available to health care workers and first responders under a doctor’s orders.

— SPELLING BEE: The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been canceled for the first time since World War II. Organizers concluded there was “no clear path to safely set a new date in 2020,” meaning kids who are in eighth grade this year will miss their final opportunity to compete in the national finals.

___

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

Categories: National & International News