Today’s News: What You Need to Know

The details: We’ve compiled expert guidance on dozens of questions on subjects like health, money and travel.

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It all depends on data that we don’t yet have.

Interviews with more than a dozen economists reveal widespread agreement that the U.S. needs more testing to determine how fast the virus is spreading and when it might be safe to return to work. Policymakers also need better data about how strained health care systems are likely to be if the infection rate flares.

Once such levels of detection are established, it’s possible that some could begin returning to work. Betsey Stevenson, a University of Michigan economist, warned, “It’s also quite likely that we will need to figure out how to reopen the economy with the virus remaining a threat.”

“The Daily”: Today’s episode is about job losses in the U.S.

Related: Global markets rose today as investors looked to signs that the outbreak is peaking in some of the world’s worst-hit places. Here are the latest updates.

Closer look: Young adults are facing what is, for most, the first serious economic crisis of their lives. By many measures, they are woefully unprepared. Going into the financial crisis of 2008, Generation X was roughly the same age, but had on average twice the total assets that millennials have now, according to an economic analysis prepared for The Times.

Kate Bowler, above, a historian at Duke Divinity School, was 35 and a new mother when she was told in 2015 that she had incurable cancer. She has been offering daily reflections on social media during the pandemic.

She spoke to The Times about why forcing yourself to stay positive is not always best, about the human longing to love and be loved, and about the importance of having different routines for day and night.

New classification for far-right movement: The Trump administration is expected to announce today that it is designating an ultranationalist group based in Russia as a terrorist organization, officials said. It’s the first time the government will apply the label to a white supremacist group.

President’s post-impeachment purge: The firing of Michael Atkinson, the inspector general who forwarded a whistle-blower complaint to Congress, swept away one more official in the impeachment drama, our chief White House correspondent writes.

Video app’s debut: Quibi, a smartphone app featuring short videos, is set to arrive today. Led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, the start-up has attracted a host of Hollywood talent.

Snapshot: Above, Olivia and Raul De Freitas, who were stuck on an endless honeymoon in the Maldives during the coronavirus outbreak. Travelers around the world have been stranded by tightening restrictions and decreased flight schedules.

Metropolitan Diary: In this week’s column, a sidewalk twist in the Village, a helpful barber in the Bronx and more reader tales of New York City.

What we’re surfing: The Open Culture website. “I don’t have kids at home,” writes our national correspondent Mike Wines. “But if I did, and if they were on 24/7 lockdown with me for uncounted weeks, this is the website I would want.”

Cook: Citrus-scented and speckled with cornmeal, one-bowl poundcake is excellent toasted for breakfast.

Watch: In an uncertain time, these far-fetched and improbable horror movies can actually make you feel safe, Erik Piepenburg argues. Alternatively, there are new streaming offerings this month that aren’t scary.

Do: Our friends at T Magazine have a lot to say about how to take care of your hair at home. And for children, a new game involves spotting teddy bears during walks.

We have ideas about what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

Economists are increasingly worried about the length and severity of a global recession resulting from the coronavirus outbreak. Some 6.6 million people in the U.S. filed new unemployment insurance claims in the latest numbers — nearly 20 times that of a typical week. Melina Delkic of the Briefings team spoke with Ron Lieber, The Times’s Your Money columnist.

What’s the first thing someone who is laid off should do?

Apply for unemployment — and keep trying. The new legislation allows for an extra $600 per week of assistance, and that can be enough to make a difference between financial disaster and near financial calamity. That’s why Congress offered it.

What do you tell people who are struggling to process all this?

It doesn’t look quite like anything we’ve seen in our lifetime. Trying to plan or make predictions is really hard — and to tell people to embrace that uncertainty is not really helpful. I think the best thing is to talk to as many people as possible who have the same uncertainty that you do.

Will the U.S. economy bounce back to where it was before, or do you expect lasting changes?

If we continue to believe that capitalism and market economics are the right way to structure our country, then there probably ought to be at least some way our economic activity will revert to some level of normalcy. I would not believe anybody who is trying to predict when that will be.

You’ve written in the past couple of months that despite the tumult in the stock market, most people should pretty much sit still. Is that still the case?

All the best economic science tells us that if — and it’s a big “if” — you’re willing to stay invested in stock for decades and decades, if you just sit still more or less, keep putting money in at regular intervals, and sell some stock when stock prices get too high and buy some stock when the prices fall, you will do better and earn more than most professional brokers.

Now, that’s a science-based answer — it’s not quite a behavioral-science-based answer. I recognize that there are people who have never been psychologically tested in this way.

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

— Chris

Thank you
Melissa Clark provided the recipe, and Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at

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