What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
The Chinese city at the heart of the global pandemic, Wuhan, reopened Wednesday after 76 days in lockdown. Elsewhere, the economic, political and psychological toll of fighting the new coronavirus grew increasingly clear and more difficult to bear.
New York endured one of its darkest days so far, with the virus death toll surging past the number killed on 9/11. It recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths, its biggest one-day jump yet, for a statewide toll of nearly 5,500.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19, spent a second night in intensive care.
Here are some of AP’s top stories Wednesday 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 pressures on intensive care units in Italy and Spain may have eased in recent days as new cases decline. But the psychological toll the pandemic has taken on the doctors and nurses who work there is only now beginning to emerge. Already, two nurses in Italy have killed themselves.
— President Donald Trump has lashed out at the World Health Organization while defending his own widely criticized early steps during the crisis. Trump threatened to freeze U.S. funding to the WHO, saying the international group “missed the call” on the pandemic.
— The head of the European Union’s top science organization has resigned in frustration at the height of the coronavirus crisis. The sudden resignation of Mauro Ferrari and his stinging criticism was bound to add pressure on EU institutions, which have been accused of not working together to battle the global pandemic.
— Mounds of harvested zucchini and yellow squash ripened and then rotted in the hot Florida sun. Juicy tomatoes were left to wither — unpicked — in farmers’ fields. Thousands of acres of fruits and vegetables grown in Florida are being plowed over or left to rot because farmers can’t sell to restaurants, theme parks or schools nationwide that have closed because of the coronavirus.
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for people who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are without symptoms. The public health agency and the White House are considering an announcement as soon as Wednesday.
— The coronavirus outbreak poses a dilemma for tens of thousands of Palestinian laborers working inside Israel who can no longer travel back and forth from their homes in the occupied West Bank. They can stay inside Israel, where wages are much higher but where the outbreak is more severe, or they can return home to quarantine and unemployment in the West Bank.
AP FACT CHECK:
Defending his administration’s response to the coronavirus, President Donald Trump falsely asserted that travelers at U.S. airports are being routinely tested for COVID-19, made groundless accusations against a government watchdog and wrongly claimed the Obama administration did nothing during a flu pandemic.
Have tips for the AP Fact Check team? Contact FactCheck@ap.org
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.
— 76: Wuhan was released from a 76-day coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday, and it’s as if the Chinese city where the pandemic started late last year has awakened from a long slumber.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— SAMBA SCHOOLS: Rio de Janeiro’s samba schools usually spend the year furiously sewing costumes for the city’s blowout Carnival celebration. Now, they’re making medical outfits for hospital workers who face a surge of coronavirus patients.
— HOUSE CALLS: A small Christian charity that provides help to about 1,300 poor families across Germany is now delivering food, diapers, soap and children’s games to their doorstep.
— ESSENTIAL WORKER ROUTINE: For those workers who live with partners, a day might look like this: a delicate dance at the door to minimize risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak