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Virus Laggards

2020-08-25 10:30:04

As I’ve written before, there is a set of consistent lessons from around the world about how to beat back the virus: Mass testing. Rapid quarantines, contact tracing and, when necessary, lockdowns. Limited social gatherings, especially indoors. Widespread mask wearing.

After taking these steps, many countries, including Canada, Australia and much of Europe and Asia, have the virus under control. Spain itself followed this strategy in the spring and also sharply reduced new cases (as you can see in the chart above) — before lifting its state of emergency on June 21 and reopening less carefully than its neighbors.

Since then, it has joined the U.S. as a classic exception that proves the rule.

In other virus developments:

  • Scientists have confirmed the first known case of reinfection in a person who had recovered. But the patient experienced no symptoms from his second infection, indicating his immune system may have learned how to respond.

  • A judge in Florida struck down the state’s requirement that public schools open their classrooms for in-person instruction.

  • The University of Alabama said that 531 cases had been identified among students, faculty and staff since classes resumed at its Tuscaloosa campus last week.

  • Outside scientists believe Trump administration officials have misrepresented the effectiveness of blood plasma treatment.

  • On today’s episode of “The Daily” The Times’s infectious disease reporter, Donald McNeil, talks about the state of the pandemic.

On the first night of the Republican National Convention, President Trump and his allies presented a bleak vision of the country’s future under a Biden administration. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, framed the election as a choice between “church, work and school” and “rioting, looting and vandalism.” Here’s a four-minute video recap of the night.

Republicans also mounted what Times reporters called “a fierce and misleading defense” of Trump’s record on race relations and the coronavirus. Here’s a fact-check.

Can it work? Political analysts aren’t sure.

“So far, the RNC seems to be mostly providing content designed to thrill MAGA devotees who already love Trump,” Robby Soave wrote for the conservative publication Reason. “I’d think that’s a questionable strategy.” And David Brooks of The Times wrote: “This convention is targeted to one voter: Donald Trump. The whole convention is to make his lonely soul feel affirmed.”

Jim Geraghty of National Review countered: “Democrats should feel a little less confident about November right about now. Given the raw material of short snippets of speech, rally video footage, flyovers, ceremonies, the president hugging the disabled, etc., talented editors can make Trump appear Reaganesque.”


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