Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times
Congress to vote on coronavirus aid package
The House plans to vote today on an economic rescue package to respond to the effects of the pandemic. The legislation includes enhanced unemployment benefits and free testing for the virus, and ensures 14 days of paid sick leave, according to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Senate called off a recess next week to vote on the measure.
Here are the latest updates on the outbreak and maps of where the virus has spread.
In other developments:
Wall Street had its worst day since the Black Monday crash of 1987. Here’s the latest from global markets.
At least six states and several large school districts moved to close schools for at least two weeks, affecting millions.
A ban on travel from much of Europe to the U.S. is to begin today at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. The restrictions don’t apply to American citizens but nevertheless caused chaos on Thursday, as panicked passengers tried to leave Europe before they took effect. Here’s a guide to the restrictions.
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, has tested positive for the virus. Mr. Trudeau shows no symptoms and is not being tested, but will work from home for 14 days.
The White House press secretary said that neither President Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence would be tested after meeting with a Brazilian official who later tested positive. An Australian official who met last week with Attorney General William Barr and Ivanka Trump, Mr. Trump’s daughter and senior adviser, said today that he had the virus.
China reported its lowest tally from the virus since January, with eight new infections confirmed in the past 24 hours.
In sports, the N.C.A.A. canceled the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, and several professional leagues suspended or postponed their seasons.
Every Disney theme park will be closed starting this weekend. The company’s cruise line is suspending departures.
In New York, Broadway theaters are going dark for a month, and cultural institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim will close temporarily.
What to know: The Times is providing free access to our most important updates and guidance on the outbreak. Our Coronavirus Briefing, like all our newsletters, remains free.
Testing in the U.S. remains elusive
Almost a week after President Trump announced that anyone who wanted a test could get one, many who fear they have the coronavirus have struggled to get tested, according to dozens of interviews across the country.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discussed testing availability in testimony before Congress on Thursday: “The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we are not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we are not.”
The details: Worst-case projections based on C.D.C. scenarios suggest that — if no action were taken to slow transmission — 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die in the U.S. Those numbers don’t account for interventions already underway.
Closer look: The virus has overloaded hospitals in northern Italy, offering a glimpse of what countries face if they cannot slow the contagion.
News analysis: Beyond travel limits and wash-your-hands reminders, President Trump has left it to others to set the course in combating the pandemic, our White House reporters write. “If I need to do something, I’ll do it,” Mr. Trump said on Thursday. “Compared to other places, we are in really good shape.”
“The Daily”: Today’s episode is about how best to navigate the pandemic.
A changed race for the White House
Amid deepening uncertainty over the coronavirus and growing economic anxiety, the presidential campaign has become “a real-time, life-or-death test of competency and leadership,” our political reporters write.
On Thursday, both former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders criticized President Trump’s handling of the outbreak and offered plans of their own. A spokesman for the Trump campaign accused the Democratic candidates of politicizing a crisis.
Mr. Biden: “Public fears are being compounded by pervasive lack of trust in this president fueled by adversarial relationship with the truth that he continues to have.”
Mr. Sanders: “The crisis we face from the coronavirus is on a scale of a major war. And we must act accordingly.”
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
The man who felt too much
The Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim turns 90 next week, and The Times has essays and features in celebration. One is a reflection from our theater critic Ben Brantley, who saw his first Sondheim production, “Follies,” when he was 16:
“As a self-conscious, awkward kid who wanted only to be sophisticated, I didn’t yet grasp the complex, subversive dialectic of words and music in those numbers, or realize that they were as full of feeling as anything by Rodgers and Hammerstein.”
Here’s what else is happening
U.S. retaliation in Iraq: American warplanes struck back at a militia with ties to Iran after a rocket attack that killed three coalition troops.
Soccer resignation: Carlos Cordeiro, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, abruptly resigned and took responsibility for a legal filing concerning the women’s national team that was widely condemned as misogynistic.
“The Weekly”: The latest episode of The Times’s TV show is about a woman in Nigeria who outsmarted Boko Haram. It premieres today on FX at 10 p.m. Eastern and will be on Hulu from Saturday.
Late-night comedy: After President Trump announced a travel ban from Europe and called the coronavirus “foreign,” Trevor Noah said, “We can blame Europe for many things — colonialism, skinny jeans, Piers Morgan — but this virus is worldwide, all right?”
Your briefing writer feels like the bearer of bad news this morning, but at the risk of piling on: Several late-night shows are suspending production because of virus concerns.
What we’re reading: This New Yorker essay by Colin Jost, a head writer for “Saturday Night Live,” about his taxing high school commute between Manhattan and Staten Island. Lara Takenaga, a staff editor, called it “an earnest look at how his teenage years helped shape his future career.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Huevos rotos is a one-pan meal “good with a cup of coffee or a beer,” and a great weekend breakfast.
Read: “Until the End of Time,” a collection of cosmological contemplations by the physicist Brian Greene, is among 11 books we recommend.
Listen: Our reporter spent three days with the musician Francis Farewell Starlite, a reclusive muse to Kanye West, Bon Iver and Drake.
Smarter Living: There’s far too much misinformation out there about boosting your immune system. Here’s what works, and what doesn’t.
And now for the Back Story on …
How did jurors decide on the conviction of Harvey Weinstein, who was sentenced on Wednesday to 23 years in prison? Emily Palmer, a regular Times contributor, explains how our reporters went about finding out.
In Mr. Weinstein’s case, few jurors initially spoke to reporters. Following the verdict, my role was to gather descriptions of the scene from the courthouse and contact and interview jurors at their homes.
For 12 hours, I knocked on the doors of three jurors, left notes with door attendants, ate at least one bag of salt and vinegar potato chips and waited in the lobby of another juror’s building — to no effect.
Another reporter, Nicole Hong, reached one juror by text. He wanted a few days to process the trial.
Laura Dimon spent five days trying to reach one juror. She went to three possible addresses for the person in Manhattan, left one handwritten message and sent three emails, among her attempts. Then, while walking her dog, she received a call from an unknown number. It was the juror, ready to talk.
Our reporters eventually reached three jurors who agreed to speak anonymously. Those interviews showed a jury that took its responsibility seriously.
“They largely had a civil discussion,” said Jan Ransom, who covered the trial daily. “They were able to put away what one called ‘the noise’ of the ‘movement’ outside the courtroom to focus on the evidence from each woman and what they believed really happened.”
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about life during a pandemic.
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