Nearly 3 million laid-off workers last week as the viral outbreak led more companies to slash jobs even though most states have begun to let some businesses reopen under certain restrictions.
Roughly 36 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the two months since the coronavirus first forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Still, the number of first-time applications has now declined for six straight weeks, suggesting that a dwindling number of companies are reducing their payrolls.
Here are some of AP’s top stories Thursday on the world’s coronavirus pandemic. Follow for updates through the day and for stories explaining some of its complexities.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:
— The Wisconsin Supreme Court Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home restrictions. The ruling means the state is essentially reopened ahead of the May 26 expiration date of Evers’ order, lifting caps on the size of gatherings, allowing people to travel as they please and allowing shuttered businesses to reopen,.
— Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who by many accounts has helped stem the state’s outbreak and avoided the full-blown disasters seen elsewhere, is against a Republican revolt over his stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns. Egged on by state GOP lawmakers, counties have threatened to defy his orders while at least a few business owners have reopened their doors.
__ The European Commission has of 10 million Chinese masks it purchased for health workers after two countries complained about the poor quality of the batches they received. After a first batch of 1.5 million masks was shipped to 17 member states and Britain, Poland ’s health minister said the 600,000 masks Polish authorities received did not have European certificates and failed to comply with the medical standards required.
— Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday the ahead of schedule in most of the country except for eight high-risk areas. It remains in effect in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido.
__ The European Medicines Agency predicted that there to treat the new coronavirus in the next few months and that a vaccine might even be approved in early 2021, in a “best-case scenario.” The head of the European regulator’s vaccines department said in a media briefing that approving medicines to treat COVID-19 might be possible “before the summer,” citing ongoing clinical trials.
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.
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.
TRACKING THE VIRUS: , 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.
— 200 BILLION: The pandemic will over $200 billion, according to Lloyds of London, who estimated that its own payouts are now on a par with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks or the combined impact of hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma in 2017. Lloyds, which as an insurance market pays out to insurers affected by disasters, says it expects to pay between $3 billion and $4.3 billion to insurance companies to help them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
— A BETTER VIEW: An operator of mobile platforms saw his equipment stand idle and realized too many their locked down elderly relatives. He has been driving his cranes to care homes in several towns across Belgium. Families are taken onto the platform carried upwards right in front of the window of an elderly relative.
— NO KISSING ALLOWED: There will be no more in South American soccer. And forget about exchanging jerseys, spitting or blowing noses on the field. The governing body of soccer in the region has released a series of specific regulations amid the coronavirus pandemic to protect everyone’s health when the Copa Libertadores, the continent’s biggest club competition, eventually resumes.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak