Thursday, April 30, 2020

Your Friday Briefing

Friday, May 1, 2020 | View in browser
Good morning.
We’re covering the lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions in some states and a rare closing of New York’s subway, as well as looking ahead to a planned TV appearance by Joe Biden to discuss a sexual assault allegation.
Today’s briefing also represents a personal milestone, as it will be the last one I’m writing before moving on to a new assignment. Read more in the Back Story below.
By Chris Stanford
Huntington Beach, in Orange County, Calif., on Thursday. Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered the county's beaches closed.  Michael Heiman/Getty Images

As May begins, stay-at-home orders end

As of today, more than a dozen states will have started to loosen restrictions that they imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Public health experts worry that reopening too soon could lead to a spike in infections that wouldn’t be detected for weeks.
Governors of coastal states including California and Florida have faced particular pressure as they try to balance health concerns with growing demands for beach access as the weather heats up. Here’s a map of the varying restrictions across the U.S.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan reinstated a state of emergency on Thursday, even as protesters, some of them legally armed, gathered at the State Capitol.
Here are the latest updates from the U.S. and around the world, as well as maps of the pandemic.
For a detailed picture of the outbreak in the U.S., we’ve also compiled data from hundreds of metro areas.
In other developments:
■ More than 30 million people in the U.S. have filed for unemployment benefits in the past six weeks, a figure that might still undercount the number of job losses, economists say.
■ The Trump administration and major manufacturers have pressed Mexico to keep factories that supply the U.S. operating, even as workers fall ill.
■ New York City’s subway system — one of the few in the world that runs 24 hours a day — will shut overnight starting next week to provide more time for disinfection.
■ Today is Labor Day in many parts of the world, including China, where people who have spent months in lockdown rushed to book travel after Beijing said it would lift its quarantine requirements.
■ As Rome turned 2,773 last week, our bureau chief there reflected on the effects of the coronavirus, the latest chapter in the city’s turbulent history.
■ High school seniors are mourning the loss of year-end rituals, but at least one is alive and well: yearbook signing, though not with a pen.
The details: We’ve compiled expert guidance on several subjects, including health, money and travel.
“The Daily”: Today’s episode includes an interview with a woman who remembers her grandfather, one of the tens of thousands of Americans who have died from the virus.

A looming vaccine challenge

Ramping up production of syringes and other medical products to deliver a coronavirus vaccine will be as important — and perhaps as difficult — as developing the vaccine itself.
In the U.S., more than 300 million people may need to be inoculated, and products that doctors now give little thought to could easily become obstacles in the future.
“We’re thinking about the vaccine, but what if the vials it is stored in, or rubber stoppers in the vial or the plungers in the syringes become the constraint?” said Prashant Yadav, who studies health care supply chains.
Related: Research teams have been screening thousands of older drugs to see if they have potential to fight the coronavirus.
Yesterday: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a national initiative to speed research that will help trace patterns of transmission, investigate outbreaks and map how the virus is evolving.
Perspective: Our Opinion section asked vaccine experts how to squeeze the timeline for a vaccine to months from years. They said it would require cutting some red tape, cutting some corners and catching some breaks.
Workers at an oil rig in Texas last week.  Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

The collapse of oil

For more than a decade, the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico has been the center of the oil boom in the U.S., producing one of every three barrels in the country.
But as the pandemic has drastically reduced the demand for oil, the region has become the center of the industry’s demise.
“We’ve had our ups and downs, even over the last 20 years, but this feels very different,” said Matthew Hale, the president of a pump truck and chemical services company. “We’re concerned about our industry, survival and what survival is going to look like.”
Another angle: A growing number of airlines will require passengers to wear a face covering in the coming weeks, along with flight attendants and some other workers.

