April 8th: What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

The Chinese city at the heart of the global pandemic, Wuhan, reopened Wednesday after 76 days in lockdown. Elsewhere, the economic, political and psychological toll of fighting the new coronavirus grew increasingly clear and more difficult to bear.

New York endured one of its darkest days so far, with the virus death toll surging past the number killed on 9/11. It recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths, its biggest one-day jump yet, for a statewide toll of nearly 5,500.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19, spent a second night in intensive care.

Here are some of AP’s top stories Wednesday 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:

— The pressures on intensive care units in Italy and Spain may have eased in recent days as new cases decline. But the psychological toll the pandemic has taken on the doctors and nurses who work there is only now beginning to emerge. Already, two nurses in Italy have killed themselves.

— President Donald Trump has lashed out at the World Health Organization while defending his own widely criticized early steps during the crisis. Trump threatened to freeze U.S. funding to the WHO, saying the international group “missed the call” on the pandemic.

— The head of the European Union’s top science organization has resigned in frustration at the height of the coronavirus crisis. The sudden resignation of Mauro Ferrari and his stinging criticism was bound to add pressure on EU institutions, which have been accused of not working together to battle the global pandemic.

— In the “new normal” that is America during the pandemic, the act of making plans has taken on a complicated new meaning. People are craving structure amid the uncertainty and chaos, and for some, that means holding on to plans, both short-term and long-term, they had before the virus struck. Or it means making new plans — for a summer wedding or a fall vacation. But how can one make plans when nobody knows how long the current situation will last?

— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for people who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are without symptoms. The public health agency and the White House are considering an announcement as soon as Wednesday.

— Israeli Jews have been forced to scale back or cancel beloved traditions and rituals marking the start of Passover, the holiday celebrating the Israelites’ freedom from Egyptian bondage. The measures come as Israel struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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AP FACT CHECK:

Defending his administration’s response to the coronavirus, President Donald Trump falsely asserted that travelers at U.S. airports are being routinely tested for COVID-19, made groundless accusations against a government watchdog and wrongly claimed the Obama administration did nothing during a flu pandemic.

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Have tips for the AP Fact Check team? Contact FactCheck@ap.org

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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:

— 76: Wuhan was released from a 76-day coronavirus lockdown on Wednesday, and it’s as if the Chinese city where the pandemic started late last year has awakened from a long slumber.

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IN OTHER NEWS:

— SAMBA SCHOOLS: Rio de Janeiro’s samba schools usually spend the year furiously sewing costumes for the city’s blowout Carnival celebration. Now, they’re making medical outfits for hospital workers who face a surge of coronavirus patients.

— HOUSE CALLS: A small Christian charity that provides help to about 1,300 poor families across Germany is now delivering food, diapers, soap and children’s games to their doorstep.

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

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