Coronavirus, Stock Markets, Democratic Debate: Your Monday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering the latest in the coronavirus pandemic, a potential pardon for the former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and a new labor deal in the N.F.L.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that no gatherings of 50 people or more be held in the U.S. for the next two months, one of the federal government’s most sweeping efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“For a while, life is not going to be the way it used to be in the United States,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday. “We have to just accept that if we want to do what’s best for the American public.”

Here are the latest updates on the outbreak and maps of where the virus has spread.

In other developments:

  • New York City’s public school system, the largest in the country, is closed starting today. The city has also ordered a shutdown of tens of thousands of bars and restaurants, except for delivery and pickup services. Here are the latest updates from New York.

  • To ease a bottleneck in coronavirus testing, federal officials are setting up more drive-through centers and increasing commercial laboratories’ ability to process multiple samples at once.

  • The Trump administration tried to persuade a German company that is developing a possible vaccine to move its work to the U.S., German officials said, raising fears in Berlin that any inoculation would be available first — and perhaps exclusively — in the U.S.

  • Italy, the hardest-hit country outside China, reported a death toll of 1,809, a 25 percent increase over the day before. In a communal effort to lift the mood, Italians stuck in their homes have been breaking out in song. “It’s not like we’re maestros,” a woman in Rome said, but “it’s a moment of joy in this moment of anxiety.”

  • A Tennessee man who became a subject of national scorn after stockpiling more than 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer donated the supplies. The state has begun a price-gouging investigation.

  • Movie theaters had their worst weekend in two decades. Domestic ticket sales totaled $55.3 million, a 44 percent drop from the previous weekend.

What to know: Here’s how to practice social distancing and clean your phone. The Times is providing free access to much of our coverage, and our Coronavirus Briefing newsletter, like all of our newsletters, is free.

Another angle: On a special episode of “The Daily,” a magazine writer for The Times reflects on interviewing Tom Hanks last fall — and on the generosity he showed her in a difficult personal moment. The story is a reminder that “contagion is real, but it doesn’t just work for viruses,” our writer said. “It works for kind words and generous thoughts, and acts of selflessness and honesty.” Listen here.


The Federal Reserve on Sunday cut its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage point and said it would inject hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, making an aggressive effort to address the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

The shadow of the pandemic loomed over the event, which was held without a live audience and with a six-foot distance between the candidates, following guidelines for social distancing.

Mr. Biden committed for the first time to selecting a female running mate, and Mr. Sanders said that “in all likelihood” he would do so as well. Here are six takeaways from the debate. We also fact-checked some of the candidates’ remarks.

Perspective: Writers from our Opinion section ranked the performances.

What’s next: Polls suggest that Mr. Biden is likely to win the four states with primaries on Tuesday: Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio. Georgia, which had been scheduled to vote March 24, postponed its primary for two months because of the coronavirus.

Go deeper: The Times Magazine looks at Mr. Sanders’s campaign. “Even as the two-man race has taken a more pugilistic turn while the economy reels and a pandemic sweeps the globe, Sanders has remained steadfast in his willingness to let the Democratic voters judge him by his democratic-socialist vision of what America should be. And so, it would seem, they have.”

Four years ago, President Vladimir Putin started a program to hand out land in Russia’s Far East in an effort to lure young, hardy settlers to the vast region.

The area has long been a magnet for dissenters and idealists, and the law has attracted some freethinking settlers, including Sergey Lunin and Aliona Dobrovolskaya, above. “This will be my own little country, and I will be its Putin,” Mr. Lunin told our reporter.

Snapshot: Above, Pastor Ben Williams leading a service via YouTube and Facebook Live at Christ United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Sunday. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted religious services around the world.

Metropolitan Diary: In this week’s column, a favorite dress, a Manhattan wedding and more reader tales of New York City.

What we’re reading: These musings on the North Pole, published in Scientific American’s opinion section. “It’s very soothing to read about a place where time doesn’t exist,” writes Millie Tran, our deputy off-platform editor.

Cook: Melissa Clark’s roasted chicken thighs with winter squash is “a dish you’ll make again and again, I bet,” says Sam Sifton, our Food editor.

Listen: Angélique Kidjo, one of Africa’s most respected vocalists, was born in 1960, the same year that her country, Benin, won its independence. She spoke to The Times about her musical and cultural upbringing.

Watch: “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” by the director Eliza Hittman, tells a seldom-told story about abortion. It’s a Critic’s Pick.

Smarter Living: If you want to procrastinate less, managing your emotions is often more important than managing your time. We have tips from two writers: Douglas Adams and Margaret Atwood.

Karen Weise, a Times technology reporter, chronicled a Seattle-area family who are adapting to online instruction while schools are closed. We talked to her about coping with disruptions.

How did the Peistrup family manage the first day of online school?

They were surprised it went pretty well. Erin Peistrup said she was fortunate because she is a stay-at-home mom. This was a hands-on experience. But the kids found their rhythm during the day. There was time for Erin to coordinate Little League and do other tasks. They also arranged for their children to play with neighbors during lunch and after classes.

How did the school district get ready for home instruction?

The prior week, they let students borrow laptops and internet hot spots, taught them how to set up passwords, and advised families to log in and make sure the passwords worked. They closed down for a day to make sure teachers could use the system, too.

What about families who can’t stay home?

Around the region, people are starting to build informal networks of adult supervision. For parents who can’t be home during the day, I’ve heard stories of people offering to have classmates come to their house for remote learning. And the state has been looking to provide child care for young kids who are truly in need.

How is your family coping with the coronavirus outbreak in the Seattle area?

Life has become much more circumscribed. People aren’t going out much. We are getting used to this being the new normal. I have a toddler, and even he picks up on bits of conversation. My family is talking about what happens if our day care closes. Probably some combination of help from neighbors and staggering work shifts. This is what’s potentially coming for people, businesses and schools elsewhere in the country.


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

— Chris


Thank you
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. Shira Ovide wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected].

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the economic threat of the coronavirus.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Initialism for a remote employee (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
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Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/briefing/coronavirus-markets-democratic-debate.html

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