What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
Defying a wave of layoffs that has sent the U.S. job market into its worst catastrophe on record, at least one major industry is making a comeback. Tens of thousands of auto workers are returning to factories that have been shuttered since mid-March because of fears of spreading the coronavirus.
The auto industry is among the first major sectors of the economy to restart its engine.
About 133,000 U.S. workers — just over half of the industry’s workforce before the pandemic — are expected to pour back into assembly plants that will open in the coming week, according to estimates by The Associated Press. A staggering 36 million people have now sought jobless aid in just the two months since the virus first forced businesses to close and shrink their work forces.
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:
__ Democrats began pushing Congress’ biggest coronavirus relief bill yet toward expected House passage Friday, a $3 trillion behemoth they say a beleaguered country badly needs but Republicans call a bloated election-year wish list. The bill was sure to go nowhere in the GOP-led Senate, let alone reach President Donald Trump’s desk, where a promised veto awaited.
__ President Donald Trump expressed no concerns Friday about a rapid coronavirus test the White House has been relying on to ensure his safety, despite new data suggesting the test may return an inordinate share of false negatives. A preliminary study by New York University researchers reported problems with the test Trump and his deputies have have promoting as a “game changer.”
__ Brazil’s health minister resigned after less than a month on the job in a sign of continuing upheaval in the nation’s battle with the COVID-19 pandemic and President Jair Bolsonaro’s pressure for the nation to prioritize the economy over health-driven lockdowns. Nelson Teich’s resignation was confirmed by the Health Ministry.
__ Officially, the number of coronavirus virus cases in Yemen is low — 106 in the southern region, with 15 deaths. But a surge in deaths in Aden — more than 500 in just the past week, according to the city registrar — has raised the nightmare scenario that the virus is spreading swiftly in a country with almost no capacity to resist it.
__ Five sailors on a U.S. aircraft carrier that is sidelined in Guam due to a COVID-19 outbreak — have tested positive for the virus for the second time, raising questions about how troops that test positive can be reintegrated into the military, particularly on ships.
__ NFL teams can begin reopening their facilities on Tuesday if state and local governments will allow it.
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.
__ 1,458: Few states are rebooting from the coronavirus pandemic quicker than Texas, where stay-at-home orders expired May 1. Infections are still rising, including single-day highs of 1,458 new cases and 58 deaths on Thursday. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has defended the pace by emphasizing steadying hospitalization rates and pointing out Texas’ 1,200 deaths are still behind similarly big states, including California and Florida.
__ BE ACTIVE: Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings knew the national stay-at-home orders would be especially hard on young athletes and others trying to stay fit. With her own quest for a sixth Olympics on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, Walsh Jennings held video chats with dozens of volleyball clubs and teams — more than 4,500 people in all — with a message to remain active.
__ SONG CONTEST SILENCED: Over its many years, the Eurovision Song Contest has come to be a sign of the times. So it is perhaps fitting that, in coronavirus times, nothing will be happening Saturday at the scheduled venue of the Ahoy Hall in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak