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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 raises idea of quarantine for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. — Italy’s COVID-19 deaths down slightly from previous day. ___ CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says an infant with COVID-19 has died and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of death. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says there hasn't been a death associated with the new coronavirus in an infant. Officials didn't release other information about the infant, who was from Cook County, which includes Chicago, including whether the child had other health issues. The risk of death and severe illness from COVID-19 is greater for older adults and people with other health problems. In most cases, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization. Children have made up a small fraction of coronavirus cases worldwide. A letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Chinese researchers earlier this month reported the death of a 10-month-old with COVID-19. The infant had a bowel blockage and organ failure, and died four weeks after being hospitalized. Separate research published in the journal Pediatrics traced 2,100 infected children in China and noted one death, a 14-year old. The study found less than 6% of children were seriously ill. ___ ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte is hoping the European Union will put together a cohesive response to the plight of countries like his, whose economy has been crippled by the coronavirus outbreak. Conte vowed to fight “to my very last drop of sweat” to prompt a “strong and cohesive European response.” Conte echoed an appeal the same evening by Spain, which is also reeling under a devastating COVID-19 outbreak. Conte called the crisis “an appointment with history. Europe must say if it’s ready for this appointment” to effectively deal with social and economic shock wreaked by the pandemic. Germany and the Netherlands are leading other EU nations in resisting calls for an issuance of joint European debt, colloquially dubbed “coronabonds.” Italian Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri expressed dismay that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in an interview described the bond idea as a “only a slogan.” ___ WARSAW, Poland — Poland President Andrzej Duda says the May 10 date for the presidential election may not be realistic if the coronavirus spread continues and Poland remains under the current strict isolation regime for the citizens. Duda’s words were the first sign from the ruling team that the elections may not be held as planned. Earlier Saturday, the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party had the parliament approve changes to the electoral law to allow sick, quarantined and elderly people to vote remotely, in a clear preparation for May election. ___ PARIS — France has ordered more than one billion protective masks, mainly from China, to try to make up for a shortage that is being felt in nations fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Health Minister Olivier Veran announced. But French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, noting tensions in world markets, suggested at a news conference that traffickers and black marketeers are now in the mask business, given the competition in procuring the vital necessity for health workers. Veran said that an “air bridge” to China was being put in place, but “I will have the certitude (the masks arrived) … only the minute the planes are on the tarmac.” He said one major difficulty is that countries already hit by the virus remain vigilant that should the epidemic return they are equipped. As of Saturday, France had 37,575 confirmed cases and 2,314 deaths — with 319 new deaths in the last 24 hours, health authorities said. The prime minister warned the French that “the fight has just begun.” ___ ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican and close ally of President Donald Trump, tells reporters he had spoken with the president about the possibility of a coronavirus quarantine for the New York City area. DeSantis says Florida will soon set up a checkpoint along Interstate 95 to screen travelers from that area, similar to one already in place along Interstate 10 to screen people from Louisiana. Many airports in Florida also are screening travelers from certain areas, requiring travelers to self-isolate for 14 days. “I think whatever works is what we need to do,” DeSantis said. “We’re either fighting the virus or we’re not. The more people are being shuttled around the country, I just think it makes it more difficult. I think it would make it a lot easier if we didn’t have folks coming in from hot zones.” ___ COLUMBIA, S.C. — Leaders of several South Carolina cities say they are defying Gov. Henry McMaster's opposition to stay-at-home orders and Attorney General Alan Wilson's opinion that only McMaster can issue such measures. In Folly Beach, where town officials had removed their checkpoint and had allowed vacation rentals to resume, the city council unanimously voted to re-establish the checkpoint and ban any new short-term rentals beginning Sunday. