Coronavirus, U.S. Unemployment, Policing: Your Friday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering unprecedented U.S. job losses, policing in the coronavirus era and how to travel the world without leaving home.

The speed and scale of the U.S. jobs carnage from the coronavirus pandemic is without precedent, with nearly 10 million Americans put out of work in just two weeks. More than 6.6 million filed for unemployment benefits last week, the U.S. Labor Department said.

Jobs are vanishing around the world. In hard-hit Spain, for example, which has over 110,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, more than 800,000 people lost their jobs in March.

Global coronavirus cases have surpassed one million, a fifth of them in the U.S. Hospitals there are reporting shortages of critical medications. New York State is running dangerously low on ventilators, and one morgue has run out of body bags.

Here are the latest updates. We’ve also updated our maps of the pandemic with more detail.

Closer look: A comparison of the outbreaks in the United States and Western Europe, which currently has twice as many cases, suggests that the U.S. is just a week or two behind.

Notable: The C.I.A. has said that China vastly underreported its infections and deaths, most likely because Beijing itself does not know the true toll. The U.S. and China have reached a tentative, uneasy truce over the virus after weeks of rhetorical clashes.

Official remarks: The Trump administration is pondering whether to urge all Americans to wear face masks. Experts emphasize that social distancing is more important for slowing the virus’s spread.

More and more of the world is under orders to stay home — but how should those orders be enforced? On Thursday, we told you about the tensions in Britain as new social controls collide with individual liberties.

But the issue goes far beyond Britain. In Australia, people have been threatened with jail for sitting alone and drinking coffee. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the police to shoot anyone who “causes commotion.”

Countries, states and towns everywhere are grappling with how to police when it isn’t always clear which activities should be banned.

Context: In some places, severe crackdowns reflect policing problems that existed well before the pandemic.

In Turkmenistan, the president has promoted a medicinal herb to fight the coronavirus. Belarus’s leader recommended vodka and a sauna.

The leaders of several former Soviet republics are downplaying the virus’s dangers, a strategy that has backfired elsewhere. Experts doubt they can keep it up for long, but with near-total control over the police and the news media, they are maintaining official denial for now.

Radio Free Europe reported that Turkmenistan has tried to squelch even private conversations about the virus.

In other developments:

  • Britain’s health secretary vowed that the country would increase tests to 100,000 a day after an outcry over its slow response. Britain also reported 569 new deaths, its highest daily tally, raising the toll there to 2,921.

  • The United Nations Security Council has been missing in action, failing to fulfill its global responsibilities in managing the pandemic, say rights groups and foreign policy experts.

A few years ago, the Market Three slum in Manila, above, was terrorized under President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal crackdown on drugs and crime. Now, a government plan to overhaul a nearby port threatens to force residents from their homes and strip them of what little they have. But life continues, with fear and love existing side by side.

Our reporter and photographer take you inside the slum, where neighbors must rely on each other.

Pakistan: A court overturned the murder conviction of Ahmed Omar Sheikh, a British militant who had been sentenced to death for the 2002 killing of the U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl.

Refugees: A European Union court ruled that Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic had violated their obligations as members of the bloc when they refused to take in their share of asylum seekers at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015.

India: The country’s press is under pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to portray him as a selfless savior.

What we’re listening to: This short podcast from Scientific American on what linguists say could be the development of a new accent in a research station in Antarctica. Stephen Hiltner, an editor on the Travel desk, calls it “peculiar and mind-bending.”

Cook: You can round out just about any roasted root vegetables dish with chickpeas and yogurt, giving it a luscious creamy texture.

Play: Here’s an introduction to the world of interactive online gaming, for people staying home who’ve never tried it.

Read: Elisabeth Egan makes a beautiful argument for reading aloud to your family.

Watch: Travel the world without leaving your house, with our 18 favorite TV shows for vicarious exploration.

Here’s a full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying home.

Our most recent episode of “The Daily” podcast features Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading U.S. expert on infectious diseases. Dr. Fauci, the Trump administration’s strongest proponent of social-distancing rules, has become a target of online conspiracy theorists who accuse him of trying to undermine President Trump during an election year.

Below is a condensed version of Dr. Fauci’s conversation with Michael Barbaro, edited for clarity.

At what point did you realize that the coronavirus was going to be of an entirely different speed and scale than AIDS, Ebola, SARS, H1N1 or swine flu?

It became clear to me that we could potentially be dealing with a global catastrophe somewhere in the middle of January, when it was clear that China was seeing not only extremely efficient transmissibility, but also a disturbing degree of morbidity and mortality.

It very much feels like you are a general in this war, in this moment. So what is a typical day like for you? Starting at what I can only assume is some ungodly hour of the morning.

You’re right. We are in a war.

You get up, there’s a lot of people who need information, which is the reason I’m talking to you right now. There are journalists, there are congressmen, there are governors, there are legislators, there are people in the federal government that constantly need briefing.

I also am running a very large institute that’s responsible for making the vaccines and for developing the drugs. So I come in for a couple of hours, get things on the right track here, and then I spend more than half the day at the White House with various meetings. I’m with the vice president for hours at a time. I see the president himself at least an hour a day and maybe more. And then I go back home and I have a thousand things to do.

And then you’re lucky if you get to bed before midnight and then you get up at 4 or 5 in the morning.

What are some of your biggest focuses now?

My biggest concern is that we now have a 30-day extension of the guideline mitigation. And we’ve got to get the American people to really appreciate that.

We should be prepared to adequately address the inevitable rebound that you will see once you start pulling back on the restrictions and the mitigations.

I had a very interesting conversation just this morning with colleagues from literally all over the world on the weekly telephone conference call that the W.H.O. sponsors. And it was interesting to me that some of the most cogent concerns of people from different countries, I mean all over — European, African, Australian, Canadian — was that we need to make sure we keep our eye on the balance of, if you’re too stringent in things like lockdowns and keeping people under wraps for a long period of time, you may have the unintended consequence of triggering, from an economic and societal standpoint, such a disruption that you get things like poverty and health issues unrelated to the coronavirus.

That’s it for this briefing. Have a good, and safe, weekend.

— Isabella

Thank you
Melissa Clark provided the recipe and Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at

• Besides “The Daily,” with Dr. Anthony Fauci, we’re listening to the “Modern Love” podcast. This week it features the voices of readers from around the world, talking about how the coronavirus has affected their relationships.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: season-long plot (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Jenna Wortham, a writer for The Times Magazine and a co-host of our “Still Processing” podcast, spoke to Vanity Fair about her working-from-home routine.

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