What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
The White House is rushing to defend President Donald Trump’s decision to take a malaria drug he’s been promoting as a treatment for the coronavirus, despite warnings from his own government that it should only be administered for COVID-19 in a hospital or research setting due to potentially fatal side effects.
The president has been drawing criticism from Democratic leaders and some health experts after saying he’s been taking hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement daily for a week and a half, after two White House staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Tuesday that “tens of millions of people around the world have used this drug for other purposes,” including malaria prophylaxis, and urged all patients to consult with their doctors.
Trump’s previous endorsement of hydroxychloroquine sparked India, the world’s largest producer of the drug, to make much more of it, prescribe it for health workers treating the coronavirus and deploy it as a diplomatic tool.
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:
— Coronavirus cases have been spiking in several populous nations, a clear indication that the pandemic is far from over. New cases are sprouting up from India to South Africa to Mexico, while Russia and Brazil now sit behind only the United States in the number of reported infections. Russia saw a steady rise of new infections Tuesday and new hot spots have emerged.
— Health experts say the increasing attacks from U.S. President Donald Trump on the World Health Organization for its handling of the coronavirus could weaken global health. In a letter to the WHO on Monday, Trump threatened to permanently cut U.S. funding to the agency unless it commits to “substantive improvements” in the next 30 days. Critics say it shows a profound misunderstanding of the agency’s role.
— Authorities say a night of partying before bars and restaurants shut down in New Mexico led to an outbreak in a detox center and homeless shelter in the city of Gallup, on the fringes of the Navajo Nation. The hospital became overwhelmed and now sends all of its critically ill COVID-19 patients to other facilities. Health care officials disagree about who is to blame.
— U.S. officials say the USS Theodore Roosevelt will make a shorthanded return to sea later this week, nearly two months after the ship was sidelined in Guam with a rapidly growing COVID-19 outbreak. Navy Capt. Carlos Sardiello tells The Associated Press the mission will include a scaled-back crew of about 3,000, leaving about 1,800 sailors on shore who are still in quarantine.
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.
— 4,577: An anti-corruption watchdog group says its review of death certificates in Mexico City shows the number of cases where doctors mentioned coronavirus or COVID-19 is more than three times the official death toll in the city. The Mexicans Against Corruption investigation revealed that in explanatory notes attached to 4,577 death certificates, doctors included the words “SARS,” “COV2,” “COV,” “Covid 19,” or “new coronavirus.” The federal government acknowledges only 1,332 confirmed deaths since the pandemic began.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— OLYMPICS LOGO PARODY: Tokyo Olympic officials are angry that the games emblem has been used in the cover design of a local magazine that combines the logo with the coronavirus. Organizers have requested that the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan “take down” the image.
— TUBE TABLES: A Baltimore company has unveiled inflatable inner tubes on wheels meant to allow diners to maintain proper social distancing while eating out. The “bumper tables” feature a hole in the middle for participants and wheels attached to the bottom for moving around.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak