Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

As many as 240,000 Americans could die during the coronavirus pandemic, top health officials said on Tuesday, despite the measures that have closed schools, limited travel and forced people to stay home.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the White House’s response, encouraged people to adhere to distancing guidelines, noting that more than 2.2 million Americans could have died if nothing had been done.

As of this morning, there have been at least 3,900 virus-related deaths in the U.S. Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

We also have a daily tracker showing the virus’s trajectory by country and U.S. state as well as a look at where Americans have been urged to stay home.

In the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Americans are asking for help for the first time, applying for unemployment benefits, visiting food banks, and turning to GoFundMe and equally strapped colleagues.

The race to develop a coronavirus vaccine has created what researchers say is an unprecedented global scientific collaboration, as nearly all other research has ground to a halt.

Studies are posted online long before they would normally appear in academic journals, and researchers have identified and shared hundreds of viral genome sequences.

Quotable: “Of course there are people in competition. This is the human condition,” said a doctor in France. “What is important is to come up with a solution for everyone. The way to achieve that is to collaborate.”

“The Daily”: Today’s episode is about the race to create a vaccine.

Another angle: It’s the spiky blob seen around the world. We tell the back story of the C.D.C. illustration that has come to represent the coronavirus.

Our California restaurant critic, Tejal Rao, says the city is now what she imagined it would be before she moved there.

“I’d thought about what it would feel like to cruise at 80 miles per hour with the windows down, until I ran out of road and reached a canyon or the ocean,” she writes. “But I hadn’t imagined the harrowing reality that would make these clichés possible.”

F.B.I. wiretap review: The bureau has routinely botched work on surveillance applications for national security investigations, the Justice Department’s independent watchdog said. The findings grew out of a damning report last year about the effort to target a former Trump campaign adviser.

Big-cat mystery: The popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” is about a roadside zookeeper and his plot to kill an animal activist. The series has renewed interest in an older case involving the activist.

Snapshot: Above, zebras in Zambia. Travel restrictions are in place around the globe, so we’re starting a series: “The World Through a Lens.” This week, Marcus Westberg shares photographs from Zambia’s national parks.

Late-night comedy: The Empire State Building was illuminated by flashing red-and-white lights to honor medical workers. “At first, New Yorkers thought it meant Target finally got a shipment of toilet paper,” Jimmy Fallon said.

What we’re reading: This Vice interview with the writer Barbara Ehrenreich. “I can’t say it’s uplifting, but Ehrenreich is one of our best thinkers about exactly the issues we’re facing, like the economy, inequality and health,” says Dan Saltzstein, an editor.

Cook: Melissa Clark calls this sardine and celery salad from our pantry cooking series a “perfect pairing,” and suggests adding an egg.

Watch:Lady Bird,” always. Or if you fancy a TV drama, here are the 20 best since “The Sopranos.” (That could lead you to re-streaming “Friday Night Lights.”) Our short film of the day is “Born Again,” a tiny-tale horror comedy, chosen by Erik Piepenburg.

Do: The art critic Jerry Saltz has ideas for how to be creative. “Isolation favors art,” he adds.

As home cooking takes on new meaning, Margaux Laskey, an editor for NYT Cooking, talked to Times Insider about her go-to recipes, dealing with erratic grocery deliveries, and focusing on comfort foods. Here’s what she had to say:

What kind of recipes have you gravitated toward?

Using things that I have, and that’s a lot of frozen or pantry items. So, canned beans or dried beans. I always have an extra jar of Rao’s spaghetti sauce. I was just having a conversation with somebody about how this is the time to use up all of those weird half boxes of pasta. Basically, I’m just trying to use what I have and what’s in the freezer. And, if I have any leftovers, pulling those out.

What’s in your grocery cart?

I get fresh fruit and vegetables for sure, because we have to stay healthy. Also, I’m leaning toward comforting foods that I know my kids will eat, things that I know they like. This is not the time, for my family anyway, to try a crazy dish. There’s enough uncertainty and enough weirdness about all of this.

So I get my go-tos that I get every week, and then more rice and beans. And ice cream.

What’s been difficult about cooking lately?

Normally, I plan my menu on Friday for the next week, and I put my grocery order in — and maybe I won’t get one or two items, but I get nearly everything that I ordered. Now, first of all, you’re not even sure you’re going to get a slot. Then, you’re not even sure you’re going to get everything.

A correction: Tuesday’s briefing misstated the surname of a writer whose essay about adult friendship appeared in The Cut. She is Samantha Irby, not Kirby.

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 is about the race to create a coronavirus vaccine.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Cherry discard (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• For a limited time, our Games team has made Spelling Bee free and offered more daily free plays for Tiles.

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