Coronavirus pandemic: Updates from around the world

Undeterred by a barrage of criticism, the US state of Georgia is moving ahead with its plan to help restart its economy, reopening some nonessential businesses today. Gov. Brian Kemp is one of America’s first governors to ease restrictions, allowing gyms, barber shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors, massage therapists and bowling alleys to resume work, so long as they comply with social distancing guidelines.

But maintaining a safe distance in many of those businesses is next to impossible, leaving owners feeling conflicted, Faith Karimi writes. “Get your hair done for what? There’s a pandemic, people are dying,” one hair stylist said.  

The House of Representatives approved a $480 billion package yesterday to help refresh a dwindling small-businesses loan program, as another 4.4 million people filed for unemployment. The coronavirus has put a staggering 26 million Americans out of work since mid-March.  

But the aid did not include money for state governments to help keep workers on their payrolls — assistance that a bipartisan group of governors and mayors have been begging for from Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell drew the ire of governors for suggesting that “blue states” hit hard by the outbreak seek bankruptcy protections rather than be given a federal bailout. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the remark from the Kentucky Republican was reckless and that the pandemic was no time for divisive politics: “It’s not red and blue. It’s red, white and blue.”  

Here’s what else you need to know today.

Can sunlight and bleach cure the coronavirus? The short answer is: No. US health experts are rushing to warn against President Donald Trump’s suggestion that zapping patients with UV light or even injecting disinfectant into the lungs could help treat the virus. The claims, touted by Trump during yesterday’s press briefing, have been slammed for endangering public health. Too much UV light damage can lead to skin cancer. And chlorine bleach is toxic: it can and does kill people who drink it.  

A silent, deadly spread: US health officials said months ago that the risk to the public was low. But new research and two February deaths confirmed as virus-related, prove that Covid-19 was already spreading much earlier than previously thought.

Drug hopes fade: Global stocks slumped today after a study into a potential coronavirus treatment was halted following inconclusive results. Drug maker Gilead said it had terminated a trial of Remdesivir early, and thus had no conclusive findings about its effectiveness. 

24 hours in a UK intensive care unit: CNN spent a day inside a hospital in the Midlands, the worst-hit area of Britain outside of London. Nurses and doctors there offered these two warnings: 1. They fear a second wave as soon as lockdowns lift. 2. Just because the country’s capital city is seeing the virus ebb, doesn’t mean it isn’t ravaging other regions.

India’s Muslims attacked, blamed for spread: Hafiz Mohammed Naseerudin, a 44-year-old Imam, says that after a police officer assaulted him for being a Muslim and blamed him for spreading the coronavirus, he was left lying on the road for almost an hour. He’s not alone. As fears of a widespread outbreak mount in India, some of the country’s Muslims, who make up roughly 200 million of the country’s 1.3 billion population, have been targeted in Islamophobic attacks on the streets and online, and accused of spreading the virus. 

Travel bans amid Ramadan: Indonesia has temporarily banned domestic road, air and sea travel, as the world’s most populous Muslim nation marks the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Tens of millions of people normally make their way home to celebrate the end of Ramadan each year, an annual tradition called mudik. But, as the country grapples with rapidly rising numbers of infections, there are concerns mass migration could spark further outbreaks.

A version of this story first appeared in CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact Vs. Fiction newsletter. You can sign up here.

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