What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
The summertime chimes of ice cream trucks could be replaced by school bells in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday students could return to the classroom as early as July, and starting early could help make up for some of the “learning losses” as parents have tried to teach their children at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis called for “prudence and obedience” to government protocols on virus-imposed lockdowns of religious services to prevent infections from surging again. His appeal came two days after bishops complained the Italian government provided no provisions for Masses in its plan to reopen business, social and sporting life starting May 4.
And people are already beginning to mourn the summer of 2020 as festivals are being canceled, youth baseball league officials don’t know if they’ll have a season and restaurants wonder if they will open given new guidelines that reduce their seating capacity.
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:
— Vice President Mike Pence came under fire after he chose not to wear a face mask while touring the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. It’s an apparent violation of the world-renowned medical center’s policy requiring masks.
— France and Spain, two of the worst-hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic, are laying out separate roadmaps for lifting their lockdowns. Signs are emerging that the virus has been all but vanquished in New Zealand and Australia, while Brazil is emerging as a new hot spot for infections.
— New doubts are being raised over whether Japan will be able to host the already postponed Summer Olympics next year without the development of a vaccine.
— Some U.S. states are beginning the process of easing restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the various plans show that “ normal ” is a long way off. Among the states with aggressive plans to reopen businesses is Georgia, where officials on Tuesday reported the death toll had topped 1,000 people.
— Prisoners in Peru staged a riot to protest their precarious living conditions following the deaths of several fellow inmates from the new coronavirus, but the revolt in itself proved fatal, with nine prisoners winding up dead, authorities said.
— Amid fears of a meat shortage, President Donald Trump signed an executive order classifying meat processing as critical infrastructure to keep processing plants open.
— Facing fierce blowback, House Democratic leadership announced that the House will not resume session next week as planned because of risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer declared the sudden about-face a day after a lawmakers revolted.
— Workers who had been exposed to the new coronavirus at Washington state’s largest psychiatric hospital were herded into a small building to be tested. Inside, few wore masks. They were given test kits by people without gloves and told to swirl a swab inside their noses. The method was designed only for people showing symptoms, but the staffers said none of them did. Many told The Associated Press that the flawed testing process likely produced inaccurate results and exposed them to the virus again.
— In Belgium, which claims to be the birthplace of what Americans know as french fries, the trade association for the potato industry is urging people to keep the deep fryers fired up at home while lockdown orders are keeping businesses, including the country’s 5,000 fries stands, closed.
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.
— 29: A pregnant inmate whose baby was delivered by cesarean section while she was on a ventilator after being hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms has died. She became the 29th person incarcerated in federal prisons in the U.S. who has died from COVID-19, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— PIZZA’S BACK: Wood is burning again in pizza ovens in Naples, Italy, giving a symbolic and savory boost to Neapolitans after two months of lockdown meant an end to their most iconic and favorite food.
— NO JOKE: In Kentucky, Tupac Shakur has been waiting for his unemployment benefits since March 13. That’s Tupac Malik Shakur, not the deceased rapper with the same name. Once the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Tupac Malik Shakur, who goes by Malik, was not filing a false claim as a prank, the state began working to clear it and the governor called Shakur to apologize.