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What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

April 23, 2020 GMT
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Dr. Ala Stanford administers a COVID-19 swab test on a person in the parking lot of Pinn Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Stanford and other doctors formed the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to offer testing and help address heath disparities in the African American community. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Dr. Ala Stanford administers a COVID-19 swab test on a person in the parking lot of Pinn Memorial Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Stanford and other doctors formed the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to offer testing and help address heath disparities in the African American community. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

President Donald Trump faces a new challenge as he aims for a swift reopening for the United States: Convincing people it’s safe to come out and resume their normal lives.

It’s a defining question for a cloistered nation — and a political imperative for Trump. His reelection could ride on the pace of an economic rebound and Congress is sprinting to approve a $483 billion coronavirus aid package this week.

But a new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows most Americans don’t believe it will be safe to ease the restrictions anytime soon, despite isolated protests in states aimed at lifting aggressive stay-at-home measures.

Here are some of AP’s top stories Wednesday on the world’s coronavirus pandemic. Follow APNews.com/VirusOutbreak for updates throughout the day and APNews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak for stories explaining some of its complexities.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s time to “push the pause button” on federal spending, even as Congress rushes to approve a $483 billion coronavirus aid package this week. The deal would replenish a small-business payroll fund and pump more money into hospitals and testing programs.

— Federal officials say two pet cats in New York state have tested positive for the new coronavirus, marking the first confirmed cases in companion animals in the United States and joining a small number of confirmed cases of the virus in animals worldwide. The cats had mild respiratory illnesses and are expected to recover.

— A survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that Americans largely believe restrictions on social interaction to curb the spread of the new coronavirus are appropriate. Despite pockets of attention-grabbing protests, the survey finds Americans remain overwhelmingly in favor of stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

— Health officials say two people died with the new coronavirus in California weeks before the first reported death from the virus. Santa Clara County officials said the people died at home Feb. 6 and Feb. 17.

— Tyson Foods suspended operations at an Iowa plant that is critical to the nation’s pork supply but had been blamed for fueling a massive coronavirus outbreak in the community. The company said the indefinite closure of the Waterloo, Iowa, plant would deny a vital market to hog farmers and further disrupt the nation’s meat supply.

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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.

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ONE NUMBER:

10 MILLION: There are over 70 million people worldwide who have been driven from their homes by war and unrest, up to 10 million are packed into refugee camps and informal settlements, and almost none have been tested for the new coronavirus.

IN OTHER NEWS:

INDOOR ULTRAMARATHON: A Russian man in the far eastern city of Vladivostok ran circles around his bed for more than 10 hours in an effort to replicate completing a 100-kilometer ultramarathon. Experienced ultra-runner Dmitry Yakukhny found himself stuck at home after the race was postponed to September.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak