Spain lets children play as US states move at various speeds

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A woman wearing a protective face mask to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus carries a box as she walks at the Phoenix Center in Beijing, Sunday, April 26, 2020. China on Sunday confirmed more cases of the coronavirus and no new deaths for the 11th day in a row. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING – Spain let children go outside and play Sunday for the first time in six weeks as European countries methodically worked to ease their lockdowns and reopen their economies, while governors in the United States moved at differing speeds, some more aggressive, others more cautious.

Elsewhere around the world, China's state-run media said that hospitals in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the disaster, no longer have any COVID-19 patients, after a crisis in which the city recorded nearly 3,900 deaths. And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson planned to be back at his desk Monday at 10 Downing St. after a bout with the coronavirus that put him in intensive care.

While governors in states like hard-hit New York and Michigan are keeping stay-at-home restrictions in place until at least mid-May, their counterparts in places such as Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska are allowing certain businesses to reopen. And churches in Montana began holding in-person services again Sunday.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said each state is different. Still, she told NBC, social-distancing recommendations would “be with us through the summer to really ensure that we protect one another as we move through these phases.”

The official death toll from the virus topped 205,000 worldwide, with over 2.9 million reported infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, though the real figures are believed to be much higher, in part because of inadequate testing and differences in counting the dead.

Italy, Britain, Spain and France accounted for more than 20,000 deaths each, the U.S. for about 55,000.

Some encouraging signs were seen, as Italy recorded its lowest 24-hour number of deaths since mid-March, with 260, and New York state registered its fewest since late last month, with 367.

Seven weeks into Italy's strict lockdown, Premier Giuseppe Conte laid out a long-awaited timetable for getting back to normal, announcing that factories, construction sites and wholesale supply businesses can resume activity as soon as they put safety measures in place against the virus.