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What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

Distressing images of morgue trucks in New York City, taking away the rising number of dead from the coronavirus, have underscored the latest grim projections for the entire country.

Experts warned that there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. even if social distancing guidelines are maintained. America now has more than 4,000 dead from the outbreak.

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.

A man wears a face mask as he walks past murals of wildlife outside of a subway station in Beijing, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. China's National Health Commission on Wednesday reported a few dozens of new COVID-19 cases, one day after announcing that asymptomatic cases will now be included in the official coronavirus count. (AP PhotoMark Schiefelbein)

WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY:

— New York is the deadliest hot spot in the U.S., with more than 1,500 deaths statewide, most of them in New York City, which is bracing for things to get much worse in the coming weeks.

— Donald Trump, the self-styled “wartime president” is enjoying the high ratings of his briefings and boasting they're up there with "The Bachelor." Meanwhile, on the streets of the country, people are recoiling in the wake of each passing stranger's exhalation.

A child walks on the deserted Republique square during a nationwide confinement to counter the new coronavirus, in Paris, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP PhotoThibault Camus)

— The IRS and the Treasury Department say Americans will start receiving their economic impact checks in the next three weeks. AP's business team sets out what you need to do to get your check.

— Facing intense surges in the need for hospital ICU beds, European nations are on a building and hiring spree, throwing together makeshift hospitals and shipping coronavirus patients out of overwhelmed cities. The key question is whether they will be able to find enough healthy medical staff to make it all work.

— The coronavirus pandemic couldn't come at a worse time for rural communities across the U.S. that have lost their hospitals. Nearly 200 small-town hospitals have closed nationwide since 2005, often forcing residents to drive much farther for health care. Last year was the worst yet for shutdowns, and officials say hundreds more rural hospitals are endangered by the pandemic.

Impoverished Indians offer prayers outside a roadside Hindu temple closed on account of lockdown to prevent the spread of new coronavirus in Prayagraj, India, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. India's 21-day lockdown has effectively kept 1.3 billion people at home for all but essential trips to places like markets or pharmacies. But the world's largest lockdown has turned into a humanitarian crisis for India's impoverished people. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP PhotoRajesh Kumar Singh)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu.

One of the best ways to prevent spread of the virus is washing your hands with soap and water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends first washing with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off.

You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how.

TRACKING THE VIRUS: Drill down and zoom in at the individual county level, and you can access numbers that will show you the situation where you are, and where loved ones or people you’re worried about live.

IN OTHER NEWS:

— UN-BAAAAA-LIEVABLE: With humans sheltering indoors to escape the new coronavirus, mountain goats are taking advantage of the peace and space to roam in frisky clumps through the streets of Llandudno, a town in North Wales.

— DIG, PLANT, BREATHE: As spring’s arrival in the Northern Hemisphere coincides with government stay-at-home orders, the itch to get outside has turned backyard gardens into a getaway for the mind in chaotic times.

Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak