Europe’s extensive social welfare net is showing signs of fraying under economic strain from the coronavirus, as protests erupted for a second day in Spain on Friday against layoffs by French carmaker Renault, while Italy’s chief central banker warned that “uncertainty is rife.”
India reported another record increase in cases and Pakistan a record number of deaths.
As cases steadily rise across Africa, too, officials who are losing the global race for equipment and drugs are scrambling for homegrown solutions.
In the U.S., sky-high unemployment was stoking fears the virus is doing deep and potentially long-lasting damage to the world’s largest economy.
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.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
—- A debate in Congress over whether to extend $600 a week in federally provided benefits to the unemployed looks sure to intensify with the number of people receiving the aid now topping 30 million — one in five workers.
— South Africa says it has a backlog of nearly 100,000 unprocessed tests for the coronavirus, a striking example of the painful shortage of testing kits across Africa as cases steadily rise.
— In Brazil, couples have begun turning to drive-thru marriage to avoid the coronavirus. At a notary on the western outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, 15 couples were married on Thursday alone.
— The pandemic has upended international travel, and some organ and human tissue transplant services are being forced to find creative solutions to get their deliveries to patients on time.
— For Orthodox Christians, the use of a shared spoon by a priest to distribute Holy Communion is a tradition that dates back thousands of years. Contrary to science, the Greek Orthodox Church insists is impossible for any disease, including the coronavirus, to be transmitted through Holy Communion.
— Alabama’s sparsely populated Lowndes County has the sad distinction of having both the state’s highest rate of COVID-19 cases and its worst unemployment rate.
— The Spanish soccer league is contemplating adding virtual crowds to the television broadcast of matches that will be played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
— One: New Zealand has all but eradicated the coronavirus from its shores with just one person in the nation of 5 million still infected.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— ONE GOOD THING: Hassan N’Dam, former middleweight boxing champion of the world, wanted to repay the French hospital that cared for his father-in-law through his bout with COVID-19. It occurred to him that he held the answer in his own hands. He would give the staff boxing lessons, to help them relieve the tension of long shift work during the pandemic.
— RESTAURANT ROBOTS: When Shaosong Hu saw robots serving food in China last fall, he knew exactly what he wanted for his restaurant in the Dutch beachside town of Renesse. He just didn’t have a clue how useful they would prove.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak