Coronavirus, Jobs, Ellis Marsalis Jr.: Your Thursday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re looking ahead, with trepidation, to a Labor Department report on weekly jobless claims. We’re also covering Joe Biden’s call to reschedule the Democratic National Convention, and threats to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

People in the Southeast and other places that waited to enact stay-at-home measures have continued to travel widely, potentially exposing more people as the outbreak accelerates, according to a Times analysis of anonymous cellphone data from 15 million people.

The location data, from the data intelligence firm Cuebiq, measures the range that people travel each day. Not all travel is problematic, but broadly higher levels suggest more chances to spread the virus, researchers said.

The details: Here’s a look at stay-at-home orders across the U.S. (Now included is Nevada, whose governor many readers have noted has encouraged residents to stay at home since mid-March. The state formally issued its order this week.)

Related: After growing pressure, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida issued a statewide stay-at-home order on Wednesday. The virus poses a unique risk for Florida, which has a sizable population older than 60 and an economy reliant on tourism.

Another angle: About 70 students from the University of Texas at Austin celebrated spring break in Mexico. Now, dozens have tested positive.

Thousands of people have died in the coronavirus pandemic, including doctors, nurses, ambassadors and activists. In a new series, The Times is telling their stories.

Among those who died on Wednesday were Ellis Marsalis Jr., 85, above, a pianist and the patriarch of a New Orleans family of jazz musicians, and Adam Schlesinger, 52, who performed in the band Fountains of Wayne before becoming an award-winning songwriter for film, theater and TV.

Growing gun sales: About two million firearms were sold in the U.S. in March, according to a Times analysis of federal data. It was the second-busiest month ever for gun sales, trailing only January 2013, after a call for new restrictions in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Transgender ban in Idaho: The state became the first in the U.S. to bar transgender females from women’s sports, raising the possibility that student athletes may have to consent to sex testing to compete.

Late-night comedy: “Leave it to Florida to announce a stay-at-home order on April Fools’ Day,” Jimmy Kimmel said. We also looked at the radically stripped down productions the hosts are making from home.

What we’re looking at: This Twitter thread from the Getty, in which the Los Angeles art museum challenges people to recreate beloved artworks at home. “My favorite is the one that mimics a Chardin still life, but with cans of tuna replacing the fish,” says Melina Delkic of the Briefings team.

Cook: Shakshuka works with just about any cheese. Melissa Clark used mozzarella instead of feta to give the North African egg dish “stretchy gooeyness.”

Play: When you look back on your memories of self-quarantine, perhaps you’ll remember today as the one where you read Seth Schiesel’s introduction to the world of interactive online gaming and started your relationship with Red Dead Redemption 2 or King of Dragon Pass.

Read: Elisabeth Egan makes a beautiful argument for reading aloud to your family, and suggests starting with “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,” by Charlie Mackesy.

Watch: Travel the world without leaving your house, with our 18 favorite TV shows for vicarious exploration.

Here’s our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying at home.

We just introduced On Tech, a newsletter about how technology is reshaping our world. Shira Ovide, its host, chatted with The Times’s tech columnist Kevin Roose about his recent article on kindness on the internet. Sign up for the newsletter, and read the first one.

So the internet is good now? Did you forget about everything you’ve ever written?

Kevin: It’s not so much that the internet is “good” now — these tools haven’t changed, after all — but I do think we’ve seen people using the internet in a more pro-social way, which is great. I hope it lasts.

What can all of us do to keep this pleasant?

Kevin: I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I think the answer is we need to contribute more. In normal times, we — and I include myself — are much more passive about using the internet. There’s some research that shows we’re happier when we use social media actively rather than passively scrolling.

The more good people use social media, the less the bad people are able to commandeer the megaphone. Now, it’s not only the opportunists who are getting amplified — it’s also doctors, nurses, epidemiologists and people organizing face mask drives.

But doctors won’t keep posting forever. And does the world really need photos of my boring oatmeal?

Kevin: Yes, be boring! Living through a pandemic is terrifying. We should all be legally required to post photos of our boring breakfasts. It’s what people used to knock Instagram for — “Oh, it’s just people posting their avocado toast.” But honestly, that sounds amazing right now — an all-avocado-toast social network!

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode includes an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Subtle insult (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Our White House correspondent Maggie Haberman will discuss the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and answer readers’ questions on a call at 11 a.m. Eastern with our DealBook team. Register here.

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