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World News

    The world changed remarkably this past week — yet again, just as it did the week before, as the coronavirus marched across the world. No corner of the planet was safe, it seemed: If the virus itself wasn't upending lives, it was the isolation that spread as the world locked down or the economic repercussions of the fight. Associated Press journalists across the planet chronicled it. This guide to some of their words and images is a diary of a world at once on pause and in the middle of the biggest fight of its generation. More than perhaps anyone, front-line medical professionals are seeing the virus' effects up close — and taking the biggest risks. This series of portraits from Italy, showing some of them up close, puts faces with the facts. And in Iran, another hard-hit area, belief in a false treatment that was poisonous killed hundreds. New York City became a terrifying epicenter of the virus in the past week as a “cacophony of coughing” overran emergency rooms and health care workers worried they might be next. And as more was asked of Americans, an important question emerged: Are they ready for a once-in-a-generation kind of sacrifice? In addition to covering breaking news, the AP is focusing on several overall areas in its coverage. Here's a look at some of the most significant work from those areas over the past week. HEALTH AND SCIENCE: THE VIRUS, AND FIGHTING IT Scientists are scrambling to find ways to protect people from the coronavirus including collecting the blood of recovered patients to harvest the antibodies they’ve already produced to fight the virus. The excitement about treating the new virus with a malaria drug now used against lupus and rheumatoid arthritis along with an antibiotic is raising hopes, but the evidence that it works is thin. With capacity also stretched thin, U.S. hospitals are rushing to find beds for a coming flood of patients, opening older closed hospitals and repurposing other medical buildings. And in the world's most densely populated cities, how do you practice social distancing? The distancing rules are affecting U.S. seniors in nuanced ways. Some are resilient and say the coronavirus crisis reminds them of World War II rationing and past disease epidemics. Others are isolated and lonely in senior homes that have imposed visitor bans. Those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse face challenges, too, from a pandemic that requires distancing and isolation. And in Europe, political leaders are hailing a potential breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19: simple pin-prick blood tests or nasal swabs that can determine within minutes if someone has, or previously had, the virus. The tests could reveal the true extent of the outbreak, but some scientists have challenged their accuracy. THE ECONOMY: RECESSION LOOMS The effects of the pandemic reverberated through the world economy. Businesses shut down, millions of people lost jobs, and governments scrambled to put together aid packages. Feel like you had whiplash? You’re not alone. Never before have economies screeched to such a sudden, violent stop. Some economists see a downturn that could rival the Great Depression. The U.S. reported astronomical unemployment figures, quadrupling the previous record for claims, set in 1982. Congress passed a $2.2 trillion emergency relief package, which led to examinations of the ways that might help people stay afloat and answers about the one-time checks for most Americans and enhanced unemployment benefits included in the package. President Donald Trump vowed that the U.S. economy would be open for business by mid-April, but experts warned that it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. In Europe, the crisis is already challenging farmers, with closed borders preventing seasonal workers from showing up to harvest crops. And in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, we started to get a sense of how things might look when restrictions ease, with millions of people heading back to work as authorities began lifting the last of the controls that confined them to their home. In places just starting lockdowns, people whose jobs could continue came to terms with the realities of working from home, admiring each others’ kitchen cabinets on video conference calls and dealing with interruptions from kids and pets. And in a bit of brighter news, volunteers around the world banded together to sew masks for hospital workers facing shortages of protective equipment. GOVERNMENTS: ARE THEY ACCOUNTABLE? Questions of accountability are at the core of the coronavirus saga. Who is doing what, and are they doing right? Are abuses of power taking place? Where can — and should — nations, government and businesses do better to protect people? From Washington, a $2 trillion legislative package to shore up the economy was carefully written to prevent President Donald Trump and his family from profiting from the fund. But the fine print reveals that businesses owned by Trump and his family still may be eligible for some assistance. The nation's governors are trying to get what they need from Washington, and fast. But that means navigating the disorienting politics of dealing with Trump, an unpredictable president with a love for cable news and a penchant for retribution. The Pentagon was racing to shield vital missions even as it faced urgent calls for help on the civilian front. And for prisons around the United States, plagued for years by violence, misconduct and staffing shortages, the coronavirus pandemic throws gasoline on the fire. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has a scattershot policy on COVID-19 safety, and both advocates and even prison guards are calling for quick reform. INEQUALITY: THE STRUGGLING The world is getting used to a new normal of curfews, economic devastation and deep travel restrictions. For the people of Gaza, Sarajevo, Lebanon and other places that have known war and siege, this is all too familiar. Recalling life under siege in Kashmir, one man remembers: “It helped us to rediscover the family and social talk.' Overlooked people and communities everywhere are struggling with the new coronavirus. There are the Americans who’ve had their water shut off in an age when hand washing could save your life, and the smaller communities that are dealing with the crisis. Two families in San Francisco, one rich and one poor, face very different struggles as they navigate this frightening time. In this view from rural America, we meet people and communities filled with fear that, despite the natural social distancing there, the pandemic is coming. And in Europe, the mostly deserted streets of virus-riddled Spain are still populated with homeless people, as documented in a sobering photo essay. THE RIPPLE EFFECT: SOCIETY AND CULTURE As the virus spreads, life changes — for right now and, maybe in some cases, for the long term as well. People stuck at home changed entire family configurations, leading to some couples trying to figure out new challenges — and some partners and children becoming potentially more vulnerable to abuse. Other families drew closer, some by taking walks in their neighborhood, as seen in this profile of a Virginia community. More restaurant- and takeout-focused diners turned to — or turned back to — cooking. And laughter, long a go-to expression in tough times, was bursting forth in unusual, virus-specific ways. In Lebanon, COVID-19 managed to do what a string of wars could not: shut down nightlife. In France, where going out for the morning baguette is an irrepressible part of life, the push to isolate was creating new conversations about it. And an American milestone, baseball's opening day, passed without a single crack of a bat in ballparks that were empty and desolate. 'ONE GOOD THING' AP’s new daily series “One Good Thing” is designed to tell stories about the kindness of strangers and those individuals around the world who sacrifice for others during the outbreak. That means a sailmaker in Maine making masks and university veterinary departments loaning ventilators to ill-equipped hospitals. And in Berlin, “United We Stream” was dreamed up as a way to keep the moribund nightlife financially healthy while entertaining a quarantined city. GROUND GAME: INSIDE THE OUTBREAK Tune in daily to the virus edition of AP's “ Ground Game ” podcast, where host Ralph Russo taps the expertise of AP's global team covering the coronavirus story. