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U.S. Visas, China’s Economy, Street Musicians: Your Friday Briefing

2020-07-16 23:53:39
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Good morning.

We’re covering a sweeping U.S. visa ban proposal that could affect millions of Chinese people, the business of fake virus certificates in Bangladesh and what it’s like to be a street musician right now.

The proposed executive order, if signed by President Trump, could also allow for the U.S. government to strip visas from any party members and their family members already in the U.S., forcing their departures.

The idea comes as relations between the two countries are at a low point, and China would most likely retaliate against Americans living in or trying to visit China.

Prospects: Details of the plan have not been finalized, and Mr. Trump could ultimately reject it. Its legal justification would reside in the same statute of immigration law used in the administration’s barring of arrivals from a number of predominantly Muslim countries.

Who is affected? Many party members are not aligned with official ideology. There are academics, scientists and business leaders whose careers benefit from its network. Even some dissidents are members. Dr. Li Wenliang, who sounded the alarm in the early days of the pandemic in Wuhan before dying of Covid-19, was a party member.

Listen: We collected 15 songs you might not know by name, but whose sounds and samples were the building blocks for pop, dance music and hip-hop hits.

Looking for more ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home? Look to our At Home collection.

We’ve recently come across a few stories about doctors who’ve said their patients were reinfected with coronavirus after testing negative — a worrying prospect that could impact the effectiveness of vaccines and our ability to reach herd immunity.

To understand more about the possibility, we turned to Apoorva Mandavilli, a science reporter for The Times.

How long does immunity last?

We don’t know. One of my sources put it to me this way yesterday: The only way to know how long immunity lasts is to wait that amount of time. And we’re not there yet.

Is reinfection real?

It’s possible to get Covid twice, but that’s possible for any virus, ever. Some people will not, just as a matter of statistics, make strong immune responses to a virus, so they remain vulnerable. And that may also be true for coronavirus.

Still, the virus began circulating in China almost eight months ago now, and in New York not long after that. So if reinfection were possible this early on, and in a lot of people, we would have seen it already. We’re going to hear more about possible reinfections because it’s affecting so many people and we are looking at it so closely.

What’s going on with the reported cases of reinfection?

We don’t know for sure. They may be these rare cases. Or somebody who thought they had recovered may not have fully recovered. It may be that the tests were faulty and gave a false negative. It may be that their immune system was keeping the virus down to levels at which the test wasn’t picking it up for a while. It may be that there wasn’t a lot of virus in their nose, or wherever they put in the swab. There are a lot of possible explanations.


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

— Melina


Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news, and to Jonathan Wolfe, on the Briefings team, for the Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected].

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode revisits a restaurant owner in Baton Rouge, La., who grappled with whether to reopen.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Comedian’s forte (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• On our Visual Investigations team, David Botti, a former Marine who covered the Arab Spring as a freelancer for The Times in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, is being promoted to a senior producer. And Dmitriy Khavin, a native Russian speaker who edited our visual investigation into Russia’s bombing of Syrian hospitals, is joining the team full time.

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