Setting the stage for a possible power struggle with President Donald Trump, governors around the U.S. began collaborating on plans Tuesday to reopen their economies in what is likely to be a drawn-out, step-by-step process to prevent the new coronavirus from rebounding with disastrous results.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said the U.S. does not yet have the critical testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the nation’s economy, adding a dose of caution to increasingly optimistic projections from the White House.
“We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet,” Fauci said in an interview with The Associated Press.
In parts of Europe where infections and deaths have begun stabilizing, the process of restarting the economy was already underway. Certain businesses and industries have been allowed to reopen in a calibrated effort by politicians to balance public health against their countries’ economic well-being.
Meanwhile, Trump has directed a halt to U.S. payments to the World Health Organization pending a review of its warnings about the coronavirus and China.
Here are some of AP’s top stories Tuesday 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.
— Three potential COVID-19 vaccines are making fast progress in early-stage testing in volunteers in China and the U.S., but it’s still a long road to prove if they’ll really work. Initial tests focus on safety, and researchers in both countries are trying out different doses of different types of shots.
— For people who lost homes to the deadly tornadoes that rampaged across the South, there are no comforting hugs from volunteers or handshakes from politicians. These and other changes reflect how disaster response has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic: Workers are still trying to provide all the help they can, but from a distance.
— Even as both face the same invisible enemy in the coronavirus pandemic, Iran and the United States remain locked in retaliatory pressure campaigns that now view the outbreak as just the latest battleground.
— The $2.2 trillion federal rescue package could fail to deliver badly needed financial aid to thousands of smaller cities and counties where a majority of Americans live, according to documents and interviews with local officials. The coronavirus outbreak has blown holes in the budgets of communities as the costs of battling the outbreak skyrocket and critical sources of revenue like sales and income taxes plummet.
— Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his health minister are in open conflict over the country’s coronavirus response, leading many to worry that the far-right leader could soon fire the official who has played a major role in containing the outbreak.
— China has been criticized in the West for its early mishandling of the health crisis due to politically motivated foot-dragging. Now it is seeking to change perceptions through what has been dubbed “mask diplomacy.” That’s a combination of soft power policy, political messaging and aid shipments designed to portray Beijing as a generous and efficient ally. That message has found fertile ground in places like Serbia and Hungary, whose leaders nurture close ties with Beijing and Moscow.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.
One of the best ways to prevent spread of the virus is washing your hands with soap and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends first washing with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off.
— 3%: The International Monetary Fund said it expects the global economy to shrink 3% this year — far worse than its 0.1% dip in the Great Recession year of 2009 — before rebounding in 2021 with 5.8% growth. It acknowledges, though, that prospects for a rebound next year are clouded by uncertainty.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— SMALL GESTURES: In a time of anxiety and isolation, simple acts of kindness from medical workers are giving comfort and hope to patients and their families.
— JACKALS EMERGE: With Tel Aviv in lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis, a sprawling park in the heart of the city is all but empty. This has cleared the way for packs of jackals to take over the park.
— LIFE WITHOUT MOVIE THEATERS: For more than a century, movie theaters have been a refuge, a communal escape, a place transporting people away from everything else. What now as they close amid the pandemic?