Saturday, June 19

Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

Brussels has demanded the speedy withdrawal of proposed Brexit legislation that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has admitted would breach international law. Mr. Johnson and his government have swiftly rejected this ultimatum.

It is the most serious crisis yet to hit negotiations on a trade agreement for when Britain leaves the European Union’s trade zone. The talks have failed to make any significant progress yet have somehow remained alive. The proposed legislation would override aspects of a landmark withdrawal agreement about the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of Britain, and Ireland, a member of the European Union.

In a toughly worded statement that underscored the growing tension, the European Commission — the bloc’s executive arm — suggested it was ready to take legal action against the British government, accusing it of threatening Northern Ireland’s fragile peace agreement.

The global death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 900,000, according to a New York Times database, with at least 27.9 million known cases around the world. Seven months into the pandemic, the virus has been detected in almost every country.

The true death toll may be higher; The Times has found underestimates in the official death tallies in the United States and in more than a dozen other countries. The United States has the highest number of cases, followed by India, which reported more than 95,000 new cases on Thursday, and Brazil. In deaths, the United States is also first, with Brazil second and India third.

The pandemic is ebbing in some countries that were hit hard early on, but the number of new cases is growing faster than ever worldwide, with more than 200,000 reported each day on average. Cases are worryingly high in India, the United States and Israel. In Brazil, cases are high but appear to be decreasing.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

  • Wuhan, China, will resume international flights this month. Carriers are applying for permission to restart direct flights to cities including Bangkok; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Hanoi, Vietnam; Singapore; and Tokyo, according to state media.

  • A pared-down U.S. stimulus package worth hundreds of billions of dollars failed to win support in the Senate, dimming chances that Congress will enact another economic recovery measure before the November elections.

  • The U.S. extradition hearing of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, which began in London this week, was abruptly halted because a member of the prosecution team may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

  • Spain’s return to school has so far been “very positive,” the country’s education minister said on Thursday, praising the management and staffs of schools for their efforts.

Tell me how students are using social media to shame their schools.

Natasha: Many people have seen the online videos of students stuck in quarantine or isolation documenting crummy or nonexistent university-provided meals. But what I found went deeper: Sick students are making videos about how they felt universities abandoned them once they tested positive and moved into special Covid dorms.

And there are a bunch of students who shared online their shock that virus-infected students or people who were waiting for tests were assigned to share a room, bathroom or dorm — conditions that they worried could foster infections. In some cases, their colleges then improved services for quarantined students.

College students are also being shamed on social media for their behavior.

Yes, some kids are partying or going to bars in large numbers without masks. But epidemiologists said some schools also made the risks worse by failing to make systematic changes to help curtail the virus. Some schools reduced capacity in dorms, and that helps.

Sending infected students home is dangerous because it risks spreading the coronavirus to their families and communities. What should colleges do?

The best practice would be caring for the mental health and physical safety of students who are quarantined, and not leaving them to fend for themselves. Schools have to plan in advance for what should happen in isolation dorms, and what it’s going to be like for an 18-year-old who gets sick and feels cut off.

Thanks for joining me for today’s briefing. See you next week.

— Natasha

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

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is the second of a two-part series on Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman in Kentucky killed by police officers who entered her home while she was sleeping.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: “See ya” (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The word “raspas” — a Mexican shaved ice treat — first appeared in The Times yesterday, according to the Twitter account
• Kara Swisher’s forthcoming Opinion podcast, “Sway,” was featured in Vulture’s fall podcast preview.

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