US coronavirus deaths near 100,000

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Las Vegas casinos plan to welcome tourists again on June 4. South Korea on Wednesday announced a spike in new infections and considered reimposing social distancing restrictions, revealing the setbacks ahead for others on the road to reopening.

The European Union unveiled a massive stimulus package for the bloc’s ailing economies as European nations scrambled to emulate South Korea’s widely praised strategy of tracing, testing and treating that initially tamed its outbreak.

In the United States, the confirmed death toll is approaching 100,000 — the highest by far in the world. Nations from Mexico to Chile to Brazil are struggling with surging cases and overwhelmed hospitals.

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

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

— For the first time in history, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives intend to vote by proxy to avoid the risk of travel to Washington during the pandemic. To mark the moment, House Republicans sued to stop the majority party from going ahead.

— More than one in every six young workers have stopped working during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.N. labor agency reported, warning of long-term fallout that could lead to a “lock-down generation” if steps aren’t taken to ease the crisis.

— Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if scientists produce one. An additional 31% simply aren’t sure, while one in five say they’d refuse. That’s according to a survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

— The European Union proposed a 750 billion-euro ($825 billion) recovery fund to help countries weather a painful recession triggered by the coronavirus. The fund, to be mostly made up of grants and tied to the 27 member nations’ common budget, comes as the world’s biggest trading bloc enters its deepest-ever recession.

— Latin America is facing increased infections and spiking deaths, according to the World Health Organization. But there’s no sign of any slowdown for swindlers in the region even in the midst of a devastating pandemic. Reports of fraudulent purchases of ventilators, masks and other medical supplies are piling up.

— French lawmakers were set to vote Wednesday on whether to endorse a contact-tracing app designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus amid sharp debate over privacy concerns. If approved, France’s StopCovid app will be made available to users on a voluntary basis starting Monday.

— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to hold an official inquiry into the actions of his closest adviser for allegedly flouting lockdown rules, imploring an angry public to move on from the scandal rocking his government. Dominic Cummings drove 250 miles (400 kilometers) from London to his parents’ house in northeast England while he was falling ill with suspected COVID-19 — despite stay-at-home rules that the government had imposed on the rest of the country.

— Afghanistan is deeply vulnerable to the global pandemic because of a broken-down health system, slow government response and public attitudes. Despite billions of dollars in international money, government corruption has left resources depleted and institutions barely functional.

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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:

— 100,000: As America’s official tally reaches 100,000 deaths, AP national writer Ted Anthony says the COVID-19 saga is unfolding gradually over time, unlike hurricanes or mass shootings in the U.S.

IN OTHER NEWS:

— THROUGH KIDS’ EYES: AP reporters around the globe asked kids to use art to describe their lives during the pandemic and what they think the future might hold. Some sketched or painted, while others sang, danced or built with Legos. A few just wanted to talk.

— BAD EXAMPLES: Few countries seem immune to the perception that politicians and officials are bending the safety rules that their own governments wrote during the pandemic, whether it’s refusing to wear masks or breaking confinement rules aimed at protecting their citizens from COVID-19.

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