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What you need to know about coronavirus on Thursday, April 9

CNN.com —

(CNN)The World Health Organization has defended its response to the pandemic and warned that politicizing the crisis will result in “many more body bags,” countering criticisms leveled at it by President Donald Trump.

Global cases have now reached 1.5 million, and the United States had its deadliest day yet — but the White House coronavirus taskforce say there are signs social distancing is in fact working. Even as fatalities continue to increase, the nation’s top expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says there are “some glimmers of hope.

“Still, a return to normal life could be a long way off. A new study modeled on Chinese data suggests that lockdowns can’t be fully relaxed until a vaccine is available — and warns that loosening restrictions could result in a second wave of infections in mid-summer. And worrying new research from the Korean CDC indicates that the virus may “reactivate” in people previously cured of the illness, Bloomberg reports.

A day after restrictions were lifted in Wuhan — ground zero of the virus — fears of a second wave are growing: China’s President Xi Jinping has warned of “new difficulties and challenges” in the fight to prevent a resurgence.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED

Q: Will the virus disappear this summer?

A: Scientists have rebutted Trump’s claims that the virus will “miraculously go away” when the weather gets warmer. In a letter to the White House, a group of experts said that while there is some evidence to suggest Covid-19 transmits less efficiently in hotter temperatures and higher humidity, that may not lead to a reduction in its spread. And we’ve already seen evidence of that in countries with warmer climates, like Australia. The main reason: the global population doesn’t have immunity to coronavirus.

WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY

New York cases didn’t come from ChinaNew research shows that travelers from Europe — not Asia — brought the first cases of the virus to the New York area in mid-February, weeks before Trump enforced a travel ban for much of the continent.US spy agencies were tracking the rise of the coronavirus as early as November, weeks before that information was included in President Donald Trump’s daily intelligence briefing, a former US military official told CNN.

Virus exposes racial dividesThe virus appears to be hitting minority communities hard, laying bear America’s racial and ethnic divides. The US Surgeon General has said that black Americans are at higher risk. That disparity has been evident in early data on deaths in Louisiana, Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey.

UK may be worst hit in Europe“It’s a hideous situation.” Many of the nurses risking it all on the frontline of Britain’s outbreak are paid salaries of less than $30,000 a year. They’ve long been undervalued — the UK’s public health service has been overstretched and shedding essential nursing staff since the 2008 financial crisis — but the pandemic has put that reality into sharp relief, Ivana Kottasova writes.Britain experienced its highest daily death toll yesterday — 939 fatalities — and those numbers could continue to worsen. A new virus model has predicted the UK would be the worst-hit European nation (though some British scientists are skeptical).The British government will be re-evaluating its nationwide lockdown restrictions today, while the nation’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care.

Trump could tariff foreign oil“Tariff Man” Trump is threatening to use his favorite economic weapon to protect America’s beleaguered oil industry from aggression by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Those two nations are engaged in an epic price war that, along with a historic collapse in demand, has helped send crude crashing. The goal is to force Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reach a breakthrough at today’s highly-anticipated meeting by massively cutting production, Matt Egan writes.

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