Web Analytics
Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today | Press "Enter" to skip to content

Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today


  • Confirmed coronavirus cases neared 2 million worldwide, with over 120,000 people dead.

  • This year is likely to be the worst for the global economy since the Great Depression, the International Monetary Fund says.

  • New York City revised its coronavirus toll, adding 3,700 people who were not tested for the virus before they died.

  • Read the latest updates: World | U.S. | New York | Business

California could have been a catastrophe. It had some of the country’s first coronavirus cases, and its extensive ties to China — 150,000 people flew in from there in January alone — made it appear highly vulnerable.

But the state seems to be beating the odds. The virus hasn’t spread nearly as explosively in California as it has in New York and New Jersey, and it currently ranks 30th in the nation in coronavirus deaths per capita

Its leaders are now inching forward with plans to gradually ease restrictions as the pandemic ebbs. Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday that the state intended to switch to less restrictive and more localized measures, but that was not for several weeks at least.

Face coverings will probably still be needed in public, he said. Large gatherings may remain banned through the summer, and students may have to attend school in shifts in the fall to avoid crowding classrooms. Restaurant patrons will probably have their temperature taken before being seated.

“Normal it will not be,” the governor said.

Our correspondents Thomas Fuller and Tim Arango write that California’s reopening will have huge ramifications for the rest of the country, showing what works and what doesn’t.

“We’re not going to flip the switch and suddenly have the economy return to what it was and everyone come out of their homes simultaneously,” Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles said.

Why it wasn’t worse: Scientists are scrambling to understand why mitigation efforts were so successful at flattening the curve in California. Some factors they cite:

  • Early social distancing. Even before the stay-at-home orders, Californians were beginning to keep clear of one another, while New Yorkers were still packing bars and restaurants.

  • A work-from-home culture. The practice was already commonplace in the state, spurred by the tech industry.

  • Experience with wildfires and earthquakes. The state government has built up extensive disaster-response machinery, and people are accustomed to heeding official orders in a crisis.

  • Lower-density life. The state’s solitary car culture and suburban sprawl are usually seen as liabilities. But in this case, “the more space you have, the less probability there is for transmission,” Moritz Kraemer of Oxford University said.

The Times is providing free access to much of our coronavirus coverage, and our Coronavirus Briefing newsletter — like all of our newsletters — is free. Please consider supporting our journalism with a subscription.

Social-distancing guidelines recommend that people stay six feet apart in public, based on how far most large droplets from a cough or a sneeze travel. But that may not be enough, especially if your health is vulnerable or you’re in an enclosed space.

Smaller droplets called aerosols that could spread the virus might be carried farther by air currents. They’re produced not only when you sneeze or cough, but also when you simply breathe or talk.

(We created a 3-D simulation to show just what happens in the 20 minutes after an infected person coughs indoors. We also used augmented reality — accessible with the NYTimes iOS app on a newer iPhone or iPad model — to show how the six-foot guideline could apply in real life.)

All the more reason to wear a mask: Barriers of cloth or other materials can stop large particles from landing on your nose and mouth, while disrupting the trajectory of your own coughs and sneezes.

Worried about surfaces? Most people catch the virus by inhaling droplets that an infected person has just breathed out, not by touching a surface where it may be lurking. So the usefulness of widespread public disinfecting remains up for debate.

New York City revised its death toll upward by more than 3,700 people after officials included people who were thought to have died from the virus but were never tested.

The new figures, released by the city’s Health Department, raised the city’s total to more than 10,000, and the national figure to more than 26,000, a 17 percent increase.

The revision tried to account for people who died at the beginning of the outbreak, when testing kits were scarce and many who believed they had the virus went untested. Most of those deaths took place in hospitals, but some occurred in nursing homes and private residences.

Most states are counting deaths as coronavirus-related only when confirmed by testing. So if the city’s new figures are any guide, the exact death tolls in most states may also be much higher than they are recorded now.

In Britain, new statistics suggest that the official death toll is inaccurately low because people who die in nursing homes or residences are left out. Counting them might add at least 10 percent to the official tally of 12,107, the data suggests.

  • Indonesia’s death toll has grown rapidly — at 459, it’s now second only to China in East Asia. And it doesn’t include patients who died before they could be tested.

  • Turkey, which has 56,956 cases and 1,198 deaths, will release up to 90,000 prisoners to stem the spread of the virus behind bars.

  • In Iraq, a stigma around illness and quarantine deters people from being tested or from seeking prompt treatment, which may mean its relatively low case count of 1,378 is greatly understated.

  • In India, which has 10,815 confirmed cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended a nationwide lockdown by nearly three weeks.

Keep a diary. It’ll help you organize your thoughts during difficult times, and may help educate future generations.

Manage your anxiety. It’s important for your health to tamp down excessive worrying. Here are ways to cope.

Can I break my lease? In normal times, landlords can usually re-rent apartments quickly and spare departing tenants a penalty. But that may not be the case now.

Don’t agonize over your child’s screen time. Parents can let down their guard a little, if they remember the three C’s: child, content and context.

  • State governors rejected President Trump’s insistence that he alone had the authority to lift stay-at-home orders and to reopen the American economy. Mr. Trump likened them to mutineers

  • At least seven states — Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas — have classified abortion as a nonessential medical procedure, effectively making it unobtainable. Abortion rights groups are suing the states, saying the pandemic is just a pretext to ignore Roe v. Wade.

  • Inspiring blogs. Uplifting Covid-19 memes. Good-news Instagram accounts. The pandemic has driven interest in uplifting stories way, way up.

  • A village in Indonesia has deployed a group of “ghosts” — shrouded white figures who jump out and scare passers-by — in the hope that they will keep people indoors, The Associated Press reports.

  • Losing the Super Bowl may have saved lives in San Francisco. If the 49ers had won, hundreds of thousands of fans would probably have celebrated at a victory parade just when the coronavirus was beginning to spread, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Overnight I became a full-time housewife and stay-at-home mother. My husband is working remotely from home and we have an active 2-year-old toddler. Now that day care is closed, we are the only playmates he has. The baby “wuv” “violins” (read as “guitar”), so we made a band! We have an assortment of child-size instruments and a microphone. The baby arranges where we stand, has us count up to four, and then we rock on!

— Caryn Shore, Clifton, N.J.

Let us know how you’re dealing with the outbreak. Send us a response here, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.

Adam Pasick, Lara Takenaga and Jonathan Wolfe helped write today’s newsletter.

Email your thoughts to [email protected]. Did a friend forward you the briefing? Sign up here.


Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *