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U.S. Outbreak, China-U.S. Feud, Climate Migration: Your Friday Briefing

TK TK. Ignore this if there is no breaking news. If there is a breaking item, unstash this and the rule before.


The U.S. coronavirus caseload, the world’s biggest, passed four million on Thursday. The numbers of daily hospitalizations and deaths were also on the rise.

Public health experts have warned that the actual number of people infected is far higher than the number of reported cases, and could be up to 13 times as high in some regions.

California and Texas are among the states setting daily records for new infections. More than 143,000 people have died in the U.S., according to a Times database.

Here are the latest updates and maps tracking the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • Romania reimposed restrictions after daily new infections more than tripled during the past month to over 1,000.

  • Belgium’s prime minister issued broad mask-wearing requirements, including for pedestrians outdoors, and warned of even stricter measures if infections continued to rise.

  • China’s National Health Commission announced new safety guidelines for the country’s meat processors, citing outbreaks at plants in the U.S., Germany and Britain, and the high risks of transmission in crowded processing plants.

  • Case surges could be slowed if the world’s poorest people received a temporary basic income, enabling them to stay at home, according to a United Nations report.


Behind the scenes, Chinese leaders seem to have little desire to further escalate the tensions, concerned that any strong moves could play into President Trump’s hands as he mounts his re-election campaign.

But the furor is also inflaming anti-American sentiment in China and emboldening more hawkish voices. Nationalists are calling for China to go further than a measured tit-for-tat response and even consider shutting down the American Consulate in Hong Kong.

Related: Cybersecurity researchers have found a vulnerability in an app that helps power popular Chinese-made consumer drones, highlighting U.S. officials’ concerns that Beijing could get access to information about Americans.


The B.J.P. has seized on the turmoil, steadily undermining Congress in the few states that it still controls. And Mr. Modi constantly accuses Congress of being a family dynasty.

Response: Mr. Pilot has denied the allegations, but Rajasthan’s Legislature could still remove him and other rebel officials.

As their land fails them, hundreds of millions of people will be forced to choose between flight or death. The result will almost certainly be the greatest wave of global migration the world has seen.

The Times Magazine and ProPublica joined with the Pulitzer Center to model, for the first time, how people will move across borders. With every degree of temperature increase, roughly a billion people may be pushed outside the zone in which humans have lived for thousands of years.

Nazi conviction: A juvenile court in Germany convicted a 93-year-old man for helping the Nazis murder thousands of people when he was a 17-year-old concentration camp guard, possibly one of the last verdicts to be handed down to a living Holocaust participant.

South Korea’s most wanted man: Yoo Hyuk-kee, 48, was arrested in the U.S. this week on extradition request. South Korean prosecutors accuse him of embezzlement that helped create unsafe conditions on the Sewol ferry, which sank in 2014, killing more than 300 people, many of them high school students.

What we’re reading: BuzzFeed News’s Q. and A. with coronavirus experts on whether they’re taking vacations, and if so, how. “A lot of them are too busy to take off, which many of us in news can relate to,” says the Briefings editor, Andrea Kannapell. “But some of them are, and I plan to follow their advice.”

Cook: This chicken and celery salad with wasabi-tahini dressing is equally delicious cold or at room temperature and can be tucked into soft potato rolls for sandwiches.

Listen: Among female-led New Wave bands, the Cosmopolitans and the Spiders are less known than Kate Bush or Blondie, but equally worth a listen.

Do: Changing the way we breathe can influence weight, athletic performance, allergies, asthma, snoring, mood, stress, focus and so much more. You can learn to breathe better with these exercises.

At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.

With more than 70,000 infections and 1,800 deaths, the Philippines has been hit hard by the coronavirus. President Rodrigo Duterte has empowered the police to go home to home searching for the sick, and warned that anyone not wearing a mask will be arrested.

Jason Gutierrez, who is based in Manila, spoke to our colleagues from the Coronavirus Briefing about the government’s heavy-handed approach.

What is the status of the virus in the Philippines?

The government hasn’t really been upfront about what’s happening. President Duterte just said that all we can do is wait for the experts in the United States or China to develop a vaccine and basically advised the public to follow the rules or risk arrest.

Our Health Ministry is seen by many as really inefficient. It lets Mr. Duterte say what he wants to say and does not clarify it in public.

What is the situation in Manila?

People in the city have to go through checkpoints, and cops go around some areas in fatigues, like they’re going into battle. Some carry large firearms. It’s worrying because it’s militarizing the response.

In some areas, especially the impoverished parts, people are really afraid to leave their homes and are basically told to just wait it out for food and medical advice or risk being arrested.

What has the response been to President Duterte saying the police would arrest people who didn’t wear masks?

In a lot of places, you see people in public always wearing medical masks. Ironically, he does not wear a mask whenever he meets his officials, and he only wore a mask when he made that threat.

Militarizing the response is probably his way of telling the public that he, as a strongman president, is doing something.


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

— Carole


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

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the deployment of federal forces to U.S. cities.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Health official throwing out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ opening day (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times is acquiring Serial Productions, a group of longform audio journalists, and has formed a creative and strategic alliance with “This American Life,” a show that transformed audio journalism.

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