What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

National News

A young boy rides his bike past a deer wandering around the shopping area in Nara, Japan, Thursday, March 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A desperate race to find medical equipment continues as the World Health Organization warns that the outbreak is acceleratingand calls on countries to take strong, coordinated action.

And as virus deaths accelerate in the U.S., President Donald Trump has gone against the advice of scientists and top health experts, claiming he will reopen the country and its ailing economy in weeks, not months.

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:

— A series of missteps at America’s top public health agency created a critical shortage of reliable tests for the coronavirus.Those stumbles at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hobbled the federal response as the pandemic spread across the nation.

— Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abewill propose a one-year postponement for the Tokyo Olympics during talks with IOC President Thomas Bach, Japan’s NHK public television reported Tuesday.

— A Phoenix-area man has died and his wife is in critical conditionafter the couple took an additive used to clean fish tanks known as chloroquine phosphate, similar to the drug used to treat malaria.

— Some experts don’t rule out a downturn in the United States that rivals the magnitude of the 1930s Depression.

— The virus and the nation’s crashing economy are scrambling the themes both political parties thought would carry them to victory in November.Gone are the hopes of Trump and GOP candidates to run on a strong economy. And Democrats must see if they can attack Trump’s competence when many Americans crave a return to normalcy.

— Low-income families still need food. Homeless people need beds. For decades, American nonprofits have relied on volunteers to help the country’s neediest. Now they aren’t able to show up.

— In the debut episode of “Ground Game: Inside the Outbreak,”host Ralph Russo talks to News Director for Greater China Ken Moritsugu about the lessons the rest of the world can learn from Asia to stem the spread of COVID-19.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.

Here are the symptoms ofthe 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.

Misinformation overload: How to separate fact from fiction and rumor from deliberate efforts to mislead.

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ONE NUMBER:

100 MILLION:There are more than 100 million people in Egypt, which is now under a two-week, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, to help fight the spread of the virus.

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IN OTHER NEWS:

VIRUS BOT: While other industries struggle, Liu Zhiyong says China’s virus outbreak is boosting demand for his knee-high, bright yellow robots to deliver groceries and patrol malls looking for shoppers who fail to wear masks. Liu, CEO of ZhenRobotics Corp., is among millions of entrepreneurs who are gradually getting back to work after China declared victory over the coronavirus that shut down the world’s second-largest economy.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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