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin says on Twitter that his city's stay-at-home order would take effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday as scheduled. He says Wilson's Friday opinion is “incorrect on a constitutional and statutory basis.” ___ 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. ___ 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 the 650,000 mark with more than 30,000 deaths as new cases also stacked up quickly in Europe, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. leads the world in reported cases with more than 115,000, 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 face masks to the city and Cuomo delayed the 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 Detroit, where poverty and poor health have been problems for years. The number of infections surged to 1,381, with 31 deaths, 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 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 3,300 infections, with 137 dead from COVID-19, according to the health department. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the region was 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. Worried that people would flee New Orleans, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis 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-fourths of Illinois' 3,026 total as of Friday. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot closed popular lakeshore parks 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 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 degrees have been introduced across Europe, nearly emptying streets in normally bustling cities. Germany has fewer deaths than some neighboring countries but still closed nonessential shops and banned public gatherings of more than two people until April 20. But it still had its share of grim news, with 12 residents of a nursing home in the northern town of Wolfsburg dying since Monday after being infected, news agency dpa reported. As Italy's deaths topped 10,000, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte told the nation Saturday night that he has signed a decree freeing 400 million euros ($440 million) for coupons and packages of food aid, to be delivered door-to-door if necessary. “People are suffering psychologically. They’re not used to staying in their homes. But they are also suffering economically,” Conte said. Italy has almost completed a three-week lockdown, with no end in sight. In Spain, where stay-at-home restrictions have been in place for nearly two weeks, the death toll rose to 5,812. Another 8,000 confirmed infections pushed that count above 72,000 cases. 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.” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, meanwhile, called for a more vigorous response from the European Union. Spain, Italy, France and six other EU members have asked the union to share the burden of European debt, dubbed “coronabonds” in the media, to help fight the virus. But the idea has met resistance from other members, led by Germany and the Netherlands. “It is the most difficult moment for the EU since its foundation and it has to be ready to rise to the challenge,” Sánchez said. “ 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, ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday that 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, a four-hour drive to the south. Detroit's homeless population 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 Ministries, 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. ___

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  • Residents of several communities have come up with a fun way to keep kids entertained while school is out. Cities and towns such as Boston, Walpole, Haverhill, Leominster and others have organized “bear hunts,” where residents place teddy bears in their windows so kids can drive or walk around spotting the bears. “As we take our daily walks, we look at everybody’s windows to see if we can find a teddy bear,” said Candida Shepard, a mother. Shepard’s 4-year-old twins, Payton and Ayden, have taken up the fun activity in their Hyde Park neighborhood as more neighbors join in on the fun. “We saw the teddies in the window,” said Payton. The “bear hunts” are inspired by a children’s book, and residents can add their streets to a map on social media that parents use to trace the route they will take their kids on walks or drives, looking - at a safe distance - for the bears displayed in the windows. “It’s something nice to chime in about rather than something dismal, which is going on right now,” said Mary Francis, who put a teddy bear in her window. The Shepard twins’ grandmother placed teddy bears in her window, enjoying the cheer they bring to the youngest neighbors who have been home from school and stuck in the house. “People are actually walking by with a big smile on their face,” said Francis. Kids and adults alike are entertained and uplifted by the sight of the bears in the windows, a heartwarming illustration of how communities are doing everything they can to take care of each other. As volunteers step up to produce masks and donate supplies to medical workers, initiatives like the bear hunt aim to help keep people’s mental health strong. Something as simple as a teddy bear on a windowsill can be the light in someone’s day. As the twins write encouraging messages for others to stay hopeful during a scary time with their mom, a health care worker, they’re also thinking of their family in Italy. The country has been hit the hardest by the virus, where the outbreak has been the most rampant. “Stay safe from the ‘Canola’ virus,” Ayden wrote. If you want to participate, just search in your local community’s Facebook group to find a bear hunt near you.
  • 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.
