Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

Six new cases in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began, have prompted officials to say it will test all 11 million of its residents. And the northern city of Shulan, near the Russian border, was declared “high risk” on Sunday after 15 people were found to be infected.

In Singapore, praised for its early containment efforts, cases have ballooned to more than 23,000 after the virus spread in dormitories for foreign workers. And more than 100 new cases have emerged in South Korea after an infected man visited bars and clubs in Seoul — prompting the city’s mayor to close nightspots indefinitely.

It raises the possibility that the same might happen in some European countries as they reopened stores, hairdressers and even museums this month.

In other developments:

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After years of struggling with austerity, Britain’s National Health Service has become a rallying point for the nation. The system, which offers free health care to all, based on need, is considered a national treasure even as skeptics pointed to dilapidated hospitals and overworked doctors.

Now, with health workers risking their lives in the pandemic as the government is accused of mishandling the crisis, the N.H.S. has restored its mythic status.

Examples: The street artist Banksy hung artwork at a hospital in Southampton, and a 100-year-old World War II veteran, Capt. Tom Moore, raised more than 30 million pounds (about $37 million) with a charity walk.

Related: Britain will extend until October a program ensuring that private-sector workers are paid if they cannot work — an indication that it expects months before the economy will fully reopen.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic’s spread.

Above, saffron harvested from the Navelli region in Abruzzo, Italy. The lucrative spice, derived from the stigmas of the saffron crocus flower, is usually handpicked before sunrise in autumn. The photographer Susan Wright captured one family’s harvest in happier times — now part of our new Travel series virtually transporting you to beautiful places.

Afghanistan: Gunmen stormed a maternity clinic in Kabul, and a suicide bomber attacked a funeral in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Tuesday — leaving 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 on Tuesday when he was struck on 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 versus Slavia-Mozyr soccer game in Belarus, which was closely followed by a passionate worldwide fan base. The global followers developed because a crew of Australian soccer fans, looking for the few games to watch online, built a social media community for the S.F.C. Slutsk team.

Cannes: With no Riviera red carpets to trip over, our film writers discuss what the festival means to movies, moviegoers and especially Hollywood at this pivotal moment.

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 barber shops, 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.


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