Tuesday, June 22

Trump, Coronavirus, Sanda Dia: Your Monday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering the latest on President Trump’s treatment for the coronavirus, a cavalier British attitude toward restrictions and the West’s failure to introduce successful contact tracing.

1. First, it’s the game that is 35, not Mario. He’s 39. Mario debuted in 1981 in another famous Nintendo game, Donkey Kong, in which he runs up a series of girders, jumps over barrels and climbs ladders to rescue a woman kidnapped by a giant ape.

2. In the early years of video games, characters were defined less by who they were than by what they could do. Pac-Man gobbled dots and chased — or was chased by — ghosts. Sonic ran fast. Mario jumped. In fact, before the creators of Donkey Kong called him Mario, they called him “Jumpman.”

3. Mario is so famous that even his brother, Luigi — who was playable in Super Mario Bros. in two-player mode — is a superstar. Luigi has more personality; he’s a nervous worrier and an underdog in the shadow of his famous sibling. Nintendo marketed 2013 as the Year of Luigi. Did you celebrate?

4. It’s unclear what Mario’s last name is. Sometimes Nintendo officials have said it is Mario (hence Mario and Luigi being the “Mario Bros.”), which would make him Mario Mario. Other times, they’ve said he doesn’t have one.

5. Mario’s cheerfulness remains irrepressible. These days, Mario and Grand Theft Auto can sit side-by-side in their popularity.

Thanks for joining me for today’s briefing. Have an excellent 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 briefing@nytimes.com.

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is on President Trump’s coronavirus infection.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Seemingly forever” (Three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The word “mobiuses” — surfaces with only one side and only one boundary curve — first appeared in The Times last week, according to the Twitter bot
• Jessica Grose, our Parenting editor, talked to WYNC about the issues facing The Sandwich Generation — adults raising children while taking care of their aging parents.

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