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, a spike in deaths in Britain and New York and surges of reported new infections in Japan and India’s congested cities make it clear that the struggle is far from over.
And world leaders and health officials are fervently warning as Easter approaches that the hard-won gains in the fight against the coronavirus must not be jeopardized by relaxing social distancing.
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:
— Before the pandemic swept in, America’s biggest, loudest city often lived up to its own hype. Then the coronavirus all but shut it down. Over 24 hours, New Yorkers of all stripes join the battle for their city. For them, this will be nothing like just another Monday. Because long before the sun has risen, the clock has already begun counting down the latest, most punishing round in the fight for New York. Here’s AP’s coverage of the struggle to save a city under siege by a pandemic.
— The U.S. Strategic National Stockpile’s supply of N95 respirators, surgical masks, face shields, gowns and other essential items desperately needed to protect front-line medical workers treating coronavirus patients are nearly depleted. Documents show that about 90% of all the personal protective equipment in the stockpile has been distributed to state and local governments, with the remaining 10% held back for federal workers
— President Donald Trump has been telling voters that the U.S. economy will leap back to life “like a rocket,” stronger than ever after its bout with the coronavirus. But there is a reason economics is called the “dismal science.” There are emerging signs that any recovery will fail to match the speed and severity of the economic collapse that occurred in just a few weeks.
— The Trump administration has quietly shut down the nation’s asylum system for the first time in decades, using an obscure public health law. People seeking refuge in the U.S. are whisked to the nearest border crossing and returned to Mexico without a chance to seek asylum.
— Under lockdown, millions of women around the world can’t reach birth control. Millions of women in Africa, Asia and elsewhere are now out of reach of birth control and other sexual and reproductive health needs. Confined to their homes with husbands and others, they face unwanted pregnancies, unsure when they can reach the outside world again.
— Iran’s supreme leader suggested Thursday that mass gatherings may be barred through the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan amid the coronavirus pandemic. The typically frenetic streets of Iran’s capital, Tehran, have fallen silent and empty over recent days due to the new coronavirus outbreak that’s gripped the Islamic Republic.
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.
— 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 and cutting hair and baking bread and fixing a dripping faucet.
— PET THERAPY: Whether dog, cat or, yes, a hedgehog named Quillie Nelson, pets are proving just what the doctor ordered in lockdown.
— WIPED OUT: Finding toilet paper in a global pandemic is a struggle. That’s because it’s part of a very tight supply chain.