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What you need to know about coronavirus on Saturday, May 3

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A majority of US states have begun easing social distancing restrictions even as pandemic experts say lifting lockdowns now will be destructive without increased testing capacity.
Lockdown protests have spread across the United States in past weeks. In the United Kingdom, meanwhile, police have issued thousands of fines to people flouting the rules and in Germany, activists have gone to court to challenge the country’s ban on gatherings.
Several European countries have also started easing restrictions this week but more cautiously. Spaniards, for example, were finally allowed to go outside yesterday to run, cycle or walk after being cooped up in their homes for seven weeks. In much of Germany, people are now allowed to use public transport and go to stores, but only if they cover their mouths and noses.
In Oklahoma, by contrast, one city nixed its rule requiring face masks after threats of violence were made.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED

Q: What is contact tracing? How does it help stop a virus?

A: Contact tracing tracks down anyone who might have been infected by a person who was recently diagnosed, so they can quarantine themselves and prevent further spread. “In contact tracing, public health staff work with a patient to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the timeframe while they may have been infectious,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

What if a vaccine is never found?

The race to develop a coronavirus vaccine has consumed time and money. But despite optimism from political leaders about human trials already underway, many experts fear that no vaccine might ever be developed.
If a vaccine can’t be produced, life will not remain as it is now. But it might not return to normality quickly, Rob Picheta writes. As countries start to creep out of paralysis, health experts would push governments to implement new standards of living. That could buy the world the months, years or decades needed until a vaccine can wipe out Covid-19.

Warren Buffett vows that the US will recover

During a shareholders meeting yesterday, the 89-year old billionaire discussed previous times of hardship: the Cuban missile crisis, the Cold War, 9/11 and the Great Recession. Every time it seemed that times were bleak, Buffett said, America eventually recovered.
Buffett struck a defiant tone even as his company, Berkshire Hathaway, posted a nearly $50 billion net loss in the first quarter, its biggest ever.
The losses reflect the wider misery of the US economy right now: 30 million people have filed for unemployment benefits, millions of small businesses have requested loans to stay alive and second quarter economic output could decline by 40%, economists say.

Engineers, chefs and waitresses now farming in the UK

Daniel Martin is a civil engineer. Or rather he was, until furloughed in the wake of the pandemic. Now he works on a farm. He figured it would be better than sitting on his couch all summer.

As Covid-19 cases surpass 180,000 in the UK, British farmers have lost the eastern European migrant workers who normally harvest crops. With thousands of Brits out of work, it has become government policy to lure citizens into the fields. Mick Krever and Nic Robertson report.

Infections keep spiking in Russia

Russia reported 10,633 new coronavirus cases today, another single-day record. The country has seen four consecutive days of record increases, bringing the total to 134,687.

Just weeks ago, the Russian President Vladimir Putin radiated confidence about his government’s response, reassuring his citizens that the situation was “under control” thanks to early intervention measures.

That mood has decidedly shifted. This week, Putin struck a much more somber tone, admitting there wasn’t enough personal protective equipment for medical workers. “The situation is still very difficult,” he said, according to the Kremlin. “We are facing a new and perhaps the most intense stage in countering the epidemic.”

ON OUR RADAR

TOP TIP

With much of the globe now under lockdown, we have never been so tethered to our screens — for work, to connect with friends or to distract ourselves. So here are some tips on how to protect your eyes:
  • Blink, rather than touch your eyes.
  • Use drops if your eyes feel dry.
  • Turn your devices to night mode in the evening.
  • Try the 20-20-20 approach: For every 20 minutes spent staring at a screen, take a 20-second break and look 20 feet in front of you.
  • Place your computer screen in line with your eyes, and about 18 to 30 inches from where you’re sitting, and tilt it back slightly.

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