BERLIN (AP) — One of the grimmest symbols of the coronavirus outbreak — a morgue set up in a Madrid skating rink — closed on Wednesday as stores and other businesses reopened in places across Europe, while the U.S. was beset with increasingly partisan disagreements over how and when to restart its economy. As some governors in the U.S. — largely Republican ones — moved to reopen an ever-wider variety of businesses, others took a more cautious approach and came under mounting pressure from protesters complaining that their livelihoods are being destroyed and their freedom of movement is being infringed on.
Congress is sprinting to approve a $483 billion coronavirus aid package this week, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s time to “push the pause button” on federal spending. Also, California health officials reset the timeline on coronavirus deaths and Tyson Foods shut down an Iowa plant. And a Russian ultramarathoner found a way to get his miles in, running 10-plus hours inside his home. 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: — Congress is sprinting to approve a $483 billion coronavirus aid package this week.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Governors in 17 states have committed to regional coordination to reopen their economies during the coronavirus outbreak — but none are in the South, where leaders are going it alone, just as they did in imposing restrictions. As questions about when and how to ease virus-control measures becomes increasingly politically charged, governors in the Deep South have resisted any appearance of synchronization, instead driving home their message that each state must make its own decision. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp plans to have many of his state’s businesses up and running again as soon as Friday. Fellow Republican Tennessee Gov.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite pockets of attention-grabbing protests, a new survey finds Americans remain overwhelmingly in favor of stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. A majority say it won’t be safe to lift such restrictions anytime soon, even as a handful of governors announce plans to ease within days the public health efforts that have upended daily life and roiled the global economy. The survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that more than a month after schoolyards fell silent, restaurant tables and bar stools emptied, and waves from a safe distance replaced hugs and handshakes, the country largely believes restrictions on social interaction to curb the spread of the virus are appropriate.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration announced a plan Wednesday to start paying hospitals and doctors who care for uninsured COVID-19 patients, but Democratic lawmakers and health industry groups are likely to press for more. Under the approach detailed by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, hospitals and doctors would submit their bills directly to the government and they would get paid at Medicare rates. Uninsured people would not be liable for any of the costs, and health care providers would not have to ask any questions about a patient’s immigration status, an issue that’s been cited as a barrier to care in communities with many foreign-born residents.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched its first satellite into space Wednesday, dramatically revealing what experts described as a secret military space program that could advance its ballistic missile development amid wider tensions between the Islamic Republic and the U.S. Using a mobile launcher at a new launch site, the Guard said it put the “Noor,” or “Light,” satellite into a low orbit circling the Earth. While the U.S., Israel and other countries declined to immediately confirm the satellite reached orbit, their criticism suggested they believed the launch happened. Iranian state TV late Wednesday showed footage of what it said was the satellite and said it had orbited the earth within 90 minutes.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The financial conditions of the government’s two biggest benefits programs remain shaky, with Medicare projected to become insolvent in six years and Social Security on track to no longer be able to pay full benefits starting in 2035. And that’s without accounting for the impact of the coronavirus, which is sure to impose further pressure on the two programs. For Social Security, the projected 2035 date for exhausting the trust fund reserves means that it would be able to pay only 79% of benefits at that time. The projected timetables, which remained unchanged from last year’s estimates, were revealed Wednesday with the release of the annual trustees reports of both programs.
NEW YORK (AP) — Two pet cats in New York state have tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first confirmed cases in companion animals in the United States, federal officials said Wednesday. The cats, which had mild respiratory illnesses and are expected to recover, are thought to have contracted the virus from people in their households or neighborhoods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The finding, which comes after positive tests in seven tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo, adds to a small number of confirmed cases of the virus in animals worldwide.
He’d retreat to his basement, surrounded by thousands of books on the Holocaust. He’d return from Europe with photos of cemeteries. The lessons of relatives who were killed and parents who lived were so striking, he’d make sure his passport was at hand if he ever needed to flee. Yet Isaiah Kuperstein’s laugh thundered, his eyes smiled, his arms delivered bear hugs, his lips brought words of hope. As much as he was marked by humanity’s darkness, he emanated light. At work, he was the encyclopedic Holocaust scholar who helped transform how children were taught a subject many thought too gruesome to broach.
While professional sports leagues can ponder plans to isolate their athletes from the new coronavirus and have them play in unusual, even secluded places, college sports have no such option. Pro sports leagues can get creative with solutions to save their multibillion-dollar businesses. College sports will take a slower road back. “The most at-risk sport of starting up again, in my opinion, is collegiate athletics,” said A.J. Maestas, the CEO of Navigate Research, which consults with professional sports leagues and college conferences. “There is less of an incentive and less alignment with the ultimate mission of the entity they work at, live at.
Many wary of virus reopenings as partisan divide grows in US
What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
Southern states largely go it alone in reopening decisions
AP-NORC poll: Few Americans support easing virus protections
Administration offers plan to cover COVID care for uninsured
Iran Guard reveals secret space program in satellite launch
Social Security and Medicare funds at risk even before virus
AP Exclusive: 2 cats in NY state test positive for virus
Lives Lost: A man who studied darkness, but beamed light
Analysis: Expect college football to take a slow road back