What you need to know today about the virus outbreak


Countries across Europe and beyond — joined in the U.S. by a cascade of states — moved to gradually reopen amid warnings that acting too quickly could enable the virus to come back with a vengeance

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:

— Countries across Europe and beyond — joined in the U.S. by a cascade of states — moved to gradually reopen amid warnings that acting too quickly could enable the virus to come back with a vengeance. That includes Spain soon to allow children out of their homes for brief periods and the planned reopening of the Copenhagen amusement park that inspired Walt Disney.

— Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says agreement has been reached on major elements of a nearly $500 billion coronavirus aid package for small businesses, including additional help for hospitals and virus testing. Schumer said the breakthrough came after post-midnight talks among Democratic and Republican leaders, along with Trump administration officials that included White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

— An Associated Press investigation has found companies with thousands of employees, past penalties from government investigations and risks of financial failure even before the coronavirus walloped the economy were among those receiving millions of dollars from a relief fund that Congress created to help small businesses through the crisis. The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to infuse small businesses with $349 billion in emergency loans that could help keep workers on the job and bills paid on time. But the AP found that at least 75 companies that received the aid were publicly traded and some had market values well over $100 million.

— Oil’s chaotic collapse deepened, and stocks around the world dropped as markets remain upside down amid concern that global economy incapacitated by the virus outbreak doesn’t need to burn as much fuel. The S&P 500 was down nearly 1.5% after the first half hour of trading, following larger losses across Europe and Asia.

— U.S. sales of existing homes cratered 8.5% in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. The decrease was the steepest since November 2015.

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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.

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ONE NUMBER:

— $5 Billion: U.S. hog farmers have endured an estimated $5 billion in losses for the industry amid restaurant closures.

IN OTHER NEWS:

— SPELLING BEE: The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been canceled for the first time since World War II. Organizers concluded there was “no clear path to safely set a new date in 2020,” meaning kids who are in eighth grade this year will miss their final opportunity to compete in the national finals.

— TOM BRADY: New Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was ejected from a park that is closed to the public. The six-time Super Bowl champion was spotted working out by himself at a downtown park, according to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak



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