Coronavirus, New York, Sabrina Ionescu: Your Weekend Briefing


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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.

1. Local and state leaders across the country are preparing for the coronavirus to move inland.

With at least 17 states reporting tallies of at least 1,000 confirmed cases, officials are struggling to deal with the deadly onslaught, urgently issuing guidance to residents and sounding the alarm over a dearth of equipment in clinics and hospitals.

The national total of cases stands at above 123,000 as of Sunday morning. More than 2,000 people have died, including the first known U.S. death of an infant with the virus.

President Trump, who deployed a naval hospital ship to New York on Sunday, above, has been under substantial pressure from state officials to do more to quell the crisis. He considered imposing a quarantine on the New York area but said he would issue a travel advisory instead.

On Friday, the president signed a $2 trillion economic relief plan to offer assistance to tens of millions of American households affected by the pandemic. Here is what’s in the plan.

2. If growth in virus cases continues, the New York City area may suffer a worse outbreak than Wuhan, China, or the Lombardy region in Italy, our analysis found. Above, a testing line at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.

There is no guarantee that current trends will continue. But the New York metro area has had less success in flattening the curve at this point in its outbreak than Wuhan or Lombardy did at the same point in theirs. And other American metropolitan areas appear to be on a similar path.

New York State, with over 53,300 cases as of Sunday morning, accounts for more than one-third of the country’s known coronavirus infections. The Times has been tracking all known coronavirus cases and has made that data available to the public.

3. A Times investigation found that an early lack of screening in the U.S. had allowed the coronavirus outbreak to spread largely undetected for weeks. Above, drive through testing in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday.

Technical flaws, regulatory hurdles and lack of organized leadership would cost the U.S. a month of testing that could have slowed the virus, according to interviews with more than 50 current and former insiders.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Trump administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency virus measures, told members of Congress that the early inability to test was “a failing” of the administration’s response to the deadly outbreak. Now he’s the target of claims that he is mobilizing to undermine the president.


4. Wednesday is the first day of the month. That means bills are due for many Americans.

With much of the money promised in the stimulus package still weeks out, the trajectory of the U.S. economy will largely rest on how many payments go unmade, which bills are put ahead of others and the terms on which they are settled. Above, a shuttered Café du Monde in New Orleans this week.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs in recent weeks, an economic catastrophe many are struggling to absorb. The layoffs and furloughs across the country happened so quickly that lives were overturned in an instant.


5. The presidential race continues, online only.

The pandemic has dramatically transformed the 2020 campaign, changing how candidates communicate with voters, raise money from donors and confront their opponents. It’s also propelled issues like public health and the economic downturn to the forefront in races up and down the ballot.

Above, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Capitol Hill this week.

The outbreak has also delayed multiple primary elections. June 2 will now confer a trove of delegates so large it will be second only to Super Tuesday. Here’s what else happened in the presidential race this week.


6. If panic buying trends are any indiction, many Americans are turning their attention back to the land.

Many feed stores report they are selling out of baby chicks almost as fast as they can get new orders in. Our climate reporter, desperate to get into the garden, came across a similar situation when she tried to purchase seeds.

With panicked shoppers cleaning out stores, even those with no gardening experience are searching for do-it-yourself YouTube videos on how to build a raised bed. Is a new victory garden movement next?


7. We’re all in need of a little cheer, distraction and hope. Dogs dressed up according to their personalities, like Rosie, above, might suffice.

Little Free Libraries are handing out canned goods and toiletries. Cities are bursting into applause for medical workers. Students from the Berklee College of Music in Boston performed “What the World Needs Now is Love” together online.

8. This was supposed to be a dream college season for Sabrina Ionescu.

The Oregon star had been called “the puppet master” by her mentor, Kobe Bryant; she is projected to be the top draft pick this April in the W.N.B.A. Instead, Ionescu must contend with having had the biggest stage of her career ripped away, first with the death of Bryant and then with the cancellation of the N.C.A.A. season.

“I learned to embrace the journey more, the moments more,” she said. “The hard journey. All of it. Nothing is promised. There aren’t any guarantees.”


9. A year ago we got our first vision of a black hole. A new study suggested there was more hiding in that image than we had imagined.

When you point a telescope at a black hole, it turns out you don’t just see a doughnut of doom formed by matter falling in — you can also see the whole universe. Scientists have proposed a technique to separate all of that information from the image, which flattened it down.

In other news from the cosmos, more than three decades after Voyager 2 made a flyby of Uranus, scientists have found an unusual signal in the data it collected: a 250,000-mile thick cylindrical mass of electrified hydrogen gas.


10. And finally, check out one of our Best Weekend Reads.

This week, our journalists explore learning to swim as an adult, a baseball season opener with a dash of imagination, the heroic efforts of one Brooklyn hospital and more.

For more ideas on what to read, watch and listen to, may we suggest these 11 new books our editors liked, a glance at the latest small-screen recommendations from Watching and our music critics’ latest playlist (including a 17-minute surprise from Bob Dylan).

Have you been keeping up with the headlines? Test your knowledge with our news quiz. And here’s the front page of our Sunday paper, the Sunday Review from Opinion and our crossword puzzles.

Here’s hoping for an easier April.


Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6 a.m. Eastern.

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