What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
The U.S. unemployment rate rocketed to 14.7% in April, a level last seen during the Great Depression, as 20.5 million jobs vanished in the worst monthly loss on record. It’s stark evidence of how the coronavirus has brought the economy to its knees.
“It’s going to take a long time before the labor market recovers to its pre-recession state,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.
The financial pain is reverberating from India to Argentina, where untold millions already struggling to get by have had their lives made harder by lockdowns and layoffs. How the world’s poor get through this pandemic will help determine how quickly the global economy recovers and how much aid is needed to keep countries afloat.
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.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
— On the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, instead of parades, remembrances and one last great hurrah for veterans now mostly in their 90s, it’s a time of coronavirus lockdown and loneliness.
— President Donald Trump says he’s in “no rush” to negotiate another financial rescue bill despite the government’s latest report showing unemployment reaching heights not seen since 1939.
— Tens of thousands of other crew members have been trapped for weeks aboard dozens of cruise ships around the world — long after governments and cruise lines negotiated their passengers’ disembarkation. Some have gotten ill and died; others have survived but are no longer getting paid.
— As coronavirus hotspots erupted at major U.S. meatpacking plants, experts criticized extremely tight working conditions that made the factories natural high risk contagion locations. But some Midwestern politicians have pointed the finger at the workers’ living conditions, suggesting crowded homes bear some blame.
— A Colombian company is pitching a novel if morbid solution to shortages of hospital beds and coffins during the coronavirus pandemic: combine them.
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.
— 1,031: The number of workers infected at a Tyson Foods pork plant in Waterloo, Iowa, a far greater figure than the state or company has acknowledged, local health officials said. The workers — nearly 40% of the plant — have tested positive for the coronavirus or for antibodies that show they had been infected.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— STEP BACK: The coronavirus has turned retail employees into store sheriffs. They confront shoppers who aren’t wearing masks and enforce social distancing measures such as limits on the number of people allowed inside. “Everybody is on edge,” says Sandy Jensen at a Sam’s Club in California. Her frustration is shared by store workers across the country.
— NOT JUST LUNCH: He sold food with a side of humor at his family’s bright green taco truck in Seattle. “Hello, my friend!” Tomas Lopez said. “No yoga today? You must be hungry!” Lopez, 44, died of COVID-19 on April 2. He is being mourned by many who considered their quick encounters with Lopez a bright spot in their day.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak