Virus briefing: Aid promised, medical supplies sought, and more to know today about pandemic relief efforts

Medical professionals are pleading for supplies such as masks and ventilators that are critical in their battle to treat a surging number of coronavirus patients, while governments continue to roll out varying levels of lockdown measures.

From Tokyo and Shanghai to Iran and Cuba, entire cities and countries are making drastic changes to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Deaths in the U.S. topped 100 a day, with a toll of more than 500 so far.

Among developments this morning:

U.S. stocks open sharply higher as hopes build that Congress will pass a virus relief package. Dow Jones Industrials jumps 1,000 points, or 5.9%. The Federal Reserve also is taking several steps to support an economy hard hit by the coronavirus.A UN health agency said virus infections and deaths are still rising “considerably;” 85% of new cases are from Europe and U.S.Japan said the summer Olympics will be postponed to 2021.China, where the virus first broke out, will end a lockdown of most of virus-hit Hubei province at midnight; restrictions on Wuhan to remain until April 8.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for helpful tips, a guide to coping, maps tracking virus spread, and live updates from verified social media accounts.

To brighten your day

Priest in Italy live streams mass, activates filters by mistake:

Some bits of good news

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate fever and cough. It can cause more severe illness including pneumonia for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

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