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • President Donald Trump is raising the idea of what he's calling a quarantine involving New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, states hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. But there are questions as to whether the federal government has the power to do so. Trump says he was thinking it would just be “for a short period of time if we do it at all.” The United States has more confirmed coronavirus infections than any other country. Cities including Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans are growing as hotspots of infection, while New York City continues to be pummeled. Nurses there are calling for more masks and other gear to safeguard themselves against the virus that has so far sickened more than 52,000 people and killed over 700 in New York state, mostly in the city. New York's governor has delayed the state's presidential primary from April to June to keep people from gathering during the coronavirus pandemic. More than a dozen states have delayed some elections, in some cases including their presidential primaries. Here are some of AP's top stories Saturday 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: — President Donald Trump says he is considering some type of an enforceable quarantine to prevent people in New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut from traveling. — The United States leads the world in of confirmed coronavirus infections, with cities such as Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans growing as hotspots. New York City continues to be pummeled by the outbreak. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delays his state's presidential primary from April until June. — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board domestic flights or intercity trains. The requirement will go into effect Monday. — Even though much of the U.S. has closed everything but food stores and medical facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic, many places down South remain open. — Census workers in the U.S. have to take a different approach to collecting information. Nonprofits and civic organizations leading census outreach efforts are pivoting to digital strategies. — Australian authorities press ahead with plans to fly 800 cruise ship passengers to Germany t his weekend. The ship, the Artania, is docked at Fremantle. — Thousands of tourists escaping cold weather in Europe are scrambling to find alternative ways to return home from Asia. — Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. ___ 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. Misinformation overload: How to separate fact from fiction and rumor from deliberate efforts to mislead. 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. ___ IN OTHER NEWS: PRISONS AS EPICENTERS: Health experts say prisons and jails are considered a potential epicenter for America’s coronavirus pandemic. Inmates share cells and sit elbow-to-elbow at dining areas. VIRUS HITS POLICE DEPARTMENTS: More than a fifth of Detroit’s police force is quarantined; two officers have died from coronavirus and at least 39 have tested positive, including the chief of police. AP PHOTOS: The doctors and nurses on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • Another member of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet has developed symptoms of COVID-19, as the number of people with the coronovrius to die in the U.K. passed the 1,000 mark Saturday. Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said he had symptoms of the disease and was self-isolating a day after the prime minister and Britain's health secretary revealed they tested positive for the virus and were experiencing mild symptoms. Johnson. 55. is the highest-profile political leader to have contracted the virus. Jack sat beside him in the House of Commons on Wednesday before Parliament shut down until at least April 21 to reduce the risk of infections. Business Secretrary Alok Sharma said Johnson continues to show only 'mild symptoms' of coronavirus. “He continues to lead the government's effort in combating Covid-19,'' Sharma told reporters, 'This morning he held a video conference call and he will continue to lead right from the front on this. 'What this has reminded us is that no one is immune and that is precisely why we ask people to follow the Government advice in terms of staying at home where they are able to do that,'' Sharma said. Johnson has been accused of failing to follow the British government's distancing measures after he, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, 41, and the chief medical officer of England began self-isolating with symptoms Friday. The medical officer, Dr. Chris Whitty, has been advising the prime minister during the virus pandemic and not said if he was tested. The editor of the respected British medical journal The Lancet published a scathing editorial Saturday that criticized the government for doing too little, too late to protect public health and leaving the U.K.'s public health system “wholly unprepared for this pandemic.” Lancet editor Richard Horton wrote that despite numerous warnings, Britain's strategy for containing the virus failed, 'in part, because ministers didn't follow WHO's advice to 'test, test, test' every suspected case. They didn't isolate and quarantine. They didn't contact trace. “These basic principles of public health and infectious disease control were ignored, for reasons that remain opaque.” Horton said. Keith Willett, the National Health Service's strategic incident director for COVID-19, disputed the editorial’s conclusions. He said the NHS freed up 33,000 beds for virus patients - a third of all hospital capacity -and enabled 18,000 nurses and doctors to return to practice. Three new makeshift hospitals are being built. “In respect of our NHS responsibilities and response, the facts clearly speak for themselves,' Willett said. NHS employees have begun getting tested for the virus, a move seen as helping get self-isolating staff members back on the job. The issue of health workers going into self-isolation has proved to be a big problem for the NHS because workers are sometimes in that position because they have an ill family member, not because they themselves are infected. Meanwhile, authorities released photos of the inside of the ExCel center, an exhibition space which is being converted into a makeshift hospital. It will have two wards, and ultimately have a capacity of 4,000. Initially, however, it will house some 500 beds with ventilators and oxygen. The U.K. had 17,300 confirmed virus cases as of Saturday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. British officials reported that the number of deaths increased by 260 from a day earlier, bringing the country's total for virus-related deaths to 1,019. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • Guinea has voted to change its constitution, according to provisional results from a referendum that could see the West African country's president remain in power for two more terms. Nearly 92% of voters on March 22 supported the change, according to the head of Guinea’s electoral commission, Amadou Salifou Kebe, who gave the results late Friday. The proposal would keep a two-term limit on presidencies, but increase the length of each term from five years to six. President Alpha Conde, whose second and final term ends in December, has implied that his previous terms served would not count, meaning the 82-year-old could remain in office for another 12 years. A coalition of opposition and civil society groups, the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution, demonstrated against the proposal and boycotted the referendum. Opposition parties said at least 10 people were killed in violence surrounding Sunday’s vote, while the government said 4 died. Despite the boycott, violence and fears surrounding the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, the turnout was 61%, according to Kebe. Guineans also voted for National Assembly seats.
  • Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos. Elsewhere, officers were captured in mobile phone footage whacking people with batons. Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. Health experts say the virus’ spread, though still at an early stage, resembles the arc seen in Europe, adding to widespread anxiety. Cases across Africa were set to climb above 4,000 late Saturday. Abuses of the new measures by authorities are an immediate concern. Minutes after South Africa’s three-week lockdown began Friday, police screamed at homeless people in downtown Johannesburg and went after some with batons. Some citizens reported the police use of rubber bullets. Fifty-five people across the country were arrested. The country leads Africa with more than 1,000 cases. In an apparent show of force on Saturday, South Africa's military raided a large workers' hostel in the Alexandra township where some residents had defied the lockdown. In Rwanda, the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a lockdown, police have denied that two civilians shot dead Monday were killed for defying the new measures, saying the men attacked an officer after being stopped. And Zimbabwe, where police are widely criticized by human rights groups for deadly crackdowns, is set to enter a three-week lockdown on Monday. The country's handful of virus cases already threatens to overwhelm one of the world's most fragile health systems. In Kenya, outrage over the the actions of police was swift. “We were horrified by excessive use of police force” ahead of the curfew that began Friday night, Amnesty International Kenya and 19 other human rights groups said in a statement issued Saturday. “We continue to receive testimonies from victims, eyewitnesses and video footage showing police gleefully assaulting members of the public in other parts of the country.” The tear gas caused hundreds of people trying to reach a ferry in the port city of Mombasa ahead of the overnight curfew to touch their faces as they vomited, spat and wiped away tears, increasing the chance of the virus’ spread, the rights groups said. Even some health workers reported being intimidated as they tried to provide services after the 7 p.m. curfew. The police actions were unacceptable and “brutal,” the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops' Justice and Peace Commission said in a separate statement. “I am appealing to our people to make it very unnecessary for them to engage with police by staying at home,” Kenya's Cabinet secretary for health, Mutahi Kagwe, said. “I am also urging the police that people must be treated humanely.” The country has 38 virus cases. Kenya’s interior ministry on Saturday replied to criticism in a statement saying the curfew 'is meant to guard against an apparent threat to public health. Breaking it is not only irresponsible but also puts others in harm’s way.” Kenya's government has not said how many people have been arrested. Because courts are also affected by virus prevention measures, all but serious cases will now be dealt with at police stations, the government has said. That means anyone detained for violating curfew faces time in crowded cells. The Law Society of Kenya will go to court to challenge the curfew on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and has been abused by police, president Nelson Havi said in a statement. The penalty for breaking a curfew is not corporal punishment, he added. “It is evident that COVID-19 will be spread more by actions of police than of those claimed to have contravened the curfew,” Havi said. For most people, the new 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. If Kenya goes further and imposes a lockdown, “there is bound to be violence,” said James Shikwati, an economist. People in poor neighborhoods of cities like the capital, Nairobi, will need a way to access food, water and sanitation. “It will mean for the first day, maybe, they stay indoors,' he said. “Then the second day, when they are hungry, they will move out.” ___ Tom Odula in Kenya and Nqobile Ntshangase and Jerome Delay in Johannesburg contributed. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ 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.
  • China sent a plane loaded with medical personnel and supplies Saturday to help Pakistan fight the spread of the coronavirus in one of the world's most populous nations. Across the Middle East and elsewhere, the outbreak has raised concerns that health systems strapped by multiple wars, refugee crises and unstable economies won't be able to handle a growing numbers in cases. Iran is battling the worst outbreak in the region and state TV said Saturday another 139 people had died from the virus. That pushed the total fatalities in Iran to 2,517 amid 35,408 confirmed cases. China has sought to portray itself as a global leader in the fight against the outbreak, which began a few months ago in its Wuhan province. The plane carrying aid to Pakistan was met at the capital's airport Saturday by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureishi, who greeted the arriving Chinese doctors and officials. China had previously sent ventilators and masks to Pakistan, a key link in China's ambitious multi-billion-dollar One Road Project linking south and central Asia with China. China is also a key military supplier for nuclear-armed Pakistan, having supplied the country with missiles capable of carrying atomic weapons. Pakistan, with a population of 220 million, has 1,408 confirmed cases of the virus, including 11 deaths from the illness it causes, COVID-19. Most of the infected people there were travelers returning from neighboring Iran. Most people infected by the virus only experience mild symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover within a few weeks. But the virus can cause severe respiratory illness and death, particularly in older patients or those with underlying health problems. Pakistan has closed its borders with both Iran and Afghanistan, but has come under widespread criticism for its initial lax response to the virus. Even as the pandemic spread to the country, Pakistani authorities allowed tens of thousands of Islamic clerics from around the world to congregate for three days outside the eastern city of Lahore. Some 200 of the clerics are now quarantined at the site of the gathering, a sprawling compound belonging to an Islamic missionaries group, Tableeghi Jamaat. Many of the visiting clerics at the conference returned to their home countries, some of them carrying the coronavirus. The first two reported cases in the Gaza Strip attended the three-day gathering in Pakistan, and are now under quarantine in Gaza. Other linked cases have emerged elsewhere in the Middle East and Central Asia. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has refused to impose a countrywide lockdown saying it would devastate the country's poor, but ordered non-essential businesses closed, including restaurants, money changers and wedding halls. As of Saturday, the government still had not ordered mosques closed nationwide, instead relying on recommendations to worshippers not to gather for weekly Friday prayers. Pakistani officials are reluctant to defy local hard-line Islamic leaders, who can whip up mobs to protest any perceived insults to religion. Some of these clerics have taken to social media to urge the faithful to fill the mosques, saying it is their religious obligation. Pakistan's federal health authorities say the outbreak is so far concentrated in Punjab province, with 490 confirmed cases there, and Sindh province, which has 457 confirmed infections. Other cases are spread throughout several other regions, including the capital, Islamabad. Health authorities in the country's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province reported one additional death Saturday, a woman in the district of Dir. Ajmal Wazir, a spokesman for the provincial government, said the woman fell sick after returning from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, before dying in a government hospital where she tested positive for the coronavirus. In Iran, officials have repeatedly insisted they have the outbreak under control, despite concerns it could overwhelm the country's health facilities. Iran's government has faced widespread criticism for not acting faster to contain the virus. Only in recent days have authorities ordered nonessential businesses to close and banned travel between cities — long after other nations in the region imposed sweeping lockdowns. In Egypt the country's chief prosecutor warned that anyone convicted of spreading “fake news and rumors” about the coronavirus could be fined or sentenced to up to five years in prison. Public prosecutor Hamada el-Sawy's statement came just days after Egypt expelled a correspondent for The Guardian newspaper over a report citing a study that challenged the official count of coronavirus cases in the Arab world’s most populous country. Egypt's Health Ministry has confirmed 576 cases of the virus and reported six additional fatalities, bringing the number of dead to 36. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland on Saturday urged the country's warring groups to suspend fighting in and around the capital, Tripoli, as “an absolute necessity' to allow public health officials across the divided country to contain the epidemic. Libya's health system is near the point of collapse after years of civil war. It has so far reported three confirmed cases of coronavirus. Authorities in Gaza, which has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since the Hamas militant group seized power there in 2007, have reported nine confirmed cases. Gaza's health care infrastructure has been severely eroded by years of conflict and isolation. A major outbreak in the territory, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians, could be extremely difficult to contain. Organizers of weekly demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel frontier said they would cancel a rally that was scheduled for next week to abide by guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus. Khaled al-Batsh, head of the Great March of Return committee, said the rally was to mark the second anniversary of the protest movement. ___ Associated Press writers Sarah El Deeb in Beirut, Fares Akram in Gaza and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report.
