Oil prices crash as U.S. storage tanks fill
Oil prices plummeted on Monday — some contracts actually meant the seller would have to pay the buyer — as the pandemic continued to destroy demand for energy. Concerns grew that storage tanks in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe will have no place to store unused crude.
The benchmark for oil delivered next month was essentially deemed to be worthless, while June’s contract for U.S. benchmark oil fell 16 percent on Monday to about $22 a barrel.
There are broader worries that a deal reached by OPEC, Russia and other producers to cut production will not prevent a record surge of surplus oil overwhelming the oil markets.
Breaking: President Trump said on Monday that he intended to suspend immigration to the United States in a bid to save American jobs as the nation’s economy recovered from a shutdown.
Turkey’s hidden death toll
Turkey has surpassed China in confirmed coronavirus cases, as the tally rose past 90,000 on Monday.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has marketed his handling of the contagion as a success story, while maintaining strict control over information.
But data compiled by Times reporters shows a striking jump in deaths in Istanbul, suggesting the outbreak is more calamitous in Turkey than official numbers suggest.
From March 9 to April 12, the city recorded 2,100 more deaths than compared to previous years — 30 percent higher than historical averages.
Another angle: With hospitals around the world overwhelmed, people with other illnesses are struggling to seek medical care.
Official remarks: Manufacturing and distributing a vaccine could prove extraordinarily difficult, the head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program warned on Monday.
In other news:
Hong Kong reported no new coronavirus cases on Monday, the first time since a second wave of imported infections hit there in early March that no new daily infections were reported.
The deal keeps Mr. Netanyahu in office as he faces trial on corruption charges and buys him time to try to extend Israeli sovereignty over occupied Palestinian territory.
The two will share the prime ministership, with Mr. Gantz first serving as deputy prime minister, before switching with Mr. Netanyahu in October 2021.
Watch: Some Israeli hospitals are allowing relatives in protective gear to say goodbye to loved ones dying of Covid-19.
If you have 7 minutes, this is worth it
A deadly undersea mystery
Above, a view of the Norwegian coastline seen through binoculars. Few people willingly talk about what the Losharik, a mysterious Russian submarine, was doing near Norway’s coast when a fire killed 14 sailors last July.
Moscow has insisted the deep-diving vessel was merely researching. But the roster of the dead includes some of the most decorated officers in Russia’s submarine corps.
One potential clue: endless miles of underwater fiber-optic cables carrying a fraction of the world’s internet traffic.
Here’s what else is happening
Nova Scotia shooting: The Canadian authorities are searching for a motive after a gunman killed at least 18 people, one of the country’s worst mass killings in recent memory.
North Korea: South Korean officials on Tuesday disputed a news report that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, was receiving treatment after undergoing heart surgery.
Australian media: Google and Facebook will have to pay media outlets in Australia for news content, part of a global effort to rescue local publishers by compelling tech giants to share their advertising revenue.
Prince Harry and Meghan: The couple told four British tabloids they would no longer engage with them, but insisted they were not trying to shut down critical coverage.
Snapshot: Denis Hayes, above, who coordinated the first Earth Day 50 years ago, still believes in the power of activism to incite political change. He has drawn a connection between the coronavirus and climate change.
In memoriam: Luis Sepúlveda, a Chilean writer who was jailed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, died in Spain last week at 70.
What we’re reading: This article in The New Yorker. Jennifer Steinhauer, a reporter in our Washington bureau, says: “I am often awake these days at 2 a.m., which has become my time for reading The New Yorker. This piece covers a topic I thought I knew well — the origins of the ‘Never Trump’ movement — but unpacks it with immense detail.”
Now, a break from the news
And now for the Back Story on …
‘Historically, we’ve preferred to study the male body’
The coronavirus is killing men at higher rates than women, even though infection rates are more or less the same. That’s because the male body and the female body respond differently to viruses. But unlike many other countries, the U.S. is not systematically tracking Covid-19 gender data.
Francesca Donner, who heads our Gender Initiative, spoke with Caroline Criado Perez, the author of “Invisible Women,” and Alisha Haridasani Gupta, gender reporter for The Times. Their conversation is excerpted from the In Her Words newsletter:
Francesca: We know differences between male and female immune systems exist, yet we know very little about them.
Caroline: The reason we don’t know that much is that, historically, we’ve preferred to study the male body.
We do know the female immune system is more active than the male immune system. The hypothesis is that it’s because women give birth and the female immune system has evolved around that. That can be bad for women in that women make up 80 percent of those with autoimmune diseases. Women also tend to have more frequent and more adverse reactions to vaccines.
The result is that we are less good at diagnosing diseases in women. If you look at something like heart disease in the U.K., women are 50 percent more likely to be misdiagnosed than men. One outcome is that in the U.S. and the U.K., women are more likely than men to die following a heart attack. And yet you still encounter so much resistance in the research community, who say things like, “The female body is too complicated, the menstrual cycle will interfere with the results.”
Francesca: Alisha, give us a little background on the sex data being collected.
Alisha: The U.S. is one of 11 countries that aren’t systematically tracking infections and deaths by men and women. Since we published the sex-data article, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did release a report that included a race and a sex breakdown. But even that was a snapshot, drawing information from hospital networks in parts of 14 states.
Francesca: What implications does this have in our search for a vaccine?
Alisha: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is already in phase one human trials for a potential vaccine on 45 healthy adults. It said it would need a larger number of participants to be able to disaggregate data by sex. That’s not to say that it’s impossible to have disaggregated data right from phase one — because Johnson & Johnson said that’s what it’s going to do as it heads into human trials in September.
That’s it for this briefing. Try literally becoming a work of art at home. 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. You can reach the team at [email protected].
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about what the U.S. might look like after states lift coronavirus-related lockdowns.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: donkey sounds (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Times employees are experimenting with new ways of connecting with and motivating their colleagues while they work from home, including poetry readings and virtual lunches.