Sunday, April 18

Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

The number of coronavirus cases passed 1 million on Tuesday, the Russian government said, despite an official declaration in early August that the country had a vaccine. About 5,000 new infections are reported daily.

Experts blamed spread in hospitals, haphazard social distancing, and a faulty early test kit that produced false negatives and obscured the initial scale of the problem. The timeline for vaccinations has been pushed back to November or December, rather than October.

Despite a steady rise in cases, schools reopened on Tuesday with few precautions. Teachers were not required to wear masks. Russia now ranks fourth in the world for reported total infections after the United States, Brazil and India. About 17,300 people have died.

Cook: These roasted tomato, mozzarella and pesto calzones are a good picnic option if you’re looking for a change from sandwiches.

Watch: “Away,” “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” and “Enola Holmes” are among our streaming picks in Australia.

Read: Sales of tell-all books about President Trump are soaring. With just two months to go before the U.S. elections, a new bumper crop of Trump books is landing, including a memoir by his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

For more ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do, browse our At Home section.

Yesterday, we featured a discussion by Times reporters about the Democratic National Convention. Here, in part 2, John Eligon, who covers race; Annie Karni, who covers the White House; and Jonathan Martin, who covers politics, talked about the themes at the Republican National Convention and the strategies in play to help President Trump get re-elected.

Jonathan, talk about how President Trump and the Republicans chose to frame the events in Kenosha, Wis. What distinction are they drawing with Democrats about law and order?

The president is running in a moment where the country is suffering from a pandemic that has killed more than 180,000 people and thrown millions out of work, so Republicans see the Kenosha event as an opportunity to recast the campaign and make it more about disorder in American cities and charging that Joe Biden would tolerate or enable that. Obviously, it’s tough to drive that message when Mr. Biden is not the president when this is happening, but this is a matter of political necessity.

Annie, we heard a lot about women, about suffrage. There was a lot of programming that hit that message. What do you think the aim of that was?

The phrase I was tracking went like, “I wish you could see what I see”: this empathetic president who is kind. This was a theme over and over. It was an acknowledgment that he needs to increase his support with suburban women. That’s the best path he has to re-election, and it was a clear acknowledgment that just the base is not going to be enough.

How was this convention aimed at the swing states that were fundamental to his 2016 win?

Jonathan: If you look at the polling, the president has been trailing Biden consistently, but the margins got worse over the summer, and there’s been some analysis about what happened. You can basically trace it back to June and July, when two things happened. He responded to the Black Lives Matter protest in a way that was incendiary and turned off a lot of voters, including center and center right voters, and then the coronavirus flared back up and he wasn’t showing urgency in his response.

Those two issues have given Biden a larger lead that may be temporary, so I think the mission in this convention was looking to places like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania and trying to get back some of those voters they lost.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina

Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Joe Biden’s speech in Pittsburgh this week.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Where clouds form (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Dodai Stewart, a deputy editor on our Metro desk with a passion for visual storytelling, will be joining Special Projects as the deputy editor for Narrative Projects.

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