Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

Six new cases in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic began prompted officials there to order measures to avoid another deadly wave of infections.

Wuhan is not the only place in China seeing new cases: The northern city of Shulan, near the Russian border, was declared “high-risk” on Sunday after 15 people were infected.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates, and maps of where the virus has spread.

In other developments:

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For the first time in four decades, carbon dioxide emissions fell in the country. This reflects the economic slowdown from the lockdown restrictions imposed during the coronavirus outbreak and also a broader weakening of demand for fossil fuels.

Emissions fell around 15 percent in March and probably dropped another 30 percent in April, according to researchers at Carbon Brief, an environmental website that tracks climate and energy policy.

Coal-fired power generation, which is linked with higher air pollution, fell 31 percent in the first three weeks of April.

Context: India is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the U.S. Just five years ago, the country built a series of coal-fired power plants, more than doubling its capacity.

Three months after the authorities shut down the country to stop the spread of the outbreak, workers have returned to their jobs. China is the first laboratory of the post-coronavirus workplace.

Some of the rules are obvious — wear masks, use disinfectant, keep a reasonable distance from others. But some are far-reaching and require employees to significantly change their daily routines, commutes and work schedules. Some of the stricter rules might not be tolerated by workers in other countries.

Everyone agrees on one thing: There is no going back to life before the pandemic.

Details: Tracking apps are becoming widespread. Some companies, like the electronics giant Foxconn, advised their employees to trade commutes on public transit for walking, biking or driving. Lunches are lonelier, with companies like the chemical giant BASF allowing one person per table in their canteen.

When the comedian Ramy Youssef was growing up in New Jersey, he and his Egyptian Muslim family didn’t see anyone on TV that looked like them. “We’d watch something,” Youssef recalled in an interview with The Times, “and emotionally connect to characters, but it still wasn’t us, you know? It was them.”

But with “Ramy,” the whimsically subversive hit Hulu show he helped create and stars in, he made the show he didn’t get to see back then. Before it comes back for a second season at the end of the month, our Talk columnist spoke with Mr. Youssef about his upbringing, expectations of comedians and how he “came out” to his family about going to therapy.

Afghanistan: Gunmen stormed a maternity clinic in Kabul, and a suicide bomber attacked a funeral in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The two attacks on Tuesday left 40 people dead and more than 80 wounded. Violence has intensified across Afghanistan, despite a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban.

West Bank: An Israeli soldier was killed Tuesday when he was struck in the head by a heavy rock as his unit was completing a nighttime arrest in a Palestinian village in the West Bank. The region is bracing for a possible increase in violence in response to an Israeli push to annex land in the occupied West Bank.

Snapshot: Above, the Slutsk vs. Slavia-Mozyr soccer game in Belarus, which was closely followed around the world after a group of Australian soccer fans gave Belarusian soccer a worldwide fan base. They started a Facebook group for fans looking for sports to watch while the world was on hold. Shortly after, thousands worldwide were rooting for S.F.C. Slutsk.

What we’re listening to: This episode of the “On Being” podcast with the writer Ocean Vuong. “Ocean is a beautiful thinker, and this stunning meditation on the limitless opportunities to (re)build our world is a beacon of light for anyone who needs it right now,” says Jenna Wortham, a staff writer for The Times Magazine.

This week, Donald G. McNeil Jr., our infectious disease correspondent, wrote about a possible second wave in the coronavirus pandemic. He focused on the impact of reopenings across the U.S. as other countries around the world face flare-ups after relaxing restrictions.

When cities and areas reopen before they have met experts’ recommendations, as you wrote, they increase the likelihood that they will see a devastating second wave. Does this extend the timeline for which we have to deal with the virus?

People need to stop thinking of it as a national wave. We had the first wave here in New York — and in Detroit and in New Orleans and in Chicago. They largely dodged the first wave in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose.

The wave is still traveling. If you come out of lockdown, that wave is finally going to hit a lot of new cities. But first it’s going to be quiet for at least two weeks. If you or I got the disease tomorrow, we wouldn’t begin to feel symptoms for five to seven days, and we wouldn’t begin to develop pneumonia for at least 14 days.

You’ve got to have a lot of testing even in a small town to notice an outbreak forming. Otherwise, your first hint is that people show up in larger numbers in your emergency rooms with pneumonia. That’s a very strong signal, but it’s a signal that may be seen too late to stop a flood of cases following the first one — and small rural hospitals run out of ventilators and ambulances very fast.

What have you learned about U.S. states that haven’t gotten their outbreaks under control but are reopening barbershops, restaurants and shops?

They’re living in a dream world. They’re desperate to reopen — and they’re right to feel that. But they have convinced themselves that it’s safe to reopen, and it’s not. If you’re an expert who looks at epidemics, you know it’s not safe.

What explains this risk-taking mentality in people right now?

Too many people have not seen the disease hurt somebody they know, so they don’t quite believe it — they’re not absorbing the grim truth.

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

— Melina and Carole

Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the British prime minister Boris Johnson and his change of heart on the coronavirus.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Skin care brand whose name sounds like an exclamation (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Lauretta Charlton, who joined our National desk in 2018 as the editor of Race/Related, will head to Hong Kong to be an editor there.

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