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We’re covering an easing of lockdowns in Europe, anti-Muslim attacks in India and an Easter message of resilience from Pope Francis.
Some lockdowns cautiously ease with heated debate
This week, some European countries, including those hardest hit, will begin cautiously shifting restrictions. Spain, where the death rate is falling, will allow some nonessential employees to return to work today. Italy, which has the second highest death toll in the world, will let bookstores and children’s clothing shops reopen, and allow forestry-related work to resume.
Other countries like the Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark and Norway are also considering reopening smaller shops or even some schools.
But Britain, where the total number of reported coronavirus deaths surpassed 10,000 this weekend, faces weeks more of tight restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain was discharged from the hospital on Sunday after nearly a week of treatment, a relief for a nation whose political leadership has been especially hit by the contagion. He declared that the National Health Service had “saved my life, no question.”
Details: Global cases have surpassed 1.8 million, and more than 113,000 people have died. The single largest and most lethal outbreak is now in the U.S., with more than 550,000 cases and more than 22,000 deaths.
Go deeper: A Times investigation revealed that internal divisions and a lack of planning led to President Trump’s slow response to the pandemic.
In other developments:
Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil-producing nations agreed to slash oil production on Sunday, aiming to bolster prices that collapsed when global demand cratered amid the pandemic.
China’s health ministry on Sunday reported a jump in new coronavirus infections, most of them in people returning from other countries, amid rising xenophobia.
Russia reported its largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak: 2,186 new coronavirus cases, bringing its national tally of confirmed cases to 15,770. Moscow’s mayor admitted that the virus has taken hold in the city.
Ireland’s leader, Leo Varadkar, has rehabilitated his political image after re-registering as a medical practitioner to work on the front lines of the crisis.
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A socially distant Easter Sunday
Millions around the world tuned into online services on the holiest day of the Christian calender.
In Vatican City, Pope Francis celebrated Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday morning, empty of usual worshipers but live-streamed for a global audience. The pope delivered a message of resilience, speaking of “the contagion of hope.”
“This is not a time for indifference,” Francis said, “because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic.”
Along with the medical workers fighting the pandemic, more than 100 priests in Italy have died after contracting the virus as clergy and nuns have joined the battle.
In the United States, one church held a service at a drive-in movie theater so people could pray in their cars.
Quote of note: “We know that coronavirus will not overcome us,” Queen Elizabeth II said in an Easter message. “As dark as death can be, particularly for those suffering with grief, light and life are greater.”
Voices: Gianni Zampino was caring for his elderly father, Antonio, in Turin, Italy, when they both contracted the virus. Only Gianni survived.
Science: Why are some people more infectious than others? Understanding “superspreaders” could help control the pandemic.
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
A major port whose fate was to fade away
Snapshot: Above, a tulip field in Lisse, in the Netherlands. Growers have been forced to destroy hundreds of millions of flowers amid lockdowns, upending a beloved tulip season that pulls in 7 billion euros each season, bringing hordes of visitors to the Netherlands.
In memoriam: Jean-Laurent Cochet, the renowned acting teacher who taught a host of French stars including Gérard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert, died at 85 from coronavirus complications.
Sports: Our chief soccer correspondent picks six games that shaped the modern sport.
New York cheer: Each night at 7 p.m., the city’s residents give a standing ovation from their homes to the thousands of people saving lives and keeping the city running. This is what it sounds like.
What we’re reading: This Guernica magazine essay about a writer’s enduring love for Dolly Parton. “This gorgeous reflection on childhood, beauty and origin stories has me blasting my own Dolly Parton albums,” says Anna Holland, an editor in London.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Coconut macaroons, two easy ways. Like most coconut macaroon recipes, they might just be the easiest and most forgiving of any cookie.
Read: Our art critic Holland Cotter looks to Henry David Thoreau for some lessons on how to be constructive while alone. And the economist Joseph E. Stiglitz has an absolutely fascinating pile of books on his nightstand that may inspire you to dig into Dickens.
Our At Home collection has more ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
Who’s answering your coronavirus questions
During the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times has enhanced its offering of service journalism: answers to questions people are asking, and solutions to problems they’re experiencing.
Elisabeth Goodridge and Karen Barrow are two Times journalists now assigned to that coverage. Here’s a taste of their approach, edited from their discussion with Times Insider.
Where have you found support?
ELISABETH Service journalism is coming from every single corner of the newsroom. It’s coming from Business, from Metro, from Parenting, from Health. It’s pretty much the entire newsroom.
How does this differ from what you normally do?
ELISABETH I am usually the deputy travel editor. What I have been doing is figuring out what service stories are needed now. There are three ways I’m approaching it. First, what kind of stories are we hearing from our reporting? Second, what reader questions are coming in? Third, we’re reviewing what people are searching for on Google. Then, actually, fourth is whatever comes out of Karen’s mind.
KAREN My logic, having been an editor for Smarter Living for a couple of years, is that if I’m wondering about it, a lot of other people probably are.
What does an average day look like for you?
KAREN We both have kids, so we’re balancing that. They’re all home. I find myself constantly checking Slack and email and furiously working during windows when they’re busy with other things.
ELISABETH I have been waking up early to get as much work done as I can before my son is awake. We have a lot of meetings. There’s just so much news. In the afternoon, I’m doing a lot of editing. We’re taking ideas from our own lives because we know that other people are having these issues, too.
How do you decompress?
ELISABETH You have to walk around. Drink water.
I think everyone needs to be really disciplined, and I need to start taking my own advice on making sure that we know this is a marathon, not a sprint. And additionally, being good to my mental health, being good to all my co-workers and everyone I know.
KAREN I have a dog who I’ve never loved more because he gets me out of the house twice a day.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. The Back Story is based on reporting by Danya Issawi. You can reach the team at [email protected].
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the enduring appeal of the parody singer Weird Al Yankovic.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: prayer ender (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times is assessing the long-term impacts the coronavirus pandemic will have on the restaurant industry. R.S.V.P. here for a chat with Sam Sifton, the founding editor of NYT Cooking, and our restaurant critics in the U.S. and Australia, at 4 p.m. Eastern on Monday (9 p.m. in London).