What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
The world’s economic pain was on full display Thursday with new bleak evidence from Europe and the United States of the mounting devastation wrought on jobs and economies by coronavirus lockdown measures.
The European economy shrank a record 3.8% in the first quarter as lockdowns turned cities into ghost towns and plunged nations into recession. The drop was the biggest since eurozone statistics began in 1995 and compares with a 4.8% contraction in the United States.
Here are some of AP’s top stories Thursday 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:
— More than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the U.S. economy slid further into a crisis that is becoming the most devastating since the 1930s.
— Amazon, which Americans are relying on heavily to stock up on goods, saw first-quarter sales skyrocketing in the first quarter but profits dropping 29% because of the rising costs to get all those packages shipped. In contrast, American Airlines and United Airlines lost a combined $4 billion as the pandemic triggered a sharp drop in air travel.
— U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the new coronavirus was “not manmade or genetically modified” but say they are still examining whether the origins of the pandemic trace to contact with infected animals or an accident at a Chinese lab. President Donald Trump and his allies have touted the as-yet-unproven theory that an infectious disease lab in Wuhan was the source of the pandemic.
— Americans are grappling with an essential question as they try to get the information they need to stay safe during the coronavirus crisis: Whom do you trust?
— In Michigan, hundreds of protesters, some armed with rifles, returned to the Capitol to denounce Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order. The Republican-led Michigan House refused to extend the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration and voted to authorize a lawsuit challenging Whitmer’s authority and actions to combat the pandemic.
— NASCAR will resume its season without fans starting May 17. It’s joining the UFC as the first major sports organizations to announce specific plans to return to play since the coronavirus pandemic shut down U.S. sports in mid-March. Elsewhere in sports, this year’s Little League World Series was canceled.
— Under Japan’s coronavirus state of emergency, people have been asked to stay home. Many are not. Some still have to commute to their jobs despite risks of infection, while others continue to dine out, picnic in parks and crowd into grocery stores with scant regard for social distancing.
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.
— 60,000: The number President Donald Trump predicted would be the U.S. death count from the coronavirus pandemic. The reported toll has now edged past Trump’s marker.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— BRITISH WWII VETERAN — Capt. Tom Moore celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday, having raised some 30 million pounds ($37 million) for the National Health Service after completing a challenge to mark the milestone by shuffling the length of his garden 100 times. His sunny attitude in a dark moment brought smiles to a country locked down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
— BROADWAY SERENADE — Theaters are shuttered, but somehow, Brian Stokes Mitchell has found a way to keep singing on Broadway. Mitchell looks to serenade crews of ambulances, fire engines, police cars or medical workers from the urgent care facility near his Manhattan apartment.