What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
A staggering 16.8 million Americans have been thrown onto the unemployment rolls in just three weeks, underscoring the terrifying speed with which the coronavirus outbreak has brought world economies to a near standstill.
Meanwhile, residents in Wuhan, China, t he city where the coronavirus pandemic began, are cautiously returning to shopping and strolling in the streets.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care, where he was treated for three days with COVID-19, his office said Thursday.
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:
— Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic is threatening international peace and security — “potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease.” Guterres said the crisis has “hindered international, regional and national conflict resolution efforts, exactly when they are needed most.”
— The virus outbreak has put much of American life on hold, but the combatants in the nation’s culture wars aren’t taking a cease-fire. In a country deeply divided over politics, some liberals are accusing conservatives of using this crisis to advance long-held goals, especially in the areas of access to abortion and the ballot box. Conservatives have complained about restrictions on church services and gun shops.
— The coronavirus pandemic will push the global economy into the deepest recession since the Great Depression, with the world’s poorest countries suffering the most, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Thursday.
— U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic “is having devastating social and economic consequences for women and girls” that could reverse limited progress toward gender equality over the last 25 years.
— Oil-producing countries including those of the OPEC cartel and Russia are trying to strike a global deal to pump less crude in a bid to limit a crash in prices that, while welcome for consumers, has been straining government budgets and pushing energy companies toward bankruptcy. Late Thursday OPEC and Russia reportedly had reached a tentative deal to cut production by 10 million barrels per day for two months.
— With the federal stockpile drained of protective gear, states are turning to each other, private industries and anyone who can donate in a desperate bid to get respirators, gloves and other supplies to doctors, nurses and other front-line workers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Wednesday that the federal cupboard is officially bare at least through this month after it was able to fulfill just a sliver of states’ requests.
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.
— 6.6 MILLION: With a startling 6.6 million people seeking jobless benefits last week, the United States has reached a grim landmark: Roughly one in 10 workers have lost jobs in just the past three weeks.
— SIGNS OF HOPE: High schools across the country are turning on stadium lights at night in a sign of hope amid closures due to the coronavirus. The movement has been fueled by social media with the hashtag #BeTheLight — across the country.
— SERIOUS ABOUT SAFETY: Nova Knight is 5 and very serious about keeping others safe during the coronavirus outbreak. The Fairbanks, Alaska, resident has made a video that’s been viewed more than 18,000 times and drawn the praise of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
— YESTERDAY’S SKILLS: Millions of people who are trying to stay home are being driven by necessity — or boredom — to relearn some old household skills. That means things like mending clothes, cutting hair, baking bread and fixing a dripping faucet.
— WIPED OUT: Finding toilet paper in a global pandemic is a struggle. That’s because it’s part of a very tight supply chain.