If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it

An old-school hobby

Rhian Rees
After weeks at home, some people are cutting down on screen time and switching to Victorian-era crafts like flower pressing or drying, above, or natural dyeing of items like cloth napkins and doilies.
“The ability to generate activities by yourself for yourself, that is a real asset,” said Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University.
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Here’s what else is happening

Joe Biden to address accusations: The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is set to publicly discuss an allegation of sexual assault for the first time, in an appearance today on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. Mr. Biden’s accuser, Tara Reade, spoke to our media columnist, Ben Smith.
Support for Michael Flynn: President Trump renewed his attacks on the F.B.I. after lawyers for Mr. Flynn, the former national security adviser, cited newly unsealed documents as evidence of misconduct.
Snapshot: Above, new satellite data is providing the most precise picture yet of where Antarctica’s ice is accumulating and disappearing most quickly. The resolution is high enough to show rifts and other small features, scientists said.
News quiz: Did you follow the headlines this week? Test yourself.
Modern Love: This week’s column is about making space in a marriage, by way of the Burning Man festival.
Late-night comedy: After weeks of doing their shows from home, the hosts are starting to feel the strain. “No one wants eternal lockdown,” Seth Meyers said. “If I see another of my friends holding up a janky loaf of homemade bread on Instagram I’m going to run outside and lick a banister.”
What we’re listening to: Oh, Hello: the P’dcast,” in which two comedians portray older New Yorkers whose many peculiarities include their diction. “These podcasts are bringing a lot of joy into our household,” writes Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor. “So good. We are now mispronouncing so many words.”

Now, a break from the news

Aya Brackett for The New York Times
Cook: Samin Nosrat’s lasagna has delicate homemade pasta, rich béchamel and savory tomato sauce. If you’re out of mozzarella, Sam Sifton, our Food editor, has ideas about substitutions in his latest newsletter.
Watch: Our film critics A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis invite you to watch “Do the Right Thing” and share your thoughts at their viewing party. Ever wonder which books famous people have on their shelves? And see how professional dancers are challenging themselves on TikTok.
Listen: If you want some ambient background music this weekend, try these 15 essential Brian Eno tracks. For fans of jazz and avant-garde music, the annual Bang on a Can Marathon will be livestreamed.
We’ve started an email newsletter, At Home, with our recommendations for what to read, cook, watch and do while staying inside. Sign up here.

And now for the Back Story on …

A new chapter

I’ve written this briefing since March 2017, but I’m starting a new role with the Express desk, a group at The Times that covers breaking news and other stories, which has plans to expand to the newsroom here in London.
The Briefing itself is rebranding, and will have a new anchor, David Leonhardt. Read more about that here.
The past three years — particularly the last six weeks — have been an extraordinary time for news, and the Morning Briefing has been one of the most challenging and rewarding assignments I’ve had in a 25-year career in newspapers.
The challenge has come in condensing the incredible journalism that my colleagues around the world produce every day into a 1,400-word column. The briefing represents only an introduction to The Times, and one of my biggest regrets is leaving so much behind.
The reward has been serving as a guide to the news as the Morning Briefing has grown into one of the largest platforms at The Times. More than 17 million readers get this newsletter every day, and it’s a humbling responsibility that I’ve taken very seriously.
The briefing has long made a point of soliciting reader feedback, and it’s not an empty request: I read every email, and tried to respond to most. You have broadened my perspective and reminded me of a lesson I first learned in journalism school many years ago: Always keep an open mind.
Finally, everyone needs an editor. While you rarely see the names of my closest colleagues, they help make the briefing what it is, and you see their work — in words and in photos — every day: Anna Holland, Mark Walsh, Peter Robins, Tess Felder, Peter Sigal, Mona Boshnaq, Gaia Tripoli, Florian Choblet and Vivek Prakash. A special thanks, too, to my boss in New York, Andrea Kannapell.
Stay safe, stay strong, and thanks for reading The Times.
— Chris
Thursday’s briefing misattributed two distinctions to the painter Jordan Casteel. Amy Sherald painted the official portrait of Michelle Obama, not Ms. Casteel. And while Ms. Casteel’s current exhibition is her first solo museum show in New York, it is not her first over all.
Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and 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.” Today’s episode includes an interview with a woman who lost her grandfather to the coronavirus.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Game with nine rooms (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Adam Nossiter, our Paris bureau chief, is moving to Afghanistan to lead our reporting from Kabul. He will be joined by our correspondent Thomas Gibbons-Neff, who has been to Afghanistan repeatedly as a Times reporter and also served there as a Marine.
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