Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Instances
Italy lockdowns more regions as hospitals struggle
As a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic weighs on the Italian health system, the government is today set to seal and lock down hard-hit parts of the country, restricting movement in and between areas in at least five regions.
According to a New York Times database, the average number of new cases per day for seven days on Monday was 32,684, a 92 percent increase from 14 days earlier. Hospitals have had to make room for beds in chapels and conference rooms as coronavirus patients overwhelm the wards.
“Almost all Italian regions are badly affected,” said Giovanni Rezza, director of the Department of Prevention at the Ministry of Health, adding that new restrictions are needed in a situation that is “getting worse”.
Restlessness: Protests by regional presidents in the cordoned off areas have unsettled the government. “Do we understand or not that we are at war?” said Pierpaolo Sileri, Italy’s deputy health minister. “We are fighting to save Italy.”
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian negotiator passionate about building an independent Palestinian state, has died after the treaty with Covid-19. He was 65 years old.
U.S. federal health officials made predictions about when and how Americans might be able to get a Covid-19 vaccine once one is approved.
Lockdown – something that will be experienced, feared and needed by much of the world for at least much of 2020 – is the word of the year in the Collins English Dictionary.
A couple run the European biotech start-up and work with Pfizer on its leading vaccine. (On their wedding day, they returned to the lab after the ceremony.)
What Trump’s defeat means for populism
President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in last week’s US presidential election is a heavy blow to right-wing populists, from Britain and Brazil to Poland and Hungary. However, the consequences for populism as a global political movement are ambiguous.
Whether the fate of comparable politicians in Europe will be linked to that of President Trump remains to be seen, say analysts. The economic, social, and political ills behind such movements are still alive and well, and may indeed be compounded by the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, while social media continues to spread populist ideas, often shrouded in conspiracy theories.
As a sign of a broader return to normalcy in international relations, Mr Biden received congratulations on Tuesday from European heads of state and government such as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Chinese President Xi Jinping, are one of the few authoritarian allies of Trump who are silent about the elections.
Five important takeaways: Who knew what, who is (maybe) to blame, what you need to know.
If you have 5 minutes, it’s worth it
Check out your privilege, buddy
The Netflix hit “The Queen’s Gambit” sparked a new debate about inequality and sexism in chess and what, if anything, can be done about it. Only 37 of the more than 1,700 grandmasters worldwide are women. Currently, only one woman, Hou Yifan from China, is in the top 100.
The reality, say top players and teachers, is even worse. “There were opponents who refused to shake hands,” said Judit Polgar, the only woman to ever make the game’s top 10.
The following also happens
Nagorno-Karabakh: Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the ethnic Armenian enclave on Tuesday after Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a Russian-brokered treaty to end a six-week war in which thousands had been killed.
Amazon: European Union regulators accused the tech giant of antitrust violations and said it improperly used data to foreclose smaller competitors.
Soccer: English Football Association chair Greg Clarke has resigned after a disastrous testimony before a parliamentary committee in which he spoke in offensive stereotypes about blacks and Asians, girls and others.
Affordable Care Act: At a hearing in the Supreme Court, at least five judges signaled their support for the Health Act and suggested that the abolition of the so-called individual mandate, the obligation to take out insurance, would not upset the balance of the law.
Snapshot: Emily Harrington (above) is the first woman to freely climb the Golden Gate route on El Capitan, a 3,000-foot monolith in Yosemite National Park, in less than 24 hours. Her mantra: “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”
Lazy game: A hacker put more than 1,500 false votes in the New Zealand “Bird of the Year 2020” competition for the benefit of the kiwi Pukupuku and thus disheveled the country’s online community.
Lived life: Marty, “the tallest cat in New England,” was the green-eyed, feather-tailed, popular mascot of the Mount Washington Observatory, about 6,288 feet above sea level in North Conway, NH. He died when he was 14 or possibly 15. last week.
What we read: This Caity Weaver homage to her home state. Our colleague Daniel Victor, a reporter in London, calls it “the Pennsylvania tribute Pennsylvania deserves”.
Now a break from the news
Do: Decades of movies, songs, and video games are becoming increasingly popular, as are old favorites like Spice Girls and Fleetwood Mac. Nostalgia can be a healthy coping mechanism during the pandemic.
Made plans for tonight? Check out our collection of ideas at home to help decide what to read, cook, see, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the background story about …
Denmark’s plan to kill 17 million minks
Denmark’s mink culling is suspended over an issue about the government’s legal authority to order it. But why did it even try that? James Gorman, a science writer at The Times, explains what you need to know here.
Can mink infect people with the coronavirus?
Yes. In Denmark, mink became infected with the virus and transmitted it to humans. The same thing happened in the Netherlands that year. You are the only known animal that does this.
Does the virus mutate in the mink?
Yes. In more than 200 people, the Danish authorities have documented several variants of the virus that contain mutations derived from mink. The virus also mutates in humans. However, there is no evidence that any of the mutations derived from mink makes the coronavirus more transmissible or sick in humans.
Why did Denmark decide to kill the entire mink?
Danish health authorities were concerned that a number of mutations could make a potential coronavirus vaccine less effective after the possibility was addressed in preliminary trials. The World Health Organization and independent experts said there was no evidence yet that this would diminish the value of the vaccines currently under development.
Has Denmark overreacted?
Scientists say there are reasons for Denmark to act beyond this mutant virus.
The overcrowded conditions in mink farms could put evolutionary pressures on the virus differently than in the human population. The virus could also jump from mink to other animals. These are all worrying possibilities, especially amid a resurgence of the virus in the human population.
Thank you for coming to me Until next time.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].
• We listen to “The Daily”. Our latest episode is about what went wrong in the presidential election.
• Here is our mini crossword puzzle and a clue: Sound of a baby bird (five letters). You can find all of our puzzles here.
• The word “Hyperpoop” first appeared in The Times on Tuesday, according to the Twitter account @NYT_first_said.
• Andrew Higgins, our head of the Moscow office, will move to Warsaw to run our Eastern European office. Anton Troianovski will be our next Moscow office manager.