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What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

A protester holds a sign at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, April 30, 2020. Hoisting American flags and handmade signs, protesters returned to the state Capitol to denounce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-home order and business restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic while lawmakers met to consider extending her emergency declaration hours before it expires. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

By The Associated Press

The world’s economic pain was on full display Thursday with new bleak evidence from Europe and the United States of the mounting devastation wrought on jobs and economies by coronavirus lockdown measures.

The European economy shrank a record 3.8% in the first quarter as lockdowns turned cities into ghost towns and plunged nations into recession. The drop was the biggest since eurozone statistics began in 1995 and compares with a 4.8% contraction in the United States.

Here are some of AP’s top stories Thursday 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:

— More than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the U.S. economy slid further into a crisis that is becoming the most devastating since the 1930s.

— U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the new coronavirus was “not manmade or genetically modified” but say they are still examining whether the origins of the pandemic trace to contact with infected animals or an accident at a Chinese lab.

— Americans are grappling with an essential question as they try to get the information they need to stay safe during the coronavirus crisis: Whom do you trust?

— Brazil’s virtually uncontrolled surge of COVID-19 cases is spawning fear that construction workers, truck drivers and tourists from Latin America’s biggest nation will spread the disease to neighboring countries that are doing a better job of controlling the coronavirus.

— Under Japan’s coronavirus state of emergency, people have been asked to stay home. Many are not. Some still have to commute to their jobs despite risks of infection, while others continue to dine out, picnic in parks and crowd into grocery stores with scant regard for social distancing.

— Politicians and scientists in Germany pushed back against calls for a rapid relaxation of pandemic restrictions as new figures showed that businesses have applied for state aid to avoid slashing 10 million jobs because of the economic downturn.

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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.

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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ONE NUMBER:

— 60,000: The number President Donald Trump predicted the U.S. death count from the coronavirus pandemic would come in at, but the reported toll has now edged past Trump’s marker.

IN OTHER NEWS:

— BRITISH WWII VETERAN — Capt. Tom Moore celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday, having raised some 30 million pounds ($37 million) for the National Health Service after completing a challenge to mark the milestone by shuffling the length of his garden 100 times. His sunny attitude in a dark moment brought smiles to a country locked down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

— BROADWAY SERENADE — Theaters are shuttered, but somehow, Brian Stokes Mitchell has found a way to keep singing on Broadway. Mitchell looks to serenade crews of ambulances, fire engines, police cars or medical workers from the urgent care facility near his Manhattan apartment.

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

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