The coronavirus pandemic has thrown millions out of work and devastated economies worldwide, and governments are struggling with the delicate balance between keeping people safe from a highly contagious virus and making sure they can still make a living or even have enough to eat.
The United States’ top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the economy in parts of the country could have a “rolling reentry” as early as next month, provided health authorities can quickly identify and isolate people who will inevitably be infected.
Fauci also said that earlier mitigation could have saved lives but that knowing when to take such steps is “complicated.” Those comments seemed to draw the ire of President Donald Trump.
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:
— New York City is in danger of running out of swabs for COVID-19 tests and should test only hospitalized patients, the city health department said in a memo to health care providers over the weekend.
— Blood tests for the coronavirus could play a key role in deciding whether millions of Americans can safely return to work and school. But public health officials warn that the current “Wild West” of unregulated tests is creating confusion that could ultimately slow the path to recovery.
— Voters may be seeking solace, as well as solutions, in this year’s presidential race, one still being reshaped by the unprecedented public health and economic turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic.
— The notion of decision fatigue has been around a long time — long before the coronavirus. But with many previous insignificant decisions, the ramifications from mistakes were often low. Now, though, the most fleeting of daily choices — no matter where you are — have taken on the most monumental of potential consequences.
— As countries across Europe have restricted the movement of their citizens, Sweden stands out for what the country’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, calls a “low-scale” approach that is “much more sustainable” over a longer period. The softer approach means that schools for younger children, restaurants and most businesses are still open, creating the impression that Swedes are living their lives as usual.
— A tweet by Japan’s prime minister urging citizens to stay home to stop the coronavirus appears to have rubbed many people frustrated by his handling of the crisis the wrong way. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week declared a monthlong state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures, asking people there to stay at home. But the policy is voluntary and doesn’t come with compensation for cash-strapped workers. The video shows Abe seated at home, stroking a dog, sipping from a cup and reading a book.
AP FACT CHECK:
— Despite what President Donald Trump repeatedly says, voting fraud is rare. Trump claimed in a tweet Saturday that mail-in voting “increases the risk of crime and VOTER FRAUD!” An AP Fact Check finds some election studies have shown a slightly higher incidence of mail-in voting fraud compared with in-person voting but the overall risk is extremely low.
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.
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.
204: There are 204 days until the U.S. presidential election in November, and with so much uncertainty over the coronavirus outbreak politics are a long way from getting back to normal.