With many U.S. states lifting their restrictions according to their own timetables and needs, Americans are facing a bewildering multitude of decisions about what they should and should not do to protect themselves and their neighbors.
Is it safe now to join the crowds at the beach or go out to eat at a favorite restaurant? To visit the elderly parents you haven’t seen in nearly two months? The less-than-satisfying answer from the experts is: It depends.
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:
— The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate last quarter as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country and began triggering a recession that will end the longest expansion on record.
— A coronavirus vaccine is still months or years away, but groups that peddle misinformation about immunizations are already taking aim, potentially eroding confidence in what could be humanity’s best chance to defeat the virus.
— In cities around the world, public transport systems are the key to getting workers back on the job and restarting devastated economies, yet everything from trains to buses to ferries to bicycles will have to be re-imagined for the coronavirus era.
— It starts with pulling on head-to-toe protective gear. Then comes a brisk walk down a hospital corridor, triple-gloved hands pushing a rattling anesthesia cart toward a door that leads to a frightened patient, gasping for air. Hundreds of times every week during this pandemic, doctors and nurses treating critically ill COVID-19 patients steel themselves for a procedure that remains anything but routine.
— Seniors are at greater risk from COVID-19, and they now face added anxiety due to delays obtaining Medicare coverage. The delays stem from the closure of local Social Security offices to protect workers and the public during the pandemic.
— China, taking a step toward a return to business as normal, announced that its previously postponed national legislature session will be held in late May.
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.
— 1,000: The number of coronavirus-related deaths in India, which has shelved a plan to give the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to thousands of people in Mumbai’s crowded slums to prevent coronavirus infections.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— TOKYO-VACCINE — An IOC official disagrees with suggestions by some scientists and doctors that a vaccine for COVID-19 is needed to hold the Tokyo Games next summer.
— VIRUS OUTBREAK-TENNESSEE — Tennessee tourist spots like Casey Jones Village in Jackson have taken a financial hit since nonessential businesses closed in March as part of the response to the new coronavirus outbreak. But there’s hope for the future.