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The coronavirus pandemic: What's happening

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Here are some of the latest news from around the world on the coronavirus pandemic.

WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY:

* Three potential COVID-19 vaccines are making fast progress in early-stage testing in volunteers in China and the U.S., but it's still a long road to prove if they'll really work. Initial tests focus on safety, and researchers in both countries are trying out different doses of different types of shots.

* For people who lost homes to the deadly tornadoes that rampaged across the South, there are no comforting hugs from volunteers or handshakes from politicians. These and other changes reflect how disaster response has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic: Workers are still trying to provide all the help they can, but from a distance.

* Florida's governor has deemed pro wrestling an essential business amid the state's stay-at-home directive. Pro sports were added to a list of businesses allowed to stay open if the location is closed to the general public. The amendment allows Florida-based World Wrestling Entertainment, run by CEO Vince McMahon, to continue putting on shows - without fans.

* China has been criticized in the West for its early mishandling of the health crisis due to politically motivated foot-dragging. Now it is seeking to change perceptions through what has been dubbed "mask diplomacy." That's a combination of soft power policy, political messaging and aid shipments designed to portray Beijing as a generous and efficient ally. That message has found fertile ground in places like Serbia and Hungary.

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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.

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ONE NUMBER:

* 3%: The International Monetary Fund said it expects the global economy to shrink 3% this year - far worse than its 0.1% dip in the Great Recession year of 2009 - before rebounding in 2021 with 5.8% growth. It acknowledges, though, that prospects for a rebound next year are clouded by uncertainty.

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IN OTHER NEWS:

* SMALL GESTURES: In a time of anxiety and isolation, simple acts of kindness from medical workers are giving comfort and hope to patients and their families.

* JACKALS EMERGE: With Tel Aviv in lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis, a sprawling park in the heart of the city is all but empty. This has cleared the way for packs of jackals to take over the park.

* LIFE WITHOUT MOVIE THEATERS: For more than a century, movie theaters have been a refuge, a communal escape, a place transporting people away from everything else. What now as they close amid the pandemic?

© AP 2020