  • Authorities sent a fleet of buses to the outskirts of India's capital on Saturday to meet an exodus of migrant workers desperately trying to reach their home villages during the world's largest coronavirus lockdown. Thousands of people, mostly young male day laborers but also families, fled their New Delhi homes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown that began on Wednesday and effectively put millions of Indians who live off daily earnings out of work. Construction projects, taxi services, housekeeping and other informal sector employment came to a sudden halt. Modi said the extreme measure was needed to halt the spread of the coronavirus in India, which has confirmed 775 cases and 19 deaths, and where millions live in cramped conditions without regular access to clean water. India's finance ministry announced a 1.7 trillion ($22 billion) economic stimulus package that will include delivering grains and lentil rations for three months to 800 million people, around 60% of the world's second-most populous country. But thousands of India's most vulnerable, who fear dying not of the disease caused by the new virus but rather of starvation, have decided not to wait. Ram Bhajan Nisar, a painter, his wife and two children, ages 5 and 6, were part of a party of 15 who set off by foot from New Delhi to Gorakhpur, a village on the border with Nepal some 650 kilometers (400 miles) away. “How can we eat if we don't earn?” Nisar said, adding that his family had enough to make it four or five days without work, but not the full three weeks of the stay-at-home order. The government of Uttar Pradesh state, which borders New Delhi, sent a fleet of public and private buses with room for 52,000 people to a highway overpass area on the Delhi border where thousands were stranded, according to state government spokesman Awanish Awasthi. The government also dispatched medical teams to screen bus passengers at city bus stops. At the stops, police jeeps and vans will ferry people the rest of the way to their villages, Awasthi said. Nisar said Saturday that a bus had taken his family overnight from the border overpass area to the Uttar Pradesh district of Shahjahanpur. From there, they walked and hitchhiked on a farm tractor trolley, their hunger temporarily abated by a meal in a Sikh temple and handouts from good samaritans on the road as they inched closer to home. They planned to wait at a bus stop for government transport to take them the rest of the way. If no bus stopped, Nisar said, the group would continue walking or hitchhiking until they reached their villages. Arvind Kejriwal, the top elected official in New Delhi, said on Twitter that both the Uttar Pradesh government and the Delhi government had arranged buses for the stranded workers. “I still appeal to everyone to stay where they are,' he said. “We have made arrangements for living, eating, drinking everything in Delhi. Please stay at your home. Do not go to your village. Otherwise, the aim of the lockdown will be over.” ___ Banerjee reported from Lucknow, India. —
  • The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. TOP OF THE HOUR: —Spain's deadliest day has over 800 deaths, over 8,000 news cases. —Trump OKs major disaster declaration to Michigan. —Italy’s COVID-19 deaths down slightly from previous day. ___ ROME — Three weeks into national containment measures that have shut down most shops and non-essential industry, many Italians are hurting for food money during the lockdown amid the country’s devastating COVID-19 outbreak. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte told the nation he has signed a decree freeing up 400 million euros ($440 million) for food coupons and packages of food aid. Volunteers from Italy’s national Civil Protection agency will bring food to those who must stay at home because they are in quarantine or ill with the coronavirus. Conte appealed to large supermarket chains to give discounts of 5-10% to people presenting the special coupons. Said Conte: “People are suffering psychologically, they’re not used to staying in their homes. But they are also suffering economically.” Conte declined to say when the lockdown could be ended or eased. ___ MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tourism officials say the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest have been rescheduled for the fall after they were postponed because of the new coronavirus outbreak. Memphis in May officials said in a statement that the barbecue cooking competition has been reset for Sept. 30 through Oct. 3. The music festival has been rescheduled for Oct. 16 through Oct. 18. Both events are the cornerstones of the city's monthlong tourist event in May. They attract music fans and barbecue cooking teams from around the world. The Great American River Run also had been postponed. It has been reset for Oct. 31. Meanwhile, Elvis Presley's Graceland said it is extending its closure through April 19. ___ BERLIN — Twelve residents of a nursing home in northern Germany have died after being infected with the coronavirus. Authorities say the 12 residents of the home in Wolfsburg died since Monday, news agency dpa reported. Mayor Klaus Mohrs said several hadn’t shown symptoms of COVID-19. Local officials said 72 of the roughly 165 residents had been infected with the coronavirus, and they were separated from those who tested negative. Another nursing home in the southern German city of Wuerzburg also has reported 12 deaths. Germany has confirmed more than 56,000 infections with the coronavirus, including 403 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. That is a lower death rate than in many other countries. ___ PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island announced its first two deaths from the coronavirus on the same day that the state National Guard was expected to go door to door in coastal communities to find visitors from New York. One person in their 80s died Friday night, the other person in their 70s died Saturday, the state Department of Health said. There are now only three states with zero reported deaths: Hawaii, West Virginia and Wyoming. The Guard was said to be asking people if they are visiting from New York and telling them about the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people from the state. The measure is needed to help control the spread of the new coronavirus because the New York City area is the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., Gov. Gina Raimondo said Friday. ___ MADRID — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says the future of the European Union is at stake if it fails to make a vigorous, united response to the coronavirus outbreak devastating the bloc’s southern flank. “It’s Europe’s time to act. Europe is at risk,” Sánchez says in a nationally televised address. Sánchez says the EU could not repeat the hard-love austerity strategy it employed during the 2008 recession when countries like Greece and Portugal were forced to request a bailout and slash their budgets. He calls for a “new Marshall Plan” to help lighten the burden on the hardest-hit countries and cushion the inevitable blow coming from the drop in economic activity. Italy and Spain lead the world in deaths reported from the virus with more than 15,000 between them. ___ MADRID — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced his government will order a two-week ban on commuting to all non-essential businesses starting on Monday. Sánchez says in a publicly televised address that all workers are ordered to remain at home “as if it were a weekend” to “intensify” efforts to stem the outbreak of the coronavirus. Spain is approaching the end of the second week of stay-at-home rules and the closing of most stores, but workers were allowed to go to offices and factories if they were unable to work from home. Spain reported 832 deaths Saturday for a total of 5,690 fatalities, to go with 72,248 infections. Its health authorities say, however, that the rate of infection growth appears to be slowing. ___ NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell's administration is asking for donations of protective equipment. The donations can be dropped off at Salvation Army drop boxes next to New Orleans Fire Department stations. Items being accepted include masks, gloves, disposable medical gowns, goggles and face shields. “Like many places around the world, orders of PPE equipment made back in November 2019 have yet to be filled and our supply is running low. Any additional equipment the public can donate at this time will help keep our first responders safe and out on the streets,” New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Collin Arnold said. New Orleans is one of the nation’s hot spots for coronavirus. ___ ROME — Italy’s COVID-19 deaths are down slightly from the previous day. Civil Protection officials said there were 889 deaths in a 24-hour period ending Saturday evening in the country, where intensive care units have been overwhelmed at the heart of the outbreak in the north. That compares to 969 a day earlier, which was a one-day high in the country which has the world’s highest number of deaths of persons with confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The day-to-day rise in new cases was just under 6,000, about the same as the previous day’s figure. Overall, Italy has at least 92,472 cases of COVID-19 and days ago surpassed the total of China, where the outbreak began in early 2020. The current national lock-down decree expires on April 3, but health experts have said the need to try to contain contagion in the outbreak will likely last weeks beyond that. ___ WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is raising the idea of what he's calling a quarantine involving New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, states hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. But Democratic Gov. Andrews Cuomo of New York says he 'doesn't even know what that means,'' and says the subject never came up in a conversation he had with Trump earlier Saturday. Trump tells reporters at the White House that he had just spoken with some governors and the idea of a quarantine was discussed. Trump says it would be for a 'short period of time if we do it at all.'' The federal government generally doesn’t not have the power to impose such restrictions on states. They have the power and responsibIlity for maintaining public order and safety. Trump made the comments on his way to Norfolk, Virginia, to see off a U.S. Navy medical ship en route to New York City to help with pandemic response there. ___ UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced the donation of 250,000 protective face masks, which had just been located in United Nations storage facilities, to the United States for use in hard-hit New York City. The U.N. chief says: “These masks, in surplus to United Nations requirements, will be given to the medical professionals in New York City who have been working courageously, selflessly, and tirelessly in response to the spread of COVID-19 across the boroughs in the hope that they play some small role in saving lives.” Guterres says the United Nations and the U.S. Mission to the U.N. are working with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office to ensure swift delivery of the masks to medical facilities around the city. “On behalf of the U.N. community and the diplomatic corps, we sincerely hope this modest donation makes a difference,” Guterres said. ___ STOCKHOLM — Swedish health officials say the number of COVID-19 deaths stands at 102, with an additional 239 patients at intensive care units in the Scandinavian country. Over half of the deaths have been recorded in the Stockholm region. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told Swedish broadcaster TV4 that his government wasn't considering blockading the capital from the rest of the nation for now because it would be 'extremely difficult' to monitor citizens' movement restrictions in practice. But he acknowledged Sweden 'may end up in a situation' where isolation of the Stockholm area is a necessity, following a pattern in Nordic neighbor Finland where a blockade of a key southern region including capital Helsinki took effect on Saturday under a government order. Sweden has put in place remarkably less restrictions for citizens and establishments such as restaurants during the coronavirus crisis than its Nordic and European neighbors. ___ TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has issued a statewide order for people to stay at home as part the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Kelly issued the stay-at-home order for the state's roughly 2.9 million residents after local officials in Kansas' most populous counties issued their own versions within the past week. More than 2.1 million residents were already under or facing stay-at-home orders. Kansas has had more than 200 cases of the virus, including four people who died. Kansas is now one of nearly two dozen states to issue stay-at-home orders. The Kansas order starts Monday. It lasts through April 19. ___ VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says neither Pope Francis nor any of his closest aides are involved with six cases among Vatican residents or employees who tested positive for COVID-19. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni has confirmed news reports earlier in the week that an official of the Holy See’s secretariat of state office tested positive for the coronavirus. Bruni also has confirmed that the official lives at the Santa Marta hotel where Pope Francis lodges, too. The health condition of the official “doesn’t at the moment present any particular critical” aspects, according to Bruni. But as a precaution, the official has been admitted to a Rome hospital for observation. Bruni says more than 170 COVID-19 tests have been conducted on Vatican employees and residents of the hotel. The Vatican hasn’t specified if Francis was testified. But Bruni added: “I can confirm that neither the Holy Father nor his closest collaborators are involved” with infected cases. ___ DETROIT — Dr. Teena Chopra, the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology at the Detroit Medical Center, is deeply concerned that Detroit has already become a hot spot for the coronavirus. 'At this time, the trajectory of Detroit is unfortunately even more steep than that of New York,' Chopra said. 'This is off the charts.' Like many health systems across Detroit, the DMC says it has been 'seriously impacted' by resource and capacity issues related to COVID-19 patients. It is working to mitigate capacity issues by shuffling patients from hospital to hospital within its system. 'It seems like a tsunami,' Chopra said. “That's how it feels on the front lines.” Chopra says Detroit is in a unique situation because it has a high-risk population, battling numerous underlying health issues already. Chopra, who has worked in Detroit for more than 15 years, says many patients have ailments like asthma, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension which could be causing a higher chance of COVID-19 transmissions and infections. ___ TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board domestic flights or intercity trains. Trudeau says the new requirement will begin Monday at noon. Canadians returning to the country already can't board planes if they are showing symptoms. Trudeau says it will up to the train and plane operators to ensure people with symptoms don't board. He says all those showing symptoms should be in self-isolation. Trudeau made the announcement outside this residence where he is self-isolating after his wife tested positive for the virus. Canada has more than 4,700 cases and more than 50 deaths. ___ MOSCOW — Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the country's borders be fully closed as of Monday. The order issued Saturday follows increasingly stringent restrictions imposed over the past several weeks to limit the spread of coronavirus. International passenger flights were halted on Friday. The order exempts diplomats as well as residents of the Kaliningrad exclave, who must cross through another country to enter the rest of Russia. ___ WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Michigan, providing additional money to help the state address the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration announced by the White House on Saturday follows a back-and-forth between Trump and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has criticized the Trump administration for its slow response to the pandemic, saying “we cannot weather this alone.” The U.S. surgeon general said Friday that Detroit, a national “hot spot” for cases of the new coronavirus, will worsen next week. More than 3,600 people in Michigan were confirmed to have COVID-19 Friday. At least 92 have died, most from the three counties in the Detroit area, according to state officials. Detroit has recorded 28 deaths and 1,166 cases, according to the city's health department.
