What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
Christians observed Good Friday without the solemn church services or emotional processions of past years, instead watching livestreams at home as the world remained locked down by the coronavirus pandemic.
The global death toll headed toward 100,000, with the confirmed number of infected people topping 1.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. Another 355,000 have recovered.
With economies hit hard by the pandemic, governments faced mounting pressure to restart some industries and fend off further economic devastation from the coronavirus.
Here are some of AP’s top stories Friday 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.
THE FIGHT FOR NEW YORK: Listen to AP’s coronavirus podcast, “Ground Game: Inside the Outbreak,” for an interview with three AP reporters who worked on “24 Hours: The Fight for New York,” a multi-format package following 10 New Yorkers as they negotiate life in a city transformed by the virus.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
— Even as nearly 17 million Americans sought unemployment benefits, a large number appear to be falling through the cracks. They can’t get through jammed phone systems or finish their applications on overloaded websites. And now there is a whole new category of people seeking help — gig workers, independent contractors and self-employed people.
— People who must continue working during the outbreak are performing a quiet calculus each day as they try to stay safe while commuting.
— Schools that feed millions of children from low-income families across the U.S. promised to keep providing meals during the pandemic. But cities big and small quickly ran into problems when food workers, teachers and volunteers became infected or were too scared to report for duty.
— As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flashes back to an earlier crisis that gripped the nation, and his own life, when he was a boy. He was stricken with polio. The two crises now bookend McConnell’s years, making the Kentucky Republican an unexpected voice of personal reflection. “Why does this current pandemic remind me of that? I think No. 1 is the fear,” he told The Associated Press.
— The coronavirus has infected so many doctors, nurses and other health workers that some in France, Italy and Spain are now quickly returning from their sick beds and heading back to the front lines. “We were trained for this. The world needs us,” one doctor explained.
— Residents of Wuhan are adjusting to their new normal. In the Chinese city where the pandemic began, people are cautiously returning to outdoor life amid a raft of strict controls.
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.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— THE HOWLING: From California to New York, some Americans are taking a moment each night to howl as a way of thanking the health care workers and first responders. It’s an American twist on the applause and singing for besieged health care workers in Europe.
— SOCIAL DISTANCE POWWOWS: With the largest powwows in the country canceled and postponed amid the spread of the coronavirus, tribal members have found a new outlet online with the Social Distance Powwow.
— VIRTUAL SEDER: Rabbi Shlomo Segal is among the spiritual leaders who are adapting to a Passover in the shadow of COVID-19. The 40-year-old self-described “liberal” Orthodox rabbi has brought his Seder to YouTube
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak