(CNN) -- The world is starting to emerge from the great lockdown. But rather than a Big Bang reopening, expect a two-steps-forward, one-step-back approach.
Countries that are ahead of the global curve offer a glimpse of what's to come. South Korea, which has done relatively well fighting the outbreak, announced new restrictions yesterday after a cluster of recent cases in Seoul sparked fears of a potential second wave of infections.
"It's not over until it's over," the country's president, Moon Jae-in, said today.
Spain, France, Italy, Australia, Japan and South Africa are among the countries expected to ease some of their harshest restrictions in the coming days.
Their approach isn't uniform but has one theme in common: caution. That might cause some disappointment as people itch to return to normality after weeks in lockdown.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil details of the government's reopening strategy today, but his ministers are trying to downplay expectations. The government's medical advisers continue to stress the need for social distancing and warn about the deadly consequences of letting the guard down too early.
Several leaks to the British media in recent days have created confusion about the restrictions still in place. In London, police say they are losing the battle against people ignoring rules.
The tension between the two goals -- to keep people healthy and open the economy -- is increasingly visible. A vast majority of US states have eased restrictions, even as the country reported more than 25,600 new cases yesterday and three of its top health officials announced they would enter quarantine after being exposed to the virus.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: If I don't have disinfecting wipes, can I use soap and water on surfaces?
A: Yes, just like you would on your hands to kill coronavirus. But don't use water alone — that won't really help. The outer layer of the virus is made up of lipids, aka fat. Your goal is to break through that fatty barrier, forcing the virus' guts to spill out, rendering it dead. In other words, imagine coronavirus is a butter dish that you're trying to clean.
"You try to wash your butter dish with water alone, but that butter is not coming off the dish," said Dr. John Williams, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "You need some soap to dissolve grease. So soap or alcohol are very, very effective against dissolving that greasy liquid coating of the virus."
By cutting through the greasy barrier, Williams added, "it physically inactivates the virus so it can't bind to and enter human cells anymore."
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WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
Worrying inflammatory syndrome
Doctors are raising alarm over a growing number of children falling ill with a new inflammatory illness that may be linked to Covid-19.
Health officials describe it as "pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome." Some children display persistent fever, toxic shock syndrome and features similar to Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation in the walls of the arteries and can limit blood flow to the heart. Symptoms include a high temperature lasting over five days, rashes, swollen neck glands and swelling of the hands and feet.
New York state officials said yesterday the condition has killed a teenager and two children under 8 years old. Similar cases have been identified in the UK, Italy and Spain.
4 million global cases
Russia and Brazil have emerged as the latest hotspots, both seeing large jumps in the number of new infections in recent days.
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro continues to dismiss the threat coronavirus presents. In Russia, the focus has turned to the country's health system after three frontline health care workers mysteriously fell out of hospital windows.
Migrants in limbo
Migrant laborers worldwide are suffering the brunt of the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands are struggling with stripped livelihoods, hazardous accommodation and no easy way home.
Sam Kiley and Mostafa Salem report from the Persian Gulf, where overcrowded labor camps and densely populated neighborhoods have emerged as virus hot spots.
In Singapore, the outbreak has left hundreds of thousands of workers trapped in dormitories, amid cramped conditions that make social distancing near impossible. In the US, immigrants have also found themselves on the frontlines of the pandemic.
How masks define us
Face masks have emerged as a coronavirus fault line. The decision to wear or avoid them signals where people stand on public health guidelines.
Countries like the Czech Republic, Israel and Kenya require people to cover their noses and mouths when going out. Elsewhere, face covering remains optional or, as in Germany, restricted to specific places such as grocery stores and public transportation. In other parts of the world, they are turning into fashion statements.
Global health experts agree masks can help limit the spread of the virus. But the prospect of a new society in which the public conceals their faces from one another has wide-ranging implications for crime and security, as well as social interaction, Luke McGee reports.
ON OUR RADAR
- A cluster of coronavirus cases in California has been traced to a coughing patient at a birthday party in Pasadena after the city issued a stay-at-home order in March.
- Ballerinas across the globe created a mesmerizing video to raise money for dancers' coronavirus relief.
- Resist the temptation to hug your mom. Call her instead. Health officials warn against Mother's Day gatherings.
- The US Army is asking technology companies to develop wearable sensors to detect early symptoms of coronavirus.
- A New York City hospital suprised its staff with free vacations in recognition of their efforts to combat the virus.
- Alec Baldwin's Trump returned to "SNL" to congratulate the "class of Covid-19."
CNN anchor Brianna Keilar feels oddly at peace with the ups and downs of pandemic life. They're not too different from the ups and downs of military life, which she has experienced during her husband's deployments overseas.
Keilar says the pandemic sparks a lot of feelings and problems military spouses are intimately familiar with: worrying a loved one might die, working from home, unemployment and loneliness.
Here is her personal guide to surviving.
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