  • As the United States led the world with confirmed coronavirus cases, cities such as Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans grew as hotspots Saturday, while the virus continued to pummel New York City and made its way into rural America. Elsewhere, Russia said its borders would be fully closed as of Monday, while in parts of Africa, pandemic prevention measures took a violent turn, with Kenyan police firing tear gas and officers elsewhere seen on video hitting people with batons. Worldwide infections surpassed 640,000 with nearly 30,000 deaths as new cases also stacked up quickly in Europe, according to a tally by John Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world in reported cases with more than 112,000, but five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France. Italy alone now has 10,023 deaths, the most of any country. New York remained the worst-hit U.S. city. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said defeating the virus will take “weeks and weeks and weeks.” The U.N. donated 250,000 protective face masks to the city and Cuomo delayed state's presidential primary from April 28 to June 23. But Cuomo said he knew nothing of President Donald Trump's suggestion of some kind of quarantine for New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, all hit hard by the coronavirus. The federal government generally does not have the power to impose such restrictions on states. Trump made the comments on his way to Norfolk, Virginia, to see off a U.S. Navy medical ship en route to New York City to help with the response there. Cases also have been rising rapidly in cities such as Detroit, where poverty and poor health have been problems for years. The number of infections surged to 1,381, with 31 deaths recorded, as of noon Saturday. “At this time, the trajectory of Detroit is unfortunately even more steep than that of New York,” said Dr. Teena Chopra, the medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at the Detroit Medical Center. “This is off the charts,” she said. Chopra, who has worked in Detroit for more than 15 years, said many patients have ailments like asthma, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. She also acknowledged that in Detroit, one of the nation's largest African American cities, there is a distrust among some in the community of the medical system and government due to systemic racism. 'In Detroit, we are seeing a lot of patients that are presenting to us with severe disease, rather than minor disease,' said Chopra, who worried about a “tsunami” of patients. Louisiana has surpassed 2,700 infections, with 119 residents dead from COVID-19 — an increase of 36 fatalities from a day earlier, according to the health department. Gov. John Bel Edwards said Louisiana has the third-highest rate of cases per capita and the second-highest death rate per capita, with the region on track to run out of ventilators by the first week of April. Officials urged residents and businesses to donate protective gear such as masks, gloves and face shields at New Orleans' fire stations. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis worried that people would flee New Orleans, and he ordered anyone arriving from Louisiana to self-quarantine. He said the Florida Highway Patrol and sheriff’s deputies will set up checkpoints to screen cars from Louisiana. Cases in Chicago and suburban Cook County accounted for about three-quarters of Illinois' 3,026 total as of Friday. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot closed popular lakeshore parks Thursday after people failed to practice social distancing, despite a statewide shelter-at-home order. Trump approved a major disaster declaration for Michigan, providing money for the outbreak. He also has done the same for New York, Louisiana and Illinois. The governor of Kansas also issued a stay-at-home order to begin Monday, as the virus takes hold in more rural areas, where doctors worry about the lack of ICU beds. The virus is straining health systems in Italy, Spain and France. Lockdowns of varying severity have been introduced across Europe, nearly emptying streets in normally bustling cities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed for patience from citizens. Germany has fewer deaths than some neighboring countries but still closed nonessential shops and banned public gatherings of more than two people, and Merkel's chief of staff said the restrictions won't be relaxed before April 20. Spain, where stay-at-home restrictions have been in place for nearly two weeks, reported 832 more deaths Saturday, its highest daily count yet, bringing its total to 5,690. Another 8,000 confirmed infections pushed that count above 72,000. But Spain's director of emergencies, Fernando Simón, saw hope in that the rate of infection is slowing and figures “indicate that the outbreak is stabilizing and may be reaching its peak in some areas.” Doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers in Spain's worst-hit regions are working nonstop and falling ill at an alarming rate. More than 9,000 health workers in the country have been infected. “We are completely overwhelmed,” said paramedic Pablo Rojo at Barcelona’s Dos de Maig hospital. “Seven or eight (patients transported today) and all with COVID-19. ... And the average age is decreasing. They’re not 80 years old anymore, they are now 30 and 40 years old.” Spain has struggled to get coronavirus tests and protective gear for health workers and has begun flights to carry the supplies directly from China. As the epicenter has shifted westward, the situation has calmed in China, where some restrictions have been lifted. Some subway service was restored in Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December, after the city had its virus risk evaluation reduced from high to medium. Five districts of the city of 11 million people had other travel restrictions loosened after their risk factor was reduced to low. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and lead to death. More than 135,000 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins. Countries are still trying to bring home citizens stranded abroad. On Saturday, 174 foreign tourists and four Nepali nationals in the foothills of Mount Everest were flown out days after being stranded at the only airstrip serving the world's highest mountain. Indian authorities sent buses to the outskirts of New Delhi to meet an exodus of migrant workers desperately trying to reach their home villages amid the world's largest lockdown. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown that began Wednesday and effectively put millions out of work. