Governments battling a virus that has crossed borders with breathtaking speed pinned their hopes Tuesday on tests, technology and a coordinated approach to ease the tight restrictions on movement that have slowed the outbreak but strangled the global economy.
While the European Union looked into creating a COVID-19 smartphone app that could function across the bloc, governors on both U.S. coasts pledged to work together as they planned an easing of the confinement of millions. The main concern is to avoid a resurgence by the virus.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund said the world economy, battered by the coronavirus, will suffer its worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The IMF expects the global economy to shrink 3% this year before rebounding in 2021 with 5.8% growth, though it acknowledges prospects for a rebound next year are clouded by uncertainty.
Here are some of AP’s top stories Tuesday 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 is anxious to put the pandemic and its crippling economic crisis behind him ahead of the election in November, discussing with aides when social distancing can be rolled back. A team, expected to be formally announced as early as Tuesday, has begun meeting behind closed doors in the West Wing to tackle another matter paramount to the president: how to begin reopening the American economy. Meanwhile, governors insist they will not be pressured and will put safety in their states first, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted that the president is not an absolute monarch.
— The coronavirus is spreading in jails and detention centers, with more than 70 detainees in 12 states infected and hundreds of others under quarantine. Migrants say they need more masks, cleaning supplies and space for social distancing. The government says it’s reducing the number of detainees to slow the spread of the virus.
— For years, financial inequality has widened in the United States and elsewhere as wealth and income have become increasingly concentrated among the most affluent while millions struggle to get by. Now, the coronavirus outbreak has laid bare the human cost of that inequality, making it more visible and potentially worse.
— The $2.2 trillion federal rescue package could fail to deliver badly needed financial aid to thousands of smaller cities and counties where a majority of Americans live, according to documents and interviews with local officials. The coronavirus outbreak has blown holes in the budgets of communities as the costs of battling the outbreak skyrocket and critical sources of revenue like sales and income taxes plummet.
— Facing the same invisible enemy in the coronavirus pandemic, Iran and the United States remain locked in retaliatory pressure campaigns that now view the outbreak as just the latest battleground.
— China has been criticized in the West for its early mishandling of the health crisis due to politically motivated foot-dragging. Now it is seeking to change perceptions through what has been dubbed “mask diplomacy.” That’s a combination of soft power policy, political messaging and aid shipments designed to portray Beijing as a generous and efficient ally. That message has found fertile ground in places like Serbia and Hungary, whose leaders nurture close ties with Beijing and Moscow.
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.
— 25: The International Monetary Fund approved $500 million to cancel six months of debt payments for 25 of the world’s most impoverished countries so they can help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
— JACKALS EMERGE: With Tel Aviv in lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis, the sprawling park is all but empty. This has cleared the way for packs of jackals to take over a park in the heart of the city.
— LIFE WITHOUT MOVIE THEATERS: For more than a century, movie theaters have been a refuge, a communal escape, a place transporting people away from everything else. What now as they close amid the pandemic?