September 30, 2020

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What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

Almost 75% of small businesses applied for help from a United States loan program designed to keep workers employed during the coronavirus pandemic, but only 38% of small businesses received any money, according to results from a US Census Bureau survey released Thursday.

Oil extraction and mining businesses had the best success in getting loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, with more than half of businesses surveyed in that sector reporting getting some help, according to the survey.

Just under half of small businesses in manufacturing and about 45% of small businesses in accommodations and food services reported receiving loans, the survey found.

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

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

— Whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright warned that the US still lacks a comprehensive battle plan against the coronavirus in critical areas like masks, testing, treatments and vaccines. He told Congress that the “window of opportunity is closing.” He says the country needs a coherent strategy that will get supplies and medicines to where they’re most needed.

— A former chemical industry executive nominated to be the nation’s top consumer safety watchdog was involved in sidelining detailed guidelines to help communities reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, internal government emails obtained by The Associated Press show. Now the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is questioning the role played by nominee Nancy Beck in the decision to shelve the guidelines. Beck is not a medical doctor and has no background in virology.

— President Donald Trump said he intends to prepare the country for future pandemics by restocking the national stockpile, includes bringing critical manufacturing back to the US from abroad. Trump announced his plans while visiting a Pennsylvania medical equipment distributor.

— Hundreds of people angry over Michigan’s coronavirus stay-at-home order, some of them armed, protested in heavy rain outside the state Capitol. Some protesters flouted social distancing and a scuffle broke out at one point but there were no arrests.

— Worries about having enough to eat are adding to the anxiety of millions of people across the United States, according to the COVID Impact Survey. It found 37% of unemployed Americans ran out of food in the past month and 46% were worried about running out.

— The pandemic has changed the way Turks bury and mourn their dead. On some occasions, funeral prayers have been held at the graveside instead of in mosques, as is the normal custom. Travel restrictions force many families to bury their loved ones in the place where they died, instead of taking the bodies back to hometowns or villages as decreed by tradition.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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

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

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

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.


ONE NUMBER:

— 200 BILLION: The pandemic will cost the insurance industry over $200 billion, according to Lloyds of London, who estimated that its own payouts are now on a par with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks or the combined impact of hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma in 2017. Lloyds, which as an insurance market pays out to insurers affected by disasters, says it expects to pay between $3 billion and $4.3 billion to insurance companies to help them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

IN OTHER NEWS:

— “FAIRY TALE”: Matt Damon described living in Ireland during the country’s coronavirus lockdown as like being in a “fairy tale.” The Hollywood star and his family were in Dublin, where he had been filming Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel,” before travel restrictions were imposed worldwide.

— A BETTER VIEW: An operator of mobile platforms saw his equipment stand idle and realized too many families couldn’t see their locked down elderly relatives. So he’s driving cranes to care homes in several towns across Belgium. Families are carried upward in front of the window of an elderly relative.

— TEAM TO BEAT: The coronavirus pandemic has changed almost everything about soccer in Germany except Bayern Munich’s chances of winning. The seven-time defending champions will still be the team to beat when Bundesliga play resumes on Saturday in empty stadiums.


(AP)