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered his country's borders fully closed as of Monday. International passenger flights were halted Friday. The order exempts diplomats as well as residents of the Kaliningrad region who must cross through another country to enter the rest of Russia. Trump invoked the Defense Production Act on Friday, ordering General Motors to begin manufacturing ventilators. He also signed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package approved by Congress that will send checks to millions of Americans, boost unemployment benefits, help businesses and toss a life preserver to an overwhelmed health care system. Dr. John Brooks of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that Americans remained “in the acceleration phase” of the pandemic. 'There is no geographic part of the United States that is spared from this,' he said. The first death was reported Friday in the rural Michigan town of Cadillac, while numbers grew in Detroit, four hours to the south. Detroit's homeless populations is especially vulnerable, officials said. 'If any of these individuals got infected, it would be very easy to transmit it to other people without knowing,' said Chad Audi, executive director of the Detroit Rescue Mission, adding he has since opened two new facilities to accommodate an increase in clients and implemented new safety precautions. “But in no circumstances will we close our doors because these individuals don't have any place to go. It's very important to us.” ___ Irvine reported from Chicago. Associated Press journalists around the world contributed. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
  • They toil on the fringes, without any job security or set hours or decent wages. And the coronavirus has made their already difficult lives harder, and more hazardous. And so a group of university students in Yogyakarta, on the Indonesian island of Java, set out to help these “informal workers.” On social media, they put out the word: We need money to help these people whose work is seldom appreciated. In just one week, the donations rolled in. Then, said organizer Ari Wijayanto, they fanned out to distribute 400 bottles of hand sanitizers and 30 bottles of hand soaps to pedicab drivers. Construction workers. Food sellers. Motorcycle taxi drivers. Traders in the city’s wet market, where stalls offer perishable goods like live meat, fish and produce. And as demand for sanitizers increased and price rose, the students made plans to make it themselves. “They are the most vulnerable people here. Some of them do not have social insurance. So we want to support them,” Wijayanto said. For many, the rise of COVID-19 has led to a decline in income. As of Thursday, the government said there were 893 confirmed cases in Indonesia, including 16 in Yogyakarta. This growing threat has meant a decline in visitors to Kota Gede, one of Yogyakarta’s most popular tourism areas. “Today I saw almost no tourist came here,” said Yeni Pratiwi, a fried snacks seller there. According to Pratiwi, since the COVID-19 outbreak, she has lost 40% of her daily income. “I cannot just stay at home. Staying at home means my family will have nothing to eat,” Pratiwi said. The two bottles of soap and a bottle of hand sanitizer she got from the students will enable her to maintain hygiene while working at the market for eight hours every day. “They are really helpful. My children usually provided anti-bacterial hand soap to me. But it is difficult to find now,” Pratiwi said, and very expensive. The delivery of soaps and sanitizers was planned on Tuesday but was delayed until Thursday; the students needed to obtain their own masks and other equipment to protect themselves. When they did, they also handed out fliers on hygiene. The students have big plans. They hope to open a kitchen distribute foods to informal workers at three different places in Yogyakarta. They are looking to raise more money to serve their needs, including medical supplies and masks. The need is great, said one student, Raihan Ibrahim Anas: “Some of the pedicab drivers we met today said they cannot get any customers.” And until the government steps up, he said, the students will step in. ___ While nonstop global news about the effects of the coronavirus have become commonplace, so, too, are the stories about the kindness of strangers and individuals who have sacrificed for others. 'One Good Thing' is an AP continuing series reflecting these acts of kindness. ___

News

  • With more states imposing “safer at home” and quarantine orders because of the coronavirus, families and friends are searching for ways to stay connected. Sure, the telephone works, but more people are using video apps for face-to-face contact. It’s a good way for older citizens to connect with grandchildren without worrying about coming in contact. While hugs may be precious, people are becoming more aware of staying isolated. There are plenty of ways to connect. Here is a look at 12 video-chatting applications: Zoom: This app appears to be geared toward business, but families can use Zoom too. Users initiating a meeting are taken to a virtual room that looks like a table in a conference room. Personal groups of up to 100 people can meet online for free. Business options include packages for sale that allow up to 1,000 participants. Facebook Live: Viewers can connect in real-time from their cellphones, computers and even through their television set. FaceTime: This app, though the Apple store, allows users to make video and audio calls to groups of up to 32 people. FaceTime is available on Apple products including iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Facebook Messenger: Similar to FaceTime, Messenger allows free video calling around the world for individuals or groups of up to six. It can be used on cellphones, tablets and computers. Skype: This app has been around for a while. Skype can accommodate groups of up to 50 people worldwide, It can be used on computers, mobile devices, XBox One and even smartwatches. WhatsApp: More than 2 billion users take advantage of the WhatsApp. The mobile app works on Android and iOS platforms, making it a good choice for people with friends owning diverse types of devices. The free app allows groups of up to four users per session. Tango: You know the old phrase. It takes two to Tango, and this app restricts video contact to two people. This free app is good but only two! The free app is good for video calling one other person at a time. You can also make voice calls, send messages and play games using Tango. Google Hangouts: This app is free in its basic form. Google Hangouts allows up to 10 participants at a time. You can even video chat through your Gmail accounts. Instagram: Up to six people can video chat at once via Instagram. Houseparty: This video chat app is owned by Epic Games, which developed Fortnite. Houseparty allows people to play video games or test trivia skills through its interface. It is available through Android, iOS, MacOs and Chrome. Snapchat: With Chat 2.0, Snapchat users can use a full, featured video chat service. Snapchat is free to use, but can chew up a lot of data time. It is recommended to connect to a wireless network before making your call. Viber: The Viber app is good for international calls and one-on-one video calls. Calls between Viber users are free, but a fee will apply for calling people without the app.
