Virus briefing: Why hospitals are running short of supplies, plus tips to stay healthy and connected

The critical shortage of medical supplies across the U.S., including testing swabs, protective masks, surgical gowns and hand sanitizer, can be tied to a sudden drop in imports, mostly from China, The Associated Press has found.

Trade data shows the decline in shipments started in mid-February after the spiraling coronavirus outbreak in China led the country to shutter factories and disrupted ports.

At the same time, U.S. public health officials, hospitals and insurance companies have started pushing people to try telemedicine for their allergies, earaches and other minor problems and skip the doctor’s office or clinic during the coronavirus outbreak.

Among other updates this weekend:

U.S. elections have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic. At least 13 states have postponed voting.Healthy volunteers in Seattle are rolling up their sleeves and getting an experimental COVID-19 shot aimed at preventing future spread.Major streets and highways appear deserted in many parts of the world as curfews and lockdowns multiply in the face of a rapidly advancing virus that is severely straining health systems.New Orleans shut down bars, eliminating restaurant dining and banning crowds as some wonder if the February Mardi Gras celebration contributed to virus spread.The number of coronavirus cases in Africa has topped 1,000. Iran announced 123 more virus deaths, bringing toll to 1,556.Coronavirus can sicken or kill young people as well and they must also avoid mingling and spreading it to older and more vulnerable people, the World Health Organization said.Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, reported no new or suspected COVID-19 cases for a third consecutive day.

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.

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.

Here are some tips to maintain physical and mental health, and pitch in to help others.

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