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What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

AP’s top stories Monday on the world’s coronavirus pandemic
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Posted at 7:42 AM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 09:42:24-04

NEW YORK (AP) — WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

Nations around the world are taking advantage of their flattening coronavirus infection curves to tentatively ease lockdowns, offering plenty of options for U.S. lawmakers and communities to consider. The plan is to open up while maintaining enough social social distancing to prevent new flareups of the virus.

The Trump administration and Congress expect an agreement today on an aid package of up to $450 billion to boost a small-business loan program that has run out of money and add funds for hospitals and COVID-19 testing. The burger chain Shake Shack says it has obtained new funding and will return the small-business loan of $10 million it got from the government.

A Kirkland, Washington, nursing home has become yet another example of the nation’s struggle to control the rapid spread of the coronavirus in facilities that care for the most frail and vulnerable. Cobble Hill Health Center has had 55 deaths it can only assume were caused by COVID-19, among the most of any such facility in the country.

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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:

1,553: India recorded its biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases on Monday. The government has eased one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to allow some manufacturing and agricultural activity to resume.

IN OTHER NEWS:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOSING FACE: The rise of the protective face mask has abruptly excised half of the face — and crucial visual cues — from our moment-to-moment human interactions.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NURSING HOMES: In recent days, France, Britain and Belgium have proposed relaxing isolating nursing home rules to ease the pain of families, and their locked-away loved ones.