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Your Wednesday Briefing

2020-07-14 20:28:29
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Sanctions over Hong Kong and Xinjiang. A campaign against Huawei. Challenges to Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea.

Snapshot: Above, French Air Force jets fly over the Arc de Triomphe during a Bastille Day celebration in Paris on Tuesday. The traditional parade was canceled because of the pandemic, but public health workers were honored as heroes and will soon receive pay raises.

What we’re reading: This Interview magazine Q. and A. with the writer Jia Tolentino. “What really struck me about this interview is Jia’s ability to synthesize such broad, weighty topics and current events into crystal clear, thoughtful responses,” says Sanam Yar, from the team at The Morning briefing.

Cook: This eggplant and zucchini pasta with feta and dill is packed with vegetables for a simple yet hearty weeknight meal.

Listen: “Richard II,” a four-part audio play rises to the challenge of telling a story solely through speech and sound effects.

Read: In “Blue Ticket,” Sophie Mackintosh presents us with a dystopian tale of a woman desperate to have a child in a place that affords only certain women that privilege.

Staying safe at home is easier when you have plenty of things to read, cook, watch and do. At Home has our full collection of ideas.

Edgar Sandoval, a reporter on our Metro desk, wrote about the calamitous sweep of the coronavirus through New York City before volunteering to cover the outbreak in his hometown on the Texas-Mexico border. In that outbreak, it turns out, his family became part of the story. Here’s what he wrote.

The day before I boarded a plane from New York, my youngest sister sent me a text message that froze me in place. “Brother, it looks like all of the Sandovales have Covid,” it read in Spanish.

Five in my family, including my mother, Arcelia; my father, Filiberto; two sisters; and a nephew all had symptoms, she said. By the time my plane landed the next day, that number had doubled.

I did not worry much for myself — I had come down with the virus earlier in New York, and had antibodies that might fend it off.

On July 1, I hurried to my parents’ home and found my mother — I usually call her “Ama” — in the living room, gasping for air.

By the time my sister and I got her into the emergency room at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in McAllen, her blood oxygen level had reached a paltry 80 percent, and a nurse quickly connected her to an oxygen supply. X-ray images showed her lungs nearly covered in what resembled pale spider webs.

Less than an hour after a nurse administered a coronavirus test, he announced that she was positive. “No surprise there,” Ama said.

Two attendants arrived with a stretcher to transport her into a Covid wing at another location, where she would not be allowed to have visitors, I knew. My throat tightened.

I fought the urge to reach for her and say something profound. Should I say I love you? Was it time for a heartfelt farewell? What if this was the last time I would see her alive?

I decided that if I said something poignant, she might interpret it as a final goodbye and give up. Instead, I decided to act as casual as possible.

Nearly a week after I had dropped her at the emergency room, her mood and breathing had significantly improved. She was able to sit upright and hold a phone conversation for five minutes. We began talking about preparations for her eventual return home.

I wanted to say I loved her. But again I choked. Don’t make it sound like you’re saying goodbye, I told myself.

After we hung up, I sent her a GIF of a white bunny that shoots hearts every time it hugs.

“I love you,” the message flashed, over and over.


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

— Melina


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

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode includes an interview with a doctor in Italy who reflects on triaging care at the peak of the pandemic.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Cool and distant (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• “Father Soldier Son,” The Times’s first feature documentary on Netflix, debuted its trailer last week and will premiere this Friday, July 17. It follows a single father injured in combat and his sons as they try to heal.

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