The Trump administration’s leading health experts on safely dealing with the new coronavirus will be testifying in a Senate hearing by a videoconference this week after three of them and the committee’s chairman were exposed to people who tested positive for COVID-19.
Adding to a string of potentially awkward moments for President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence himself self-isolated for the weekend after a staff member tested positive. Pence leads Trump’s coronavirus task force.
The images of top administration officials taking such precautions come as states seek to loosen economic restrictions put in place to mitigate the virus’s spread.
Here are some of AP’s top stories Monday 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:
— Plastic spacing barriers and millions of masks appeared Monday on the streets of Europe’s newly reopened cities, as France and Belgium emerged from lockdowns, the Netherlands sent children back to school and Spain let people eat outdoors. All faced the delicate balance of trying to restart battered economies without fueling a second wave of coronavirus infections.
— Employees, business owners, police and trade unions in Britain are expressing confusion after the government switched from telling workers to stay at home to urging them to return to work — but preferably without getting near other people or using public transport.
— Global stocks have turned lower amid questions on how quickly government plans to ease lockdowns on public life might help economic activity pick up. European stocks lost early gains on Monday and Wall Street futures are down slightly.
— A second wave of infections in tightly packed foreign workers’ dormitories has caught the affluent Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore off-guard and exposed the danger of overlooking marginal groups in a health crisis. Infections have jumped more than a hundredfold in two months — from 226 in mid-March to over 23,000, the most in Asia after China and India.
— A majority of Americans disapprove of protests against restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the new coronavirus. That’s according to a new AP-NORC poll that also finds the still-expansive support for such limits, including restaurant closures and stay-at-home orders, has dipped.
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.
— 4: For the first time in New York City’s history, the subways stopped running for four hours a day last week. The shutdown between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. of the subways in New York’s 472 stations provided time for a cleaning to disinfect trains. It’s a concession that shows how the coronavirus pandemic has seized the gears of New York, one of the world’s hardest-hit cities.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— GRADUATE PERFORMANCE: Devastated by the cancellation of her graduate recital, a viola student was invited to perform instead on the Philadelphia Orchestra’s live webcast. The unique solution came about after the violist, 23-year-old Brooke Mead, posed a question in an orchestra webinar asking the musicians how they dealt with disappointment.
— STYLE OF THE TIME: The coronavirus has revived a hairstyle in East Africa, one with braided spikes that echo the virus’s distinctive shape. The style’s growing popularity is in part due to economic hardships linked to virus restrictions. It’s cheap, mothers say.