What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus hit 100,000 on Friday as Christians around the globe marked a Good Friday unlike any other — in front of computer screens instead of in church pews. The U.S. had over 18,000 dead, putting it on track to overtake Italy for the country with the highest death toll.

Public health officials and religious leaders alike warned people against violating lockdowns and social distancing rules over Easter and allowing the virus to come storming back. Authorities resorted to roadblocks and other means to discourage travel.

With economies hit hard by the pandemic, some governments faced mounting pressure to restart some industries and fend off further economic devastation from the coronavirus.

Here are some of AP’s top stories Friday 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.


THE FIGHT FOR NEW YORK: Listen to AP’s coronavirus podcast, “Ground Game: Inside the Outbreak,” for an interview with three AP reporters who worked on “24 Hours: The Fight for New York,” a multiformat package following 10 New Yorkers as they negotiate life in a city transformed by the virus.



—Pope Francis presided over a torch-lit Good Friday procession in an otherwise empty St. Peter’s Square, with nurses and doctors among those holding a cross as the COVID-19 pandemic upended the traditional ceremony at Rome’s Colosseum.

—More than half of a group of severely ill coronavirus patients improved after receiving an experimental antiviral drug, although there’s no way to know the odds of that happening without the drug because there was no comparison group. Doctors say more testing is needed for remdesivir, a Gilead Sciences drug that has shown promise against other coronaviruses in the past.

—The Trump administration and congressional leaders appear poised to launch bipartisan talks on a new coronavirus aid package with hopes for action as soon as next week. Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer says the goal is to replenish a $350 billion “paycheck protection” program for businesses that’s being depleted.

—Inmates at a Kansas prison where at least 28 people are sickened by the coronavirus rampaged through offices, breaking windows and setting small fires for several hours before the facility was secured. Two inmates were injured in the disturbance involving about 20 men at the Lansing Correctional Facility.

—New York COVID-19-related deaths jumped yet again by more than 700 in a day, but hospitals battling the outbreak reported encouraging news as the number of people hospitalized stayed relatively flat. Still, the New York metropolitan area accounted for more than half the nation’s over 18,000 deaths.



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.



$550 BILLION: Governments from the 19 countries that use the euro have agreed on measures that could provide more than a half-trillion euros ($550 billion) for companies, workers and health systems to cushion the economic impact of the virus outbreak.



—NURSES’ QUESTIONS: U.S. nurses are facing a fundamental question that pits their professional principles against their personal welfare: Did they sign up to become heroes?

— SOCIAL DISTANCE POWWOWS: With the largest powwows in the country canceled and postponed amid the spread of the coronavirus, tribal members have found a new outlet online with the Social Distance Powwow.

— THE HOWLING: From California to New York, some Americans are taking a moment each night to howl as a way of thanking the health care workers and first responders. It’s an American twist on the applause and singing for besieged health care workers in Europe.

— VIRTUAL SEDER: Rabbi Shlomo Segal is among the spiritual leaders adapting to a Passover in the shadow of COVID-19. The 40-year-old self-described “liberal” Orthodox rabbi has brought his Seder to YouTube.


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

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