  • 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. For the 2,200-person department, that has meant officers working doubles and swapping between units to fill patrols. And everyone has their temperature checked before they start work. An increasing number of police departments around the country are watching their ranks get sick as the number of coronavirus cases explodes across the U.S. The growing tally raises questions about how laws can and should be enforced during the pandemic, and about how departments will hold up as the virus spreads among those whose work puts them at increased risk of infection.  »Sign up for our new coronavirus newsletter “I don’t think it’s too far to say that officers are scared out there,” said Sgt. Manny Ramirez, president of Fort Worth Police Officers Association. Nearly 690 officers and civilian employees at police departments and sheriff’s offices around the country have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an Associated Press survey this week of over 40 law enforcement agencies, mostly in major cities. The number of those in isolation as they await test results is far higher in many places. Anticipating shortages, police academies are accelerating coursework to provide reinforcements. Masks, gloves and huge volumes of hand sanitizer have been distributed. Roll call and staff meetings are happening outside, over the phone or online. Precinct offices, squad cars and equipment get deep cleaned in keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. Yet, many are worried it's not enough. This week, groups representing American police and fire chiefs, sheriffs, mayors and county leaders asked President Donald Trump in a letter to use the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to ensure they have enough protective gear. “We’re in war footing against an invisible enemy and we are on the verge of running out' of protective supplies, said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. “We’ve got hospitals calling police departments, police departments calling each other, and it’s time to nationalize in terms of our response.” Police are accustomed to meeting staffing crunches by canceling vacations and leave, putting officers on 12-hour on, 12-hour off schedules and, when necessary, by shifting detectives and other specialized personnel to patrol. And officers are used to risk. It's part of the job. But at a time when Americans are being advised to stay six feet from each other to combat an insidious virus that can live on surfaces for days, the perils and anxieties are new. This crisis is unlike any American police forces have dealt with before, said former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. “We're in unprecedented territory here,” said Davis, who led the police department when the Boston Marathon bombing happened in 2013. Streets are less crowded as people hunker in their homes. But police must prepare for the possibility of civil unrest among people who become anxious or unhappy about government orders or hospitals that get overrun with patients, he said. In New York, which has rapidly become the American epicenter of the pandemic, more than 500 NYPD personnel have come down with COVID-19, including 442 officers, and the department's head of counter-terrorism was hospitalized with symptoms. Two NYPD employees have died. On a single day this week, Friday, 4,111 uniformed officers called in sick, more than 10% of the force and more than three times the daily average. Leadership at America’s largest police department maintains that it’s continuing enforcement as usual. But they’ve also said that if the disease continues to affect manpower the NYPD could switch patrol hours, or pull officers from specialized units and other parts of the city to fill gaps -- steps also taken after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 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. But the U.S. is now leading the world in the number of confirmed cases; more than 100,000. Over 1,700 people have died in the country. And doctors say cases are nowhere near peaking. Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, based in Washington, D.C., said police can't just go out of business. “They need to have ways so that if one person goes down, who’s going to back that person up, so departments are having to be innovative,” he said. In big cities and remote areas alike, officers are being told to issue tickets or summons rather than making arrests for minor crimes. More crime reports are being taken by phone or online. These steps to limit exposure come as police must beef up patrols in shuttered business districts and manage spikes in domestic violence. In Detroit, officials say many of those quarantined should return to duty soon. In the meantime, an assistant chief recently released from quarantine is heading up day-to-day operations while Chief James Craig is out. Many officers are also worried about whether they'll be able to draw workers compensation benefits if they get sick, since the coronavirus is not spelled out in the list of covered conditions. “No one really knows,” said Robert Jenkins, president of the Florida State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police union, which covers 22,000 officers. “Unfortunately, we have to be out there. We don’t have a choice.” While the pandemic has so far hit American cities hardest, rural law enforcement agencies with few staff are in some ways most vulnerable. In the tiny West Texas community of Marfa, Police Chief Estevan Marquez instructed his four officers not to pull over cars for minor traffic infractions, especially if they're passing through from areas already hit by the virus. He can't afford for anyone to get sick.
  • 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.