Coronavirus, Stimulus, Cabin Fever: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

Coronavirus, Stimulus, Cabin Fever: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. We got our first look at the details of the $2 trillion stimulus bill.

Senate leaders are still wrangling over jobless benefits, but say they hope to vote on it tonight. The House will most likely follow suit on Thursday.

Even the fine print has fine print in the highly technical, 619-page near final version. Our reporters have a roundup of the findings, and have also highlighted five key elements. Among them are:

  • Taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 per year would receive $1,200 in direct payments, which phase out and end altogether for those earning more than $99,000. Families would get an additional $500 per child.

  • Unemployment benefits would be extended by 13 weeks and was broadened to include freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers.

  • Federally guaranteed loans would be available to small businesses that pledged not to lay off workers, and would be forgiven if they continued to pay workers for the duration of the crisis.

Other industries like retailers, restaurants, like above in Manhattan’s Chinatown, community banks and for-profit schools are poised to benefit. Despite Democrats’ claims that President Trump’s businesses would be blocked from receiving benefits, that’s not the case.

Our bodies naturally make antibodies to infections with virtually all viruses, but how long they last after exposure to Covid-19 is an open question. And it’s an important one. People who are immune can venture out of their houses, and a growing immunity in the community is how the virus ends.

In New York, the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would be the first to begin testing serum from people who had recovered from Covid-19 to treat those who were seriously ill.

There were also signs that New York’s stringent restrictions on social gatherings could be working. On Sunday, hospitalizations were projected to double every two days. By Tuesday, that shifted to every 4.7 days — “almost too good to be true,” Mr. Cuomo said.

But the state has over 30,800 confirmed cases, up more than 5,000 since Tuesday morning.

3. Prince Charles tested positive for the coronavirus, Buckingham Palace said.

Charles, 71, who is first in line to the British throne, has been experiencing mild symptoms but has “otherwise remained in good health,” a spokesman said. He last saw his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on March 12, before he was infectious, doctors said.

Here’s a roundup of public figures who have announced that they have the virus.

And an editor for The Times Magazine described her family life after her husband fell ill with Covid-19.

“It’s as if we are in a time warp” she wrote. Around them, everyone seems to be “blissfully, unconsciously” going about their lives while she, her daughter and her husband languish in a “makeshift sick ward, living in what will soon be the present for more and more of them.”


4. The beginning of the world’s largest coronavirus lockdown is underway.

India’s 1.3 billion people — a sixth of the world’s population — have been told to stay at home. Rule-breakers were threatened with public shaming and even “shoot on sight” orders in one state. For some, the lockdown could mean starving. And an already fragile economy may collapse. Above, people lining up for cooking gas in Mumbai.

It’s an entirely different story in Mexico and Brazil, where the leaders of Latin America’s two largest nations have largely dismissed the dangers and have resisted calls for a lockdown.


5. Turkish officials indicted 20 Saudi nationals for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

In a statement, the Istanbul prosecutor’s office said the indictments, which have not been released, would show how the killing had been planned. Turkish and U.S. authorities have concluded that the dissident writer was strangled and dismembered at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey. Above, a symbolic funeral for Mr. Khashoggi in 2018.

A trial, however, is unlikely. Turkish law demands the presence of the defendants for a trial, and none of them are in the country.


6. A treat for theater lovers.

Our architecture critic went with David Rockwell, the architect and Tony-winning set designer, on a virtual tour of shuttered Broadway and shared the stories and the history behind his favorite theaters.

“Theaters are so resilient,” Mr. Rockwell said. “They can have many lives.”

And for the first time, an industry built on caring for other people is pivoting to caring for its own: Around the country, restaurant customers and owners have mounted efforts to raise money for workers, including at least 6,000 online efforts at gofundme.com.

9. In this time of great uncertainty, many are looking for an outlet to channel their angst. The Los Angeles Rams’ new logos may be just the target.

Almost everybody hates them. One logo, a ram’s head, drew mostly negative feedback, but an image of a horn swooping over a capital L.A. drew the most derision.

“The L.A. Rams are no longer a football team; they are a morning show,” one fan tweeted. Others thought it said “internet browser” or “life insurance company” more than “football team.”


10. And finally, taking the plunge.

At 28, Jazmine Hughes, an editor at The Times Magazine, decided to learn how to swim. But the pool and the ocean (and an instructor at a Y.M.C.A.) ended up teaching her more than just to float on her own. Her months of learning to swim followed a two-year period of learning to date women.

“In the ocean, I wasn’t afraid of what I might find beneath — seeing something new was the most appealing reason to get in,” she writes. “I would finally see what I had been missing all this time.”

Have an eye-opening night.


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