What You Need to Know Today: Coronavirus, Anthony Fauci, Tornadoes

What You Need to Know Today: Coronavirus, Anthony Fauci, Tornadoes

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Good morning.

We’re covering the debate over reopening the U.S. economy, a major deal to reduce oil production, and deadly storms in the Southeast.

Gov. Philip Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat, said of returning to a semblance of life before the coronavirus outbreak: “It’s not job No. 1, because right now the house is on fire and job No. 1 is to put the fire out.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that reopening the country would not be an “all or none” proposition and that restrictions must be lifted gradually to prevent a resurgence of cases. He also said that more lives could have been saved if the country had been shut down earlier.

Here are the latest updates from the U.S. and around the world, as well as maps of the pandemic.

We’re also tracking the virus’s growth rate in hundreds of U.S. metro areas.

In other developments:

  • Prodded by President Trump, OPEC, Russia and other oil producers agreed to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels a day in May and June, close to 10 percent of the world’s production. Demand for oil is down about 35 percent since the start of the crisis.

“The Daily”: In today’s episode, Americans discuss how their lives have changed during the pandemic.

Perspective: In an opinion piece for The Times, Joe Biden outlines his strategy for reopening the U.S. economy.

The details: We’ve compiled expert guidance on several subjects, including health, money and travel.

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.

The obstetrics unit at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, where nearly 200 babies have been born since the beginning of March, has been transformed during the pandemic, with mothers-to-be confined to their rooms. Multiple doctors and nurses have gotten sick.

Some pregnant women have fallen extremely ill, but doctors are winning battles for their lives and their children’s. So far, not one mother or baby has been lost.

Another angle: Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted that he had the final say on when New York City’s public schools will reopen. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said they will remain closed through the end of June.

Related: New York State still has hundreds of coronavirus-linked deaths each day, but hospitalization rates and other data suggest that the spread of the virus has slowed, Mr. Cuomo said on Sunday.


Epidemiologists have praised the aggressive stay-at-home orders in California, Oregon and Washington for helping to limit the spread of the coronavirus, a contrast to relatively slower moves in New York State and elsewhere.

As of this morning, there have been more than 9,300 virus-related deaths in New York, compared with just over 1,200 total for the three Pacific Coast states.

Some say the effects of the western states’ moves have been overlooked in a country where news outlets are concentrated in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Quotable: “California and the Bay Area response is impressive because it was done before there were obvious and tangible risks,” said Dr. Robert Wachter at the University of California, San Francisco. “New York acted in a more predictable way.”

Another angle: Space and privacy have emerged as a class divide: more valuable than ever to those who have it and potentially fatal to those who don’t.

They include a group of veteran black actresses who have overcome the odds to achieve long Hollywood careers. Above, clockwise from left: Taraji P. Henson, Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett, Lynn Whitfield, Halle Berry and Kimberly Elise.

Deadly storms in the South: At least six people were killed as tornadoes hit Mississippi and other states. More severe weather is expected through this morning.

Chernobyl fires: Firefighters have struggled to control wildfires burning through radioactive forest around the abandoned nuclear plant in Ukraine. Radiation levels there are considerably lower than they were immediately after the 1986 accident but still pose risks.

Snapshot: Above, tulips in the Netherlands. Lockdowns have led growers to destroy hundreds of millions of flowers, upending a season that brings in about 7 billion euros ($7.6 billion).

Metropolitan Diary: In this week’s column, a sharp comeback, a turtle in trouble and more reader tales of New York City.

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.

Cook: Coconut macaroons, two simple ways. They might just be the easiest and most forgiving of any cookie.

Read: Vanessa Friedman on Bill Cunningham’s photographs of Easter parades past in New York City. Dwight Garner reviews a collection of poems by Hannah Sullivan. And speaking of poetry, here’s some for children, with pictures.

Cope: Here’s how to manage a refund for that vacation that isn’t happening. Art can help put the pandemic in perspective. And Tara Parker-Pope has a definitive guide to face masks.

We have more ideas about what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

During the pandemic, The Times has enhanced its 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.

— Chris


Thank you
Melissa Clark provided the recipe, and Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh the rest of the break from the news. The Back Story is based on reporting by Danya Issawi. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about life in the U.S. during the pandemic.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Prayer ender (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Sam Sifton, the founding editor of NYT Cooking, and our restaurant critics will discuss the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the restaurant industry during a group call with readers at 4 p.m. Eastern today. R.S.V.P. here.


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