House approves $2.2 trillion rescue package, US infections surge to most in world

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Weekdays at 12 p.m. PST, we’ll be streaming the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak utilizing our newsrooms across the country. If you miss the live report, you’ll be able to see a replay minutes after the stream ends.

The U.S. House on Friday approved a $2.2 trillion rescue package, rushing it to President Donald Trump for his signature. The measure tosses a life preserver to a U.S. economy and health care system left flailing by the coronavirus pandemic.

America’s coronavirus infections have surged to the most in the world. Italy shut down its industry. Masses of unemployed Indian laborers got food handouts and South Africa began a three-week lockdown. The U.S. cities of Chicago and Detroit saw concerning increases in infections.

Here are some of AP’s top stories Friday on the world’s coronavirus pandemic.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

— For the millions of Americans living under some form of lockdown, it’s the not knowing when the restrictions will end which is also causing sharp anxiety. Will important life events be delayed for a few weeks, a few months or much longer?

— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the new coronavirus, but remains in charge of the U.K.’s response to the outbreak. Johnson, 55, said Friday that he was tested for COVID-19 on the advice of the chief medical officer after showing “mild symptoms” involving a temperature and a persistent cough.

— Some leaders are hailing a potential breakthrough: Simple pin-prick blood tests or nasal swabs that can determine within minutes if someone has, or previously had, the virus. But scientists have challenged their accuracy.

— Los Angeles recorded its first case of coronavirus five weeks before New York City, yet New York is now the U.S. epicenter of the disease. Public health officials are keeping a wary eye and warning that LA could end up being as hard hit as New York in coming weeks, in part because a planned increase in testing may uncover a dramatic surge in cases.

— Are gun shops ‘essential’ businesses during a pandemic? Americans in areas of stay-at-home directives are mixed on whether gun shops are an essential business and should remain open. That’s led some gun rights advocates to worry about an erosion of Second Amendment rights. Americans are buying firearms in record numbers.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu.

One of the best ways to prevent spread of the virus is washing your hands with soap and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends first washing with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off.

You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how.

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.

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INSIDE THE OUTBREAK PODCAST: The Senate approved a massive $2.2 trillion rescue package to help revive the American economy. In the latest episode of “Ground Game: Inside the Outbreak,” AP Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace and host Ralph Russo discuss what this all means.

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IN OTHER NEWS:

BEAT GOES ON: Locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the nightclubs in the German capital have decided to keep the beat going — at least online. Berlin’s nightclubs were closed March 13 to help slow the spread of the virus. In response, some formed a streaming platform to let DJs, musicians and artists keep performing.

NOT A PEEP: No more Peeps are being hatched for at least a couple of weeks — but it shouldn’t affect Easter baskets. The Just Born confections company in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, says its production facilities there and in Philadelphia have closed through April 7. But the company says it had already produced and shipped the Easter supply of its signature marshmallow confection to outlets.

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