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Coronavirus Clusters, Latin America, Sweden: Your Monday Briefing

2020-05-18 05:05:10
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Good morning.

We’re covering coronavirus problems in China and Brazil, easing restrictions in Italy and France, and the mysterious disappearance of a Norwegian mogul’s wife.

A new virus cluster in Jilin, the second largest city in Jilin Province, and another in Shulan prompted health officials to quarantine at least 8,000 people. Jilin’s residents are largely barred from leaving the city.

Some European leaders have warned it may not be practical, or even possible, to wait for a vaccine before lifting restrictions on society.

Italy will open up restaurants, bars and stores today, and allow Italians to legally visit friends again, but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said the country cannot afford to wait for a vaccine. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain has suggested a vaccine “might not come to fruition,” for some time.

Our investigative reporters reviewed thousands of pages of records and interviewed more than 50 people who knew about or made decisions on the policy, across two administrations, to sell U.S. weaponry to Saudi Arabia.

What we’re reading: This Vulture essay. “A seemingly anodyne explanation of why the author, an art critic, and his wife, an even more famous art critic, have been drinking bad deli coffee and eating nothing but chicken paillard during the pandemic goes into an autobiographical narrative so off the rails I have no words,” writes our reporter Jennifer Steinhauer. “Please read every word.”

Going into the hospitals for the first time was a mixed bag. The whole experience was traumatizing, and it was terrifying to see the sheer volume of patients suffering there. We saw a system that had been transformed, and we saw health care workers working tirelessly to treat all New Yorkers.

The immediate read was fear and trauma, but on the other side of the coin there was hope and calm because the doctors and nurses conveyed a capability, that in their hands we would be OK. It was a roller coaster of emotions.

We would be hit by the reality of what was happening, and then be in the presence of these doctors who were so focused and clear and unwavering, and it was beautiful.

Over the course of these shoots, I learned about the reality behind the numbers. It’s one thing to follow the news and the statistics, but it’s another to witness the underlying tragedy up close.

I really hope this work promotes empathy for fellow Americans. We all have a role to play in this, and I hope these pictures show that we are all trying our best. I also hope it serves as a record in our collective history.

How has it affected me? I’m not really sure. I’m still processing it. I have no idea because I’m still moving through it.


That’s it for this briefing. Learn more about Britain’s Captain Tom. See you next time.

— Isabella


Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at
[email protected].

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is an escape through three letters from three different worlds.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Late-night host O’Brien (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Tom Bodkin, the creative director and chief creative officer of The New York Times, explained to Fast Company how he designed striking front pages during the pandemic.

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