The Surging Virus – The New York Occasions
Would you like to receive The Morning by email? Here is the registration.
Good Morning. Biden and Trump host competing TV events. A look at Amy Coney Barrett’s last day of interrogation. And virus cases in Europe now exceed those in the US
The autumn wave of the coronavirus has reached a dangerous new stage. The number of new daily cases in the US has increased nearly 50 percent in the last month. In Europe the situation is even worse.
For the first time since the end of March, the number of new cases per capita in Europe exceeds the number in the US:
“The virus is everywhere in France,” French President Emmanuel Macron said yesterday while imposing a night curfew in major cities.
The onset of cooler weather, which is driving more people indoors, seems to play a huge role. And many people seem tired of the pandemic restrictions, and leaders – both in Europe and the US – have lifted the restrictions ahead of time.
At the end of June, as Mark Landler of The Times writes in Europe, the Prague residents held a dinner party over Charles Bridge to celebrate what they – mistakenly – called the end of the eruption. Italy and Spain welcomed summer tourists.
But the pandemic hasn’t gone away. As treatments get better, many people are still dying – including nearly 6,000 in India last week, 5,000 in the US, 1,700 in Iran, 850 in Spain, and about 600 in the UK and France. A widespread vaccine is still months away, even if current research studies are going well.
With all of this bad news, it should be noted that some countries continue to successfully fight the virus. The per capita rate of new cases in Canada is less than half that of the US. In Australia and much of Africa and Asia the rate remains close to zero.
In many places where the number of cases is rising, political leaders are reluctant to impose new bans because the public is fed up with them. But that creates something like a catch-22: the most reliable way to reverse major outbreaks of this virus has been through rigorous raids.
In the USA: The virus is spreading in every region, with the highest case numbers in the South and Midwest as you can see in these charts.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett signaled that an upcoming Supreme Court case on the Affordable Care Act may not threaten the entire law. Barrett said that a doctrine of law known as “severability” (it’s the legal equivalent of a game of jenga: if you pull out a plank will the entire tower topple over?) The court could have pieces of the law knocked down without everything invalidate it.
Barrett declined to answer several questions related to Trump, including whether a president has the right to apologize to himself. Legal experts are divided on this issue.
Yesterday was Barrett’s last scheduled Senator interrogation day. She is on her way to confirm a vote near the party line.
other great stories
Houthi fighters in Yemen released two American hostages after the US reached a deal to return dozens of Houthi fighters in Oman.
Half of the corals that make up Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have died since 1995. Researchers said the decline would continue unless drastic measures were taken to address climate change.
One morning read: “Like many men, I grew a mustache in those months of isolation in search of novelty and pleasure,” writes Wesley Morris. In an essay he examines how a lark led to a better understanding of its blackness.
Lived life: In 1985 Herbert Kretzmer, up to then a lyricist and songwriter, was asked to reinterpret the obscure French musical “Les Misérables”. He wrote the English lyrics and turned them into one of the most successful and longest running theater productions. Kretzmer was 95 years old.
IDEA OF THE DAY: Irresponsible prosecutors
In February 2017, an audio reporter named Madeleine Baran received an email asking her to investigate the case of Curtis Flowers, a black man on death row in Mississippi. That email began its journey into what my late colleague Jim Dwyer called “the greatest journalism of our time”.
Flowers was the victim of a campaign by Doug Evans, a white prosecutor, to convict him of a quadruple homicide in 1996, although there was no good evidence that Flowers was tied to the crime. Along the way, Evans committed several prosecutorial malpractice cases, including banning black jurors. After the appeals courts dismissed some of Flowers’ convictions, Evans tried six different trials, with Flowers remaining behind bars the entire time.
Baran and her colleagues at APM Reports told this story in the second season of their podcast, In the Dark, and drew national attention to it. Last year the Supreme Court overturned Flowers’ conviction. On September 4, Mississippi dropped the charges against Flowers.
If you haven’t heard the podcast yet, I recommend starting with the first episode. If so, you can check out the final episode released yesterday in which Baran can finally interview Flowers.
So far there is no evidence that Evans will be punished for his misconduct.
For more: See this statement by APM’s Parker Yesko on the more general lack of accountability of prosecutors. The podcast team also included Will Craft, Samara Freemark, Natalie Jablonski, Rehman Tungekar and Catherine Winter.
Fried chicken forever
Fried Chicken Cookies. Hot honey butter. This sandwich gives you something to look forward to at dinner. Prepare both components on the day you plan to eat them for optimal crispness.
Incels and white supremacists
Radicalization often happens online. In her new book “Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy”, Talia Lavin infiltrates right-wing extremist online communities with fake identities – a socially awkward 21-year-old man, an Iowan woman at gunpoint.
It is “not one of those books in which an intrepid author travels behind enemy lines to complain about our common humanity,” writes Jennifer Szalai in a review. “One of the wonders of this angry book is how naughty and funny Lavin is; She refuses to gently pedal the monstrous views she encounters. “
Buy locally: Independent bookstores are asking readers for assistance. “If you want Amazon to be the only retailer in the world, keep shopping there,” an ad said.
Life after the test kitchen
In June, employees of the food publication Bon Appétit called for a discriminatory work environment where people of color were paid less than white workers in similar jobs. Several Bon Appétit stars have since announced that they will no longer appear on the brand’s popular YouTube videos.
Among the runs was Sohla El-Waylly, whose fans have created video montages dedicated to their skills. The controversy made it a “symbol of the overqualified and underpaid,” writes E. Alex Jung in a profile of the chef in Vulture. El-Waylly, who writes a cookbook and films her own web show, said, “It became increasingly frustrating to become a buddy for people who are significantly less experienced than me.”
Here’s today’s mini crossword and a clue: Lots of Modern Meetings (five letters).
You can find all of our puzzles here.
Thank you for spending part of your morning with The Times. Until tomorrow. – David
PSNYU’s Journalism Institute has selected the ten best journalistic works of the past decade. Three were from Times journalists; First place went to the Atlantic essay “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.