Coronavirus, U.S. House, Stock Market: Your Friday Briefing
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We’re looking ahead to today’s planned vote in the House on the coronavirus relief package. We’re also covering the U.S.’s status as the new world leader in infections, and the virus’s devastating toll in Italy.
Courage at a Brooklyn hospital
Test kits and protective gear have been in short supply at Brooklyn Hospital Center, doctors are falling sick, and every day gets more difficult.
But the staff keeps showing up.
“Of course they have anxiety, of course they have fear, they’re human,” said Dr. Sylvie de Souza. “None of us knows where this is taking us. We don’t even know if we might get sick. But none of them so far has defaulted on their duty, their calling.”
Related: New York City now has more than 23,000 confirmed infections, with a death toll of 365. A Navy hospital ship is expected to arrive in Manhattan on Monday, three weeks earlier than previously thought.
If you have 10 minutes, this is worth it
In the heart of Italy’s outbreak
No country has been hit harder by the coronavirus than Italy, and no province has suffered as many losses as Bergamo. Officially, more than 1,300 people have died there, but the toll may be four times higher.
“At this point, all you hear in Bergamo is sirens,” said Michela Travelli. Above, her father, Claudio Travelli, tested positive for the virus. He is still alive.
Here’s what else is happening
Netanyahu’s rival relents: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was set to hold onto power after his chief rival, Benny Gantz, signaled that he would be open to serving in a Netanyahu-led government. Citing the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Gantz said, “These are unusual times, and they call for unusual decisions.”
U.S. charges Venezuelan leader: President Nicolás Maduro was indicted in a drug trafficking conspiracy, a major escalation of the Trump administration’s campaign to pressure Mr. Maduro to leave office.
Environmental opposition: Federal scientists and lawyers, told by the Trump administration to undo regulations, have embedded data into technical documents that environmental lawyers are using to challenge the rollbacks.
Snapshot: Above, a coral colony in the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland, Australia. Abnormally warm waters have bleached the reef for the third time in five years, threatening one of the world’s most important marine ecosystems.
In memoriam: Fred “Curly” Neal, whose dribbling wizardry made him one of the most well-known members of the Harlem Globetrotters, died on Thursday at 77.
News quiz: Did you follow the headlines this week? Test yourself.
Modern Love: In this week’s column, an internist at the hospital where the coronavirus outbreak began in the U.S. counts his losses and blessings.
What we’re reading: This Jezebel essay from a writer grappling with a sudden love for Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York. Sarah Lyall, a writer at large for The Times, calls it “funny and true.” She adds: “And please stay for the clip of the two Cuomo brothers squabbling with each other about which one their mother loves more.”
Now, a break from the news
Most probably you’re in the same position so many of us are in right now: hunkered down, trying to get a handle on our new reality. We’re here with news that is good, with stories of beauty and art and style, with pleasant distractions and arguments in favor of a cultured life in a time that is grim. — Sam Sifton, who oversees The Times’s cultural and lifestyles coverage.
Cook: Cheese is the classic filling for a French omelet, but Melissa Clark suggests garlicky tahini.
“Go”: Our critic took a virtual trip to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to see Anthony van Dyck’s painting of St. Rosalia, who was credited with saving the Italian city of Palermo from an epidemic.
Read: An argument against the Electoral College is among 11 books we recommend.
Listen: Here’s a list of podcasts for children, and musical theater, dance and classical music to stream.
And now for the Back Story on …
The planet’s biggest lockdown
Jeffrey Gettleman, our New Delhi bureau chief, has been covering the lockdown of India’s 1.3 billion people. Melina Delkic of the Briefings team spoke with him about the government’s sweeping guidelines and what we can expect.
Walk us through the lead-up to the lockdown. Were you surprised that people seemed to immediately follow the rules?
There had been a steady ratcheting up of restrictions around India. So, the lockdown that Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced was pretty consistent with what was already happening in some places, including New Delhi.
India has strong internal control by its security forces. The police are employed to control the population. People tend to be scared of police officers on the street, and they want to get out of their way. They treat citizens pretty harshly.
The government here is trying to learn from the mistakes or the slowness of what happened in other countries. Indian officials saw what happened in China and how effective lockdowns were once they were put in place — that’s more their model than anything else.
India’s caseload is still relatively low — about 600 confirmed infections. What’s the big worry when the number grows?
The country spends very little on health care per capita. So the health care system here is underfunded, and it’s an enormous population. Public hospitals, the number of doctors, the number of beds, equipment they use, it’s all below the standards of most other parts of the world.
Some of the best hospitals in the world are really struggling. So just imagine how a hospital that has much fewer resources would respond.
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 email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is a children’s guide to the coronavirus pandemic.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Honoree on the second Sunday in May (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• “Still Processing” is back. This week on the podcast, the hosts, Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, talk about routines, dreams and what’s on our screens.