Tuesday, June 22

Maradona, Covid-19, Macron: Your Thursday Briefing


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Good morning.

We’re covering a Thanksgiving holiday overshadowed by the coronavirus, President Emmanuel Macron’s move to the right and a five-mile post-Brexit traffic jam.

Under normal circumstances, families across the U.S. would be gathering, some in groups of a dozen or more, on a holiday that celebrates coming together. But this year, as the country experiences its most deadly surge yet of the coronavirus, only about 27 percent of Americans plan to dine with people outside their household, according to a survey requested by The Times.

A virus surge that started in the Midwest now appears to be morphing into swift resurgences in cities like Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix, adding first-time spikes in smaller cities away from the nation’s middle, like Cumberland, Md. Simply put, the coronavirus is everywhere.

More than 1.2 million cases in the U.S. have been identified in the past week, and the country is on pace to reach 13 million known cases within days. The seven-day average of daily deaths is over 1,600. Scientists are expressing deep foreboding about the arrival of Thanksgiving and cold weather during such a surge.

On the front lines: Doctors and nurses are running on empty. “This is my job, what I wanted to do for a living,” said a critical-care physician in Houston who brought the virus home with him, sickening his whole family. “And it could have killed my children, could have killed my wife — all this, because of me.”

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • The U.N.’s top refugee official said on Wednesday that the rise in coronavirus infections had worsened an already extant toxic side effect of the pandemic: the abuse of refugee women and girls.

  • A state-owned vaccine maker in China has filed an application to market the vaccine in the country before it has completed trials.

  • President-elect Joe Biden urged Americans to forgo Thanksgiving gatherings to avoid spreading the virus and described his own family’s plans to stay distant. “We all have a role to play in beating this crisis,” Mr. Biden said.

  • AstraZeneca’s vaccine trial suffered from multiple data and dosage errors. The problems may mean that the company’s vaccine will not be one of those made available early.


Argentina declared three days of national mourning for the player who took up the sport in dusty streets “with an urchin’s resourcefulness,” our reporter writes. He turned professional by 15, starring with Napoli and Barcelona and then in 2010 coaching Argentina in the World Cup.

Maradona scored one of the game’s most controversial goals and one of its most celebrated in the span of four minutes in 1986 against England — punching the ball into the net with his fist for the first and then deftly maneuvering 70 yards through five British players for the second.

Come up with a plan. Not all screen time is bad, so assess which parts are toxic and impose time limits to minimize them. Set modest goals, such as a 20-minute limit for reading the news on weekends. For structure, create calendar events for everything, including browsing the web and taking breaks.

Create no-phone zones. Leaving your phone outside your bedroom keeps at bay blue light, which can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, and removes the urge to check it in the middle of the night. Another no-phone zone could be the dinner table, a prime opportunity for families to put devices away for at least 30 minutes and reconnect.

Resist the hooks. Beware the artificial goals and infinite feeds that tech companies use to keep us glued to our screens. Turn off notifications for all apps except those that are essential for work and keeping in touch with people you care about. If you feel strongly addicted, take an extreme measure and turn the phone to grayscale mode.


That’s it for this briefing. Wishing you a peaceful, productive day.

— Natasha


Thank you
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach Natasha and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode follows New York City residents facing food shortages during the pandemic.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Color of a blue sky (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Whether you’re preparing for the end of Britain’s lockdown or celebrating Thanksgiving abroad, this weekend might be a good time to tie up loose ends.
• Kim Fararo, an editor on our Foreign desk, will take on a new role as deputy editor in Europe.



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