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Aleksei Navalny, Kenosha, France Economy: Your Friday Briefing

2020-09-04 05:12:54
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Good morning.

We’re covering Joe Biden’s visit to Kenosha, Wis., Russia’s alternative scenarios in Aleksei Navalny’s poisoning and France’s plan to resurrect its economy.

Facing its worst recession in decades, France announced a 100 billion-euro ($118 billion) stimulus plan on Thursday aimed at returning its battered economy to pre-crisis levels by 2022. The plan would hand large tax cuts and hiring subsidies to companies in hopes of stimulating investment and creating jobs.

It follows the €400 billion made available by the government to keep thousands of businesses out of bankruptcy and millions of people employed. Around a third of the new funding is intended to help the country transition to so-called green technology, supporting development and job creation, particularly in hard-hit regions.

But a new wave of coronavirus infections is rolling across France, and with it the prospect of a protracted downturn. The country reported more than 7,000 new cases on Wednesday. More than 30,000 people have died.

Dire warnings: Spain’s capital is once again at the epicenter of its virus epidemic, accounting for almost one-quarter of the 1,830 patients hospitalized in the country this past week. Isabel Díaz Ayuso, a politician who leads the Madrid region’s government, issued an alarming prediction. It is probable, she said, “that all children would get infected, one way or another.”

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other coronavirus developments:

Cook: Creamy pasta without any of the cream. The secret? Puréed corn and sautéed scallions mixed with a lot of Parmesan and red chile flakes. Lemon juice adds brightness to the summery dish.

And soon, chilly weather will drive people indoors, where studies suggest you are 20 times more likely to get infected. By midwinter, if we aren’t careful, the death toll could head back up toward its April apex.

How will celebrating the holidays be different this year?

No American wants to hear this, but experts say it probably won’t be prudent to have big indoor family gatherings for Rosh Hashana, Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s sad, but I don’t see a safe option — especially for families with a child away at school. When college towns become epicenters, you really don’t want students to come home and unwittingly infect their families. And students need to consider this: Yes, it’s miserable to miss a family holiday — but could you forgive yourself if your grandmother died because of you?

What scientific developments are you following most closely?

Scientists I talk to are optimistic about monoclonal antibodies. One called them “convalescent plasma on steroids.” The best antibodies are cloned and grown in cell broths. Small doses might act like vaccines that protect for a few weeks. If they do, getting them to high-risk Americans — medical workers, nursing home patients and the families of the infected — could blunt the epidemic. But they can’t be grown in bulk quickly or cheaply, and F.D.A. approval for prophylactic use is uncertain.


That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next week.

— Natasha


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 [email protected].

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