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Your Thursday Briefing


Early lockdowns allowed a lot of Central Europe to keep away from the widespread coronavirus infections that precipitated a lot devastation within the first wave of the pandemic. However now, from the Polish port metropolis of Gdansk on the Baltic to the traditional fortress city of Kotor on the Adriatic in Montenegro, the virus is moving across the region, setting new each day information for infections because the dying toll steadily ticks upward.

Hospital beds are filling up in Poland; docs in Hungary warn of an absence of medical staff; the authorities in Romania are struggling to trace new instances; and well being care staff are falling ailing in Bulgaria. The Czech Republic has the highest coronavirus transmission rates in Europe.

There may be specific concern in regards to the injury the virus might sow within the former Communist nations of Central Europe, a few of which have weak well being care techniques, important shortages of docs and nurses, and insufficient testing applications.

On the final day of questioning in Choose Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court docket affirmation hearings, the way forward for the Reasonably priced Care Act took heart stage.

Choose Barrett informed the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had no “animus” towards the well being care regulation nor an “agenda” to strike it down, regardless of President Trump’s acknowledged need that she accomplish that when the court docket hears a problem subsequent month. Our Supreme Court docket correspondent writes that at sure factors, the decide’s technical description appeared to argue in favor of leaving the A.C.A. intact. Read our highlights from the day.

G.O.P.: Republicans lauded the ascension of a conservative, religious decide. Senator Lindsey Graham praised her as “a girl who’s unashamedly pro-life and embraces her religion with out apology.”

The Upshot: Choose Barrett has embraced a “supermom” image that endears her to some People whereas elevating issues in regards to the role of working mothers amongst others.

Opinion: In Choose Barrett, our columnist Nicholas Kristof writes, Republicans are as soon as once more supporting a Supreme Court docket nominee who might take the U.S. backward.

Upstanding frills: Choose Barrett’s pumps and pearls assist to current the nominee as the alternative of an extremist, writes our chief fashion critic — and an extremist is, in fact, how the Democrats try to painting her.

In virtually any given spot in central London, you’re by no means too removed from a Pret A Manger store — if not two dozen. The sandwich and coffee chain has change into the go-to lunch spot for harried British workplace staff, seeping into cultural life with traditions like its Christmas sandwich and a policy that lets staff members give free espresso to individuals they like.

However with places of work abandoned due to the pandemic, Pret’s clients are nowhere to be seen. And what was previously its best benefit — its central London stronghold — has all of the sudden change into its greatest weak spot.

Now, the corporate is keen to strive virtually something to get again on its ft, together with promoting espresso beans on Amazon, transferring to supply and devising a special menu of hot evening meals, equivalent to a chipotle rooster burrito bowl​. You possibly can even get a espresso “subscription,” and the primary month is free. “If you’re in survival mode,” its chief govt stated, “you’ve received to strive issues.”

Quote: “I exist due to Pret’s oppressive ubiquity,” the satirical Albert-Camus-meets-Pret Twitter account @PretLEtranger posted final month. “There isn’t a want for me now.”

Farmers in Mexico armed with sticks, rocks and home made shields ambushed troopers and seized La Boquilla Dam, above, to cease water deliveries to the US. The farmers stated the Mexican authorities was sending water — their water — to Texas, leaving them with subsequent to nothing for his or her crops.

Our reporter appeared on the standoff pitting Mexican farmers towards their nation’s president and the superpower throughout the border. The struggle illustrates a growing conflict over increasingly scarce resources because of rising temperatures and lengthy droughts, which have been attributable to local weather change.

Golden Daybreak: An Athens court docket sentenced the leaders of the Greek neo-fascist occasion to 13 years in jail on Wednesday after declaring it a criminal organization final week, wrapping up one of the crucial vital political trials within the nation’s trendy historical past.

Soccer: A proposal to dramatically restructure the English Premier League was unanimously rejected by its members. Throughout the Channel, France’s soccer federation employed a guide to handle complaints about a toxic workplace culture. And the incoherence of British government regulations is on full show within the “lovely recreation,” writes our soccer correspondent.

BTS: South Korea’s most hotly anticipated preliminary public providing in years is centered on the Okay-pop famous person group and the $4 billion firm that manages it, Large Hit Leisure, which began trading in South Korea on Thursday.

Ikea concept: The Swedish furnishings retailer has began a world marketing campaign to buy back used furniture as a part of its efforts to fight local weather change and discourage extreme consumption.

Snapshot: Protesters in Bangkok on Wednesday, above, because the royal motorcade rolled by. After months of protests demanding reform, this was the first time that members of Thailand’s royal family had seen the frustration up close. The three-finger salute, taken from “The Starvation Video games,” has change into an emblem of the motion.

Lives Lived: Herbert Kretzmer, the London theater critic whose English-language lyrics for “Les Misérables” helped remodel a little-known French musical into one of many world’s most profitable theater productions, died at 95 on Wednesday.

What we’re studying: This Vice article on the rising attraction of desserts that aren’t too candy. “I’m hoping that is the long run,” writes Carole Landry of the Briefings workforce. “Let’s oppose the sugar bombs.”

Cook dinner: James Beard’s onion sandwich is contemporary and unfussy. Rolling the sting of the sandwich in chopped parsley provides it a retro styling contact, however it’s essential for taste, too.

Watch: The Netflix documentary “Blackpink: Light Up the Sky” is a quick however endearing introduction to the idolized Okay-pop lady group.

Dance: Older adults who have interaction in ballroom dancing, folks dancing and different dance kinds are much less more likely to fall than those that stroll or do different workout routines, researchers say. A powerful argument for a little bit of a boogie.

Allow us to aid you beat boredom with our At Home collection of ideas on what to learn, prepare dinner, watch and do whereas staying secure at residence.

Current case research through which individuals have been reinfected by the coronavirus — amongst them a 25-year-old man in Nevada and an 89-year-old woman in the Netherlands — have led to issues about repeat bouts of sickness. However these instances are very, very uncommon. Right here’s what you need to know.

Coronavirus reinfection is very uncommon. Greater than 38 million individuals worldwide have been contaminated with the virus, however fewer than 5 of these instances have been confirmed as reinfections. One virologist described it as “a microliter-sized drop within the bucket, in comparison with the variety of instances which have occurred all around the world.”

In most individuals, the immune system works as anticipated. Reinfections can happen for any variety of causes: as a result of the preliminary an infection was notably delicate, as a result of the immune system was in any other case compromised or as a result of the affected person had been uncovered to a considerable amount of the virus that seeded an an infection earlier than the immune response might take impact, to offer three examples.

The identical variability has been noticed in sufferers with ailments like measles and malaria, specialists stated.

A second set of signs doesn’t show reinfection. For each confirmed case, there are dozens of anecdotal experiences of contaminated individuals who have been sick and seemingly recovered however then grew to become ailing once more weeks or months later. A overwhelming majority of these instances are unlikely to be true reinfections. Extra possible, these are individuals experiencing a resurgence of signs related to the unique an infection.

That’s it for in the present day’s briefing. Thanks for becoming a member of me.

— Natasha

To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the information. You possibly can attain the workforce at [email protected].

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our newest episode is about Choose Amy Coney Barrett’s affirmation hearings.
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• Our govt editor, Dean Baquet, released a note in support of the Times Magazine’s 1619 Project.