Today’s news about the virus outbreak

A man wearing a mask and gloves walks along the corner of 18th Street and K Street in Northwest, an area usually packed with people this time of day, Wednesday, April 29, 2020, in Washington. The government is set to report another shocking level of unemployment claims Thursday even after nearly 10 million people applied for benefits in the previous two weeks because of business shutdowns from the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On a day of economic gloom, scientists offered a ray of hope: the first effective treatment against the coronavirus.

The U.S. government said it is working to make the antiviral medication remdesivir available to patients as quickly as possible after a major study found it shortened the time it takes for COVID-19 patients to recover by four days on average — from 15 days to 11. The news came as the U.S. government reported that American output is shriveling at an alarming rate in the biggest and fastest collapse since the Depression.

Here are some of AP’s top stories Wednesday 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:

— The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate last quarter as the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the country and began triggering a recession that will end the longest expansion on record. Amid the economic fallout, the Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it will keep its key short-term interest rate near zero for the foreseeable future.

— President Donald Trump says the federal government’s coronavirus social distancing guidelines will be “fading out” when they expire on Thursday, counting on states taking charge as they move toward reopening.

— New York’s empty streets have reinforced the idea of the coronavirus as an urban contagion, but statistically, you may be more likely to have the virus if you live in the suburbs. Several counties outside the five boroughs have higher infection rates than densely populated Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

— Multitudes of destitute Brazilians face bureaucratic delays in getting assistance, amid fraud and a disjointed emergency response by federal officials.

— Two guards at an immigration detention center in Louisiana have died after contracting the coronavirus, raising new questions about whether the U.S. government is adequately protecting 30,000 immigrants in custody and the staff guarding them.

— Uncertainty in planning for the coronavirus pandemic has left the globe dotted with dozens of barely used or unused temporary field hospitals. Some public officials say that’s a good problem to have.

— Records reviewed by The Associated Press show that an exclusive group of Texans stood to benefit when the state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, urged a small Colorado county to reverse a public health order during the coronavirus outbreak. The Texans who own property in the county include a Dallas donor and college classmate who helped Paxton launch his run for attorney general, among other Paxton contributors.

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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:

— 1,000: The number of coronavirus-related deaths in India, which has shelved a plan to give the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to thousands of people in Mumbai’s crowded slums to prevent coronavirus infections.

IN OTHER NEWS:

— BELGIAN BOOZE: A university research survey has found that alcohol consumption in Belgium is remaining mostly stable during the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

— HURDLE INSPIRATION: Clint Hurdle began sending his daily notes of inspiration more than 10 years ago, during his days managing the Colorado Rockies. What used to be group text messages have turned into much more — every morning, his Daily Encouragement emails go out to some 5,000 eager recipients.

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Source: Associated Press