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Beirut, Coronavirus, TikTok Restrictions: Your Friday Briefing

2020-08-07 05:03:46

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Good morning.

We’re covering growing anger in Beirut, the virus surging in Germany and France, and new restrictions on TikTok and WeChat in the U.S.

International rescue teams arrived in Beirut on Thursday as the nation entered a period of official mourning over the huge explosion that brought the Lebanese capital to its knees.

France reported 1,695 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, and Germany reported more than 1,000 on Thursday — higher numbers than either had seen in months. Other Western European countries, including Spain and Belgium, are also facing surges.

Some health experts said Germans were becoming lax about upholding social-distancing and mask-wearing requirements, and a French scientific panel warned that a second wave of infections by fall was “highly possible,” urging cities to prepare for new lockdowns.

Still, the European surges are not on the level of U.S. spikes.

Britain: More than nine million people have been furloughed and 2.8 million have filed unemployment claims since the pandemic began. With fields like hospitality and live entertainment uncertain, some have a dilemma: Wait for business to pick up, or try a new livelihood?

Covid symptoms: These days, every cough, sneeze or headache makes you wonder. Here’s a guide to help you understand the symptoms, and this interactive graphic illustrates how the disease can affect the body from head to toe.

In other news:

  • Italy threatened to suspend Ryanair flights, saying that the low-cost Irish carrier had repeatedly violated safety measures imposed by the government to contain the coronavirus. The company hit back, saying that it had complied.

  • Uber said on Thursday that its revenue in the second quarter dropped 29 percent, to $2.2 billion, from a year ago, as the ride-hailing giant deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

Snapshot: Above, street art in New York City. Our critic talks about why the political realities such works reveal are tied to paintings on grotto walls, drawn 17,000 years ago, from the caves of Lascaux, France.

European soccer: For months, Barcelona paid the finest player Turkey has ever produced, Arda Turna, not to play. Our soccer correspondent explores what happened.

What we’re reading: This article from The Los Angeles Times on the story of Bruce’s Beach. “This look at what happened to a beach popular with Black residents back in the day — in one of the whitest towns in Los Angeles — tells so much about the struggle for Black people to even enjoy themselves,” writes Randy Archibold, our sports editor.

How did you select which cities or countries to spotlight?

Somini: I have seen over the last couple of years the impact of what is truly a global problem. Global warming is not equal — the problem of warming and extreme heat is really felt by people who are already the most vulnerable, not just because it gets super hot where they live but because they’re already vulnerable in other ways: They may be in poor health, they may be farmers who depend entirely on the rains and so a little change in rainfall or extremely hot dry periods affect them, and because they may not be able to afford the most basic luxury to cope with the heat, like having enough water or electricity around the clock so they can turn on a fan, let alone having access to air-conditioning.

I wanted to show what’s happening now. It’s certainly projected to get worse in the future, but people are dealing with unbearably hot and humid conditions right now.

Was there any research that really stuck out?

One study said episodes of extreme heat and levels the human body cannot tolerate have more than doubled in frequency since 1979. South Asia and the southeastern coast of the U.S. have been hardest hit by this already.

People can often look at climate news and feel helpless. What sort of actionable things were experts saying could be done?

Draw down the combustion of fossil fuels. The world is capable of getting off coal in many instances, capable of vastly reducing the burning of oil and gas. The world also has to adjust to the extreme heat we’re seeing already.

It means expanding access to ways to cool down, whether that’s access to air conditioners or fans or more trees to bring down temperatures in the city, access to water. It could also mean adjusting things you might not immediately think of, like labor laws so people don’t have to work for hours under the blistering sun, agricultural changes in farming methods, or what is grown in what place to adapt to higher temperatures and longer dry seasons.

In short, it requires doing everything pretty differently.

That’s it for this briefing. I loved these five-minute stress resets. See you next time.

— Isabella

Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. Sanam Yar wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at
[email protected].

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is a conversation with one of our correspondents in Beirut, who was injured in the huge explosion at the city’s port on Tuesday.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Make a mistake (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• “Dominic Fike, at First,” a new Times documentary on the making of a pop star, premieres today on FX and Hulu.


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