  • Tom Coburn, a former U.S. senator from Oklahoma known as a conservative political maverick, died after a battle with prostate cancer, according to The Associated Press. He was 72. Coburn retired from the Senate in 2015 after being diagnosed with cancer. He served two terms from 2005 to 2015, KOKI reported. “Oklahoma has lost a tremendous leader, and I lost a great friend today,' U.S. Sen. James Lankford said in a statement. “Dr. Coburn was an inspiration to many in our state and our nation. He was unwavering in his conservative values, but he had deep and meaningful friendships with people from all political and personal backgrounds. He was truly respected by people on both sides of the aisle.” In the Senate, Coburn was the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security and also served on the committees on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; and Intelligence. From 1995 to 2001, Coburn represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A family physician, Coburn was a member of the Committee on Commerce, where he sat on the subcommittees on Health and Environment as vice-chairman, Energy & Power, and Oversight and Investigations. Coburn was also selected co-chair of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in 2001. Services for Coburn have not been announced, KOKI reported.
  • Florida senior citizens who live in a downtown Orlando high-rise flickered the lights of their apartments Friday in a show of support for the doctors and nurses who are trying to thwart the spread of the coronavirus. Residents of Westminster Towers flickered their apartment lights at 9 p.m. to show support for the medical professionals working at Orlando Health. “Tonight, we flashed all of our lights to show our thanks to the hero health care workers at Orlando Regional Medical Center as they work hard to treat the sick and keep us safe from COVID-19,” Westminster Towers said on Facebook. “Thank you.” The display could be seen from the hospital campus, which is near the apartment building. “Thank you (Westminster Towers) for lighting up the night and our hearts,” the hospital network said on Facebook. “We’re all in this together.”
  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia climbed to 2,366 Saturday as the state’s death toll reached 69. Since Friday evening, the confirmed number of Georgians who have died as a result of COVID-19 increased by four, according to the latest data from the Georgia Department of Public Health.  » COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia Health officials also confirmed an additional 168 cases since the 7 p.m. update. Of Georgia’s overall cases, 617 people remain hospitalized, a rate of about 26%, according to the state’s noon figures.  Fulton County still has the most cases with 373, followed by DeKalb with 240, Dougherty County with 205, and Cobb with 181.  As of Monday, the number of confirmed cases across the state was fewer than 1,000 Since Friday evening, Fulton has 26 new cases, while DeKalb has 21 more and 18 more people tested positive in Cobb. Four counties also reported their first cases, including Murray, Walton, Jenkins and Pike.  » MORE: City under siege: Coronavirus exacts heavy toll in Albany A total of 11,051 tests have been conducted so far in Georgia. About 21.4% of those returned positive results. On Friday afternoon, the DPH started releasing data on where people died. Dougherty County leads the count with 13 deaths, followed by Fulton with 12, Cobb County with eight, and Lee County with five. About 2.9% of Georgians who have tested positive for the highly contagious disease have died. » DASHBOARD: Real-time stats and charts tracking coronavirus in Georgia For most, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and those with existing health problems are at risk of more severe illnesses, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover in a matter of weeks. As numbers spike across the state, Gov. Brian Kemp is urging Georgians to stay home and practice social distancing. At a town hall broadcast Thursday evening, Kemp told residents to heed directives to avoid more restrictive measures, such as a statewide stay-at-home mandate. » RELATED: Kemp urges Georgians to heed virus warnings but balks at drastic steps Bars and nightclubs remain closed across the state, many public gatherings are banned, and the elderly and medically fragile are ordered to shelter in place. » PHOTOS: Metro Atlanta adjusts to shifts in daily life amid coronavirus crisis Many metro Atlanta cities and counties have issued their own stay-at-home orders to residents, shutting down nonessential businesses and imposing curfews. » MORE: DeKalb County issues stay-at-home order Speaking on CNN Saturday morning, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said metro Atlanta’s hospitals are already nearing capacity.  “...We are a large urban city in an even larger metropolitan area, so on a good day our hospitals and our ICU beds are at a premium,” she said. “What people have to realize is strokes don’t stop, diabetes and these things that send people into our emergency rooms, these things continue. It’s stressing our health care system and you add this pandemic on top of it and we have a real problem of it brewing right here in Atlanta.” » RELATED: Bottoms: Stay home so others ‘have an opportunity to simply live’ Those who believe they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 are asked to contact their primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic. Do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or health care facility. Georgians can also call the state COVID-19 hotline at 844-442-2681 to share public health information and connect with medical professionals.  — Please return to AJC.com for updates.
  • He has been a prominent face during the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings. Now, Anthony Fauci’s face is prominently featured on doughnuts in a New York shop. According to WHAM-TV, Donuts Delite, in Rochester, introduced the sweet treat Monday as a tribute to Fauci, 79, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a doctor for the National Institutes of Health. Nick Semeraro, owner of Donut Delites, said his employees have made “thousands” of doughnuts, the television station reported. “We wanted to find a way to cheer up the people in our neighborhood,” Semeraro told CNN. “We noticed Dr. Fauci on (television), and we loved his message and how thorough he was, and how he kept everyone informed during the crisis... so we wanted to give back and say thanks.” The shop printed Fauci’s face on edible paper and put it on top of a buttercream-frosted doughnut, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. Fauci’s image was then encircled with frosting decorated with red, white and blue sprinkles, the newspaper reported. “Right now, we’re selling over 100 an hour at least,” Semararo told WHAM. “We had no idea they would blow up like that. “It just started as a tribute,” Semararo told the television station. “It started as a thank you. It’s sticking, and I think it’s great. People are stuck at home and what’s happening is, it’s starting conversations. Whether they pick it up for someone, it starts that thinking outside of the box and giving back.” Semararo said he would continue to make the doughnuts as long as there is a demand. “I never met a guy that worldwide (who) is so loved,” Semeraro told CNN. “And a month ago, we never knew his first and last name... His political agenda is medical. It’s facts ... the American public needs facts now.”
  • The chief executive officer of Texas Roadhouse restaurants said he is giving up his salary and bonus so the chain’s front-line employees can be paid during the coronavirus pandemic. Wayne Kent Taylor will begin donating his checks from the pay period beginning March 18 through Jan. 7, 2021, Market Watch reported Wednesday. Louisville Business First reported Taylor’s total compensation package in 2018 was $1.3 million with his base salary being $525,000. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Texas Roadhouse said it is also suspending its dividend in an effort to conserve cash during the pandemic, according to Market Watch. Texas Roadhouse, a publicly traded company based in Kentucky, employs more than 56,000 workers and has 563 locations in the U.S. and internationally, the website reported. Taylor, 63, founded the chain in 1993, opening his first restaurant in Clarksville, Indiana, USA Today reported.