A new phase in the coronavirus epidemic
The virus reached Latin America, Germany and Pakistan, as the number of new infections outside China outpaced those inside the country for the first time. Here are the latest updates.
The news was set against the backdrop of Carnival crowds around the world threatening to spread the disease. That was especially true in Brazil, home to Latin America’s first case, where the hugely popular celebration brings tons of people into the streets.
Global hot spots: Many of the cases in Germany can no longer be traced to the virus’s original source in China — a harbinger for how difficult it will be to trace infections as the virus spreads.
South Korea reported 284 new cases, the largest single-day jump so far, as authorities finished testing members of a secretive church in Daegu. Iran’s leaders played down its cases, now at 139.
Unexpected consequences: Carbon emissions are down sharply since the outbreak began.
Inside the outbreak: Nurses on the front lines of the outbreak have gotten used to difficult working conditions, like wearing stiff protection suits they sweat through each day. At one hospital, the breaking point for many women was an inability to get basic supplies like pads and tampons.
How to prepare for the coronavirus:
Get a flu vaccine, have a plan for caring for elderly relatives and bookmark the website of your local health department. Here are other expert tips.
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‘They want to uproot us’
Muslims are abandoning their homes in areas around New Delhi, where deadly sectarian street clashes have erupted since Sunday. The death toll is now more than 20, including both Muslims and Hindus.
Affected neighborhoods were quieter on Wednesday, but for many, it was too late. Muslim homes, shops and places of worship have been reduced to ashes, and witnesses say the police often failed to act.
Much of the blame for the violence is falling on Kapil Mishra, a local politician from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party who threatened to mobilize a mob on Sunday to clear out protesters who were demonstrating against a contentious new citizenship law. That night, groups of Hindu and Muslim men began throwing rocks at each other, which led to wider violence.
If you have 6 minutes, this is worth it
Escaping violence, in prison
Violence against women is rampant in Afghanistan, and there are few legal consequences for abusers. One women’s prison in Herat city houses many women who felt that murdering their husbands was the only way to escape their abusive marriages.
In the facility, which is also run and staffed by women, many found some semblance of peace, and said they felt freer in prison than they had in their marriages.
Here’s what else is happening
Germany: The country’s highest court overturned a ban on organized medically assisted suicide, an issue with special resonance in a country where Nazi doctors euthanized hundreds of thousands during World War II.
Maria Sharapova: The Russian tennis star, 32, announced her retirement. The five-time Grand Slam winner had been worn down by injuries after a suspension for using a banned substance.
Snapshot: Above, tourists in the South Shetland Islands. Tourism in Antarctica is booming — with visitor numbers this austral summer expected to rise by nearly 40 percent from last season. But in this remote part of the world, people are asking whether such rapid growth will imperil visitor safety and damage the environment.
What we’re reading: This Vulture article about the rise of corporate speak. “Molly Young puts into plain but excellent words everything I feel and believe about corporate jargon,” says Pamela Paul, our Books editor.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This soothing vegetable soup comes together in about an hour.
Read: “The Mirror and the Light” concludes Hilary Mantel’s Tudor trilogy with the fall of its protagonist, Thomas Cromwell. Here’s our review.
Watch: The Netflix series “I Am Not Okay With This” has familiar teen angst and superhero stories, but distinguishes itself with superpowered performances and a commitment to the young-adult genre.
Smarter Living: Settling into a new home can be overwhelming. Here are some simple steps to take first.
And now for the Back Story on …
Cracks in the propaganda machine
Li Yuan, our New New World columnist, wrote about rare public dissent in China as people grow increasingly frustrated with the government’s response to the coronavirus. I talked to her about her story.
Walk us through the origins of this backlash.
From that night on, it seems to me there has been a tug of war between the online population — the public — and the propaganda machine. The online revolt was something I had never seen before. I had never seen something so unanimous — people sad and angry at the same time. People saw themselves in him.
What was the shift that happened at that moment?
There are more people willing to speak out. Especially young people, they’re really organizing themselves. I was stunned to find that so many people were just so outspoken, laughing at how ridiculous the party was in trying to spin the huge national disaster into something positive. One blog post was headlined: “News Coverage Should Stop Turning a Funeral Into a Wedding.”
I took so many screenshots — because posts can disappear in like a minute. Everybody takes a lot of screenshots, and people figured out how to build an online archive of media articles, social media posts and videos outside the Chinese internet, because it’s censored. They want to keep records of this collective memory. That feels quite unprecedented.
Is there still a fear of censorship or punishment?
Everybody is fearful. I would say it’s very hard not to live in fear in China.
Why isn’t the messaging working this time?
I don’t think there has ever been any event that has affected 1.4 billion people. Everybody has to at least stay at home, not go out, try to find masks. Many people have this question: “Why didn’t we know this before, why didn’t the government tell us earlier?”
People are frustrated. They also read so many heartbreaking stories and watched so many videos and they are just really sad. The party came out like, “Oh, these medical workers are so brave — let’s celebrate our unity.” Many people are like, “I don’t want to do that right now.” I don’t think many people are in the mood of celebrating.
What will the Communist Party do now?
Since Dr. Li’s death, they really enhanced the censorship. They’re sending out a very clear message: We don’t want you to talk about the negative effects of this outbreak.
Eventually, the government will win probably because it’s just too powerful. At the same time, I don’t think we should underestimate the anger, frustration and resilience of the Chinese people, especially the young people.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected]
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