And older woman washes an older man's hands

Ines Prandini, 85, washes her husband's hands, Gino Verani, 87, at home in San Fiorano, one of the original 'red zone' towns in northern Italy, March 15, 2020. Verani has senile dementia and it has been very hard for the family to deal with his illness while on lockdown.


Marzio Toniolo/via Reuters

Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

The global death toll from coronavirus now exceeds 10,000. The number of casualties in Italy surpasses those in China, despite a huge population disparity. Hospitals say that they are on the brink of being overwhelmed. California has ordered its 40 million residents to shelter in place.  

And while disease control experts implore social distancing and good hygine habits — prompting holds on some utility shutoffs in the US — globally, 785 million people lack clean water.

“The kind of water we have access to has the potential to cause more diseases instead of warding off the virus if we use it to wash our hands,” one man in New Delhi, India, told the Associated Press.   

From The World: Russia is trying to spread a viral disinformation campaign

And: Pandemic threatens stability, demands ‘coordinated global action,’ says Susan Rice 

'Heightened risk' to the republic as coronavirus crises continues

The Trump administration is quietly pushing through ideological policies under the guise of emergency responses to the coronavirus, including increasing immigration crackdowns and limiting congressional oversight. 

"Given President Trump’s disregard for basic rule-of-law norms, the constitutional republic was already at serious risk before the pandemic," Richard Primus, a constitutional law professor told The World. "The pandemic heightens that risk."

As history shows, times of great uncertainty provide an opening for lasting government overreach across the world.

And: Inside the military's top secret plans if coronavirus cripples the government

Also: Israeli coronavirus surveillance explained

African countries restrict travel in bid to slow spread of coronavirus

Africa has so far been spared the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. Many worry that might be changing as the number of confirmed cases rise. Some warn that without urgent measures, an outbreak in Somalia, which saw its first case this week, could kill more people than anywhere else in the world.  

While experts initially anticipated African countries would be vulnerable due to their close business and travel links with China, Europe and the US have proved to be the main source of the pandemic's initial cases.

And: 'No work, no food': For Kibera dwellers, quarantine not an option

Biden, Sanders have free college plans. They might learn from other countries.

Experts say the US can learn from free tuition policies implemented in other countries. The World looks at some European and Latin American models.  

But free tuition alone won’t close the inequality gap in higher education. Tuition relief lifts just one barrier to higher education for low-income students. They also need more support in the form of financial aid or grants and guidance throughout their college years in order to succeed, experts say. 

5 museums offering virtual art while you’re quarantined

The Museum of the City of New York posted a #MuseumMomentofZen on Twitter: This is Herbert Bolivar Tschudy's work, "The Turtle Tank," from 1920.

The Museum of the City of New York posted this #MuseumMomentofZen on Twitter: This is Herbert Bolivar Tschudy's work, "The Turtle Tank," from 1920.


Museum of the City of New York/Work by Herbert Bolivar Tschudy

Numerous arts institutions are finding creative ways to display their works while their physical doors are closed.

The Uffizi, in Florance, Italy, has started a social media campaign called #UffiziDecameron, where everyday tour guides tell stories about their favorite works of art in the collection. (It's all in Italian, but you can still appreciate the art if you don't understand the langauge!)

Online resources will never replace seeing art in person. Still, says Sheryl Victor Levy at the Museum of the City of New York, arts and culture really has the capacity to help us right now: “It’s there to inspire, it’s there to be provocative, it’s there to help people contemplate … now is the time to engage!” 

Morning meme

Editor's note: An earlier version of this post contained a "morning meme" of elephants asleep in a tea garden. Pictures of cute animals have buoyed spirits across the internet during the pandemic. But National Geographic warns that many such stories have been faked, including the post that appeared here.  

In case you missed it

Listen: Is China turning the tide on coronavirus?

A woman is shown wearing a khaki coat and a face mask while riding an escalator upward.

Pedestrians wearing face masks ride an escalator near an overpass with an electronic board showing the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock indexes, following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country, in Shanghai, China.


Aly Song/Reuters/File Photo

China reported that there were no new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. But in Italy, the death toll from coronavirus overtook China's, as hospitals said they were being overwhelmed and the government prepared to prolong emergency lockdown measures. And, governments around the world, including the US, are working to counter crashing economies. US Congress passed two coronavirus-related spending bills totaling hundreds of billions of dollars. Also, art museums around the world have shut their doors amid the outbreak, so art institutions and enthusiasts are going digital with some pretty innovative social media campaigns.

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