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What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
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A surge in infections has caused a critical shortage of medical supplies in many places. The hunt for ventilators and other critical items is consuming Europe and the U.S.  Deaths around the world passed the 15,000 mark Monday.


Meanwhile, China is slamming the U.S. for "scapegoating" over the virus, the Tokyo Olympics  is considering postponing the event to 2021  and lawmakers in the U.S. are negotiating a nearly $2 trillion economic rescue package.


WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY:

The coronavirus has arrived in the Gaza Strip and Syria, raising fears that the pandemic may now prey on some of the most vulnerable populations in the world. 

Those defying social distancing and lockdown restrictions from France to Florida to carry on as normal are coming under fire. One French minister was furious: "Some consider they're little heroes when they break the rules. Well, no. You're an imbecile, and especially a threat to yourself."

Grieving has become even more upsetting for families in the time of coronavirus.  An untold number of burials around the globe now go forward with nothing more than a cleric, a funeral home employee and a single loved one. Others receive what would have once been called pauper's funerals, buried in the clothes they died in.

—Most American presidents will confront a crisis — or crises — whether it's a natural disaster, war, economic downturn, public health threat or terrorism. Here's a look at how they fared. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. 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.

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ONE NUMBER:

$300 BILLION:  In a series of sweeping steps, the Fed will lend to small and large businesses and local governments as well as extend its bond-buying programs. It's all part of the Fed's ongoing efforts to support the flow of credit through an economy ravaged by the viral outbreak. 

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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.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak