Coronavirus, Democrats, John Roberts: Your Thursday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering the state of emergency in California and other responses to the coronavirus outbreak, the latest in the Democratic presidential race, and a rare rebuke from the Supreme Court’s chief justice, John Roberts.

A ship with suspected links to two coronavirus cases, one fatal, was being held off the coast of San Francisco until everyone on board could be tested, Gov. Gavin Newsom said. At least 21 people on the ship had symptoms.

On Wednesday, a former passenger became the first U.S. coronavirus death outside Washington State and the 11th over all. Here are the latest updates and maps of where the virus has spread.

The coronavirus has already disrupted the education of nearly 300 million students worldwide, according to the United Nations. A Seattle-area school district said on Wednesday that it would cancel classes for two weeks, the largest virus-related shutdown in the U.S.

Among other effects:

Watch: We used satellite images to show what the outbreak’s effects look like from space.

Since Joe Biden won the South Carolina primary in a landslide last weekend, much of the Democratic establishment has aligned behind the former vice president.

Mr. Biden was endorsed by Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday, after the former New York City mayor ended his brief, multimillion-dollar candidacy.

Bernie Sanders, who seemed to have a clear advantage a week ago, faces pressure to show that he can expand his political base, and he acknowledged on Wednesday that his campaign hadn’t generated the turnout among young people that he had counted on.

Related: Elizabeth Warren’s campaign manager told staff members that the senator was assessing her options after failing to finish in the top two of any Super Tuesday contest. Here are the near-final results.

What’s next: Most delegates awarded after Super Tuesday are at stake in the East, where Mr. Sanders has underperformed. Our Upshot columnist Nate Cohn looked at the state of the race.

Another angle: Wall Street executives are opening their checkbooks for Mr. Biden. That could be a mixed blessing for a candidate who presents himself as anti-elitist.

The Times reported in January about a groundbreaking facial recognition system being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies, developed by a start-up called Clearview AI. In response to subsequent criticism, the company said that its technology was “available only for law enforcement agencies and select security professionals.”

But The Times has found multiple other individuals with access to the technology among Clearview’s investors, clients and friends. They include John Catsimatidis, above, the billionaire owner of the Gristedes grocery store chain in New York, who used Clearview to surveil shoppers and to identify a man he saw on a date with his daughter.

Supreme Court rebuke: Chief Justice John Roberts denounced remarks by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, after the Democratic leader criticized President Trump’s two Supreme Court appointees. A spokesman for the lawmaker said his comments had been misrepresented.

Snapshot: Above, antennas in Australia that are part of the Deep Space Network. The system, which lets spacecraft communicate with Earth, will be taken offline for almost a year starting Monday for upgrades and repairs.

In memoriam: Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, a two-term secretary general of the United Nations during the 1980s and ’90s, died on Wednesday at 100. He helped broker several peace agreements, including the end of a 10-year war between Iran and Iraq, and the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan.

Late-night comedy: After Jill Biden confronted protesters who rushed onstage during her husband’s victory rally on Tuesday, Jimmy Fallon said, “Forget first lady — she should be secretary of defense.”

What we’re reading: Anahad O’Connor, a health reporter, highlights a fascinating — and somewhat frightening — new study of coral species that suggests that Earth’s “sixth extinction” may be well underway. The science journalist Emily Laber-Warren tells the story in Newsweek.

Read: Erik Larson’s biography of Winston Churchill, “The Splendid and the Vile,” is a No. 1 debut on our hardcover nonfiction and combined print and e-book nonfiction best-seller lists.

Listen: For Hayley Williams, the frontwoman of the rock band Paramore, a solo project was a way to exorcise demons and stretch her creative powers. Our reporter met her in Nashville.

Smarter Living: Microaggressions, the everyday insults that members of marginalized groups experience, can negatively affect health or elicit symptoms of trauma. Here’s how to decide which ones to fight, and what to say.

In 1896, The Times adopted its now famous mission: “to give the news impartially, without fear or favor.” But what does this mean in practice? Some of our reporters and editors recently told us what they do to remain objective.

Peter Baker, our chief White House correspondent, says:

“As reporters, our job is to observe, not participate, and so to that end I don’t belong to any political party, I don’t belong to any nonjournalism organization, I don’t support any candidate, I don’t give money to interest groups and I don’t vote.

“I try hard not to take strong positions on public issues even in private, much to the frustration of friends and family. For me, it’s easier to stay out of the fray if I never make up my mind, even in the privacy of the kitchen or the voting booth, that one candidate is better than another, that one side is right and the other wrong.”

Elizabeth Dias, a national correspondent who covers religion and politics, says:

“I don’t go to marches, though that’s the hobby du jour in Washington right now. When my friends point out that Americans have the right to free assembly, I agree. I just also think of another First Amendment right, freedom of the press, and that is my focus.

“Impartiality, for me, is not about hiding something I really think, or trying to keep my real views from being exposed. It is about trust. I think about my readers a lot. I want them to trust me.”

Read more of our journalists’ responses.

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

— Chris

Thank you
Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Chris Harcum provided the break from the news. Lara Takenaga wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the coronavirus outbreak in Washington State.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Two-dimensional (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Clinton Cargill, who previously worked at Bloomberg and Vanity Fair, has joined our National desk to help bring our journalism to life on our digital platforms.

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