What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
Rising anxiety may be the common denominator as countries around the world gradually emerge from lockdowns due to the new coronavirus.
What a return to normal looks like varies widely. There are hungry migrant workers in India finally able to catch trains back to their home villages and wealthy shoppers in Maseratis and Rolls-Royces returning to the boutiques of America’s iconic Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. In Italy, once-packed restaurants and cafes are facing a huge financial hit as they reopen with strict social distancing rules.
And there are worries about job security. Airline engine maker Rolls-Royce announced plans Wednesday to cut 9,000 workers as it grapples with the collapse in air travel due to the pandemic.
Here are some of AP’s top stories Wednesday 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:
— President Donald Trump says he wants to hold up coronavirus funding for Michigan and Nevada because the two battleground states are trying to make it easier to vote during the outbreak. Trump erroneously said Michigan was sending absentee ballots to all its voters, when the state actually announced it will be sending applications for the absentee ballots. Nevada actually sent ballots to voters for its June 9 primary, a move by the Republican secretary of state that was cleared by a federal judge.
— New Jersey has launched a website to debunk rumors and hoaxes associated with the spread of the new coronavirus, following a false text message of an impending national lockdown that circulated widely across the United States. Similar actions are underway in other states to knock down potentially harmful misinformation.
— A county in the historically impoverished Mississippi Delta region has been dealt a serious economic blow by the new coronavirus. Thousands of casino employees along the Blues Highway south of Memphis, Tennessee, have been out of work for two months, causing deeper struggles in the region that the Rev. Jesse Jackson once referred to as “America’s Ethiopia.”
— The German government is banning use of subcontractors in the meat industry following a series of COVID-19 outbreaks linked to slaughterhouses. The proposal would require an industry that relies heavily on migrant workers from Eastern Europe to directly employ employees involved in slaughtering and meat processing.
— State-run media in Zimbabwe say close to two dozen people have escaped from coronavirus quarantine centers and others are illegally crossing the border from South Africa and not reporting to the centers. Hundreds of people have arrived by busload from South Africa, which has the highest number of confirmed infections in Africa, more than 17,000.
— A Missouri man has been put to death for fatally stabbing an 81-year-old woman nearly three decades ago, the first U.S. execution since the coronavirus pandemic took hold. The execution of Walter Barton was the first in the U.S. since Nathaniel Woods was put to death in Alabama on March 5. Ohio, Tennessee and Texas were among states calling off executions, and Texas delayed six executions due to the pandemic.
— The rate of fatal automobile crashes in the U.S. jumped dramatically in March even as people drove fewer miles due to stay-at-home orders.
— New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the largest city in the U.S. will offer free coronavirus tests at its 169 nursing homes and will provide staff to replace nursing home employees who test positive for the virus.
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.
— 693: Indonesia has recorded its highest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases as the government is preparing for a “new normal” by July. A health ministry official says infections rose by 693 cases, raising the total to more than 19,000. Some Indonesians believe there’s little commitment from the government and citizens to fight the virus. The country has carried out about 154,000 tests among the population of about 270 million.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— OPRAH’S OFFERINGS: Oprah Winfrey is donating money from her $12 million coronavirus relief fund to the cities she’s called home. Her Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation is providing grants to organizations dedicated to helping underserved communities in Chicago; Baltimore; Nashville, Tennessee; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Kosciusko, Mississippi, where she was born.
— PENCE PROMOTES PARKS: Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee to talk about the mental health benefits of spending time outdoors. The visit that included Deputy Secretary of Interior Katharine MacGregor was meant to highlight the second phase of a plan to reopen all park trails.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak