What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — doubling a record high set just one week earlier — a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is resisting calls to issue a national stay-at-home order to stem the spread of the coronavirus despite his administration’s grim projections of tens of thousands dying.

One by one, states are increasingly pushing shutdowns: Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania have all added or expanded stay-at-home orders.

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.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

—The piercing, unrelenting wail of ambulances in the otherwise eerily quiet streets of New York City has become a harrowing soundtrack of the pandemic. America’s largest city is the worst hit by the virus and the statewide death toll is over 1,900.

— The economic damage from the coronavirus crisis is piling up, with an unprecedented 6.6 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits in a single week. And the competition for masks and other protective gear intensified amid growing evidence that people who are infected but have no symptoms can spread the virus.

—The worldwide race to protect people against unwitting coronavirus carriers intensified Thursday, pitting governments against each other as they buy protective gear and prompting new questions about who should wear masks, get temperature checks or even be permitted to go outside.

—Nursing homes across the U.S. have been in lockdown for weeks under federal orders to protect their frail, elderly residents from coronavirus, but a wave of deadly outbreaks nearly every day since suggests that the measures either came too late or were not rigorous enough.

— President Donald Trump has held an unequivocal position about China and the coronavirus — several of them. Trump initially praised China, then excoriated Beijing after it made unsubstantiated claims that the virus originated in the United States. Now, Trump is back to offering niceties.

— Residents are snitching on businesses and neighbors as authorities worldwide work to enforce business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders meant to limit person-to-person contact amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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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.

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ONE NUMBER:

— ONE MILLION: The New England Patriots’ team plane is expected to return to Boston from China on Thursday carrying more than 1 million masks critical to health care providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus.

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IN OTHER NEWS:

— MUSIC GOES ON: Even with its members scattered far and wide by the coronavirus, an orchestra in France has managed to make sweet music in lockdown. Musicians with the National Orchestra of France filmed themselves playing “Bolero” alone at home.

— TEDDY BEAR HUNT: Teddy bears are popping up in the unlikeliest of places. New Zealanders are embracing an international movement in which people are placing the stuffed animals in their windows during coronavirus lockdowns to brighten the mood and give children a game to play by spotting the bears in their neighborhoods.

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

Categories: National & International News