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Vaccine, U.S.-China, Mars: Your Thursday Briefing

2020-07-23 05:27:57

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Good morning.

We’re covering a $2 billion U.S. contract for a potential vaccine, escalating U.S.-China hostilities and the summer of Mars.

No vaccine has yet been developed, and it is not clear whether the Pfizer version will work. But if the vaccine being produced by Pfizer and BioNTech proves to be safe and effective in clinical trials, the companies say they could manufacture those first 100 million doses by the end of the year.

The contract is part of the White House’s effort to drastically shorten the time to manufacture and distribute a working vaccine. Europe has a parallel effort underway.

In other virus developments:

Here are the latest updates and maps tracking the pandemic.

China vowed to retaliate after the U.S. abruptly ordered Beijing to close its consulate in Houston and accused diplomats of aiding economic espionage and the attempted theft of scientific research. The Chinese denied the allegations and called the closure illegal.

What we’re reading: This commentary in MEL on the lip-biting selfies of Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of “Hamilton.” Taylor Lorenz, a Styles reporter, calls it “an astute critique of the lip bite as a selfie pose and a great explanation of a meme that’s become inescapable on TikTok this week. And yes, there’s already a Lin-Manuel Miranda lip-bite face mask.”

Cook: This sheet-pan fish with chard and spicy red pepper relish combines a piquant, fiery relish with a tender white fish and leafy greens for an easy meal.

Watch: A soundstage production from Erykah Badu and a Norah Jones “mini-concert” are on our list of the best virtual concerts online.

Read: The latest crop of horror fiction includes “Malorie” — Josh Malerman’s sequel to “Bird Box” — as well as “Mexican Gothic,” “Wonderland” and more.

We may be venturing outside, but we’re still spending lots of time indoors. At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do to make it fun.

For adults, the pandemic upended life. But children are adaptable. Our Parenting site took a look at how kids are making the coronavirus part of playtime. Here’s an edited excerpt:

Nicole Campoy Jackson said her 4-year-old son, Finn, was planning what he calls a “Goodbye Germs” party, an all-out celebration of when the pandemic has passed. “We have our menu. He wants to have pizza. And anytime I get something new that’s really good,” said Ms. Jackson, who lives in Santa Monica, Calif., “if it’s something delicious, he’ll say ‘Oh, we gotta save this for the ‘Goodbye Germs’ party.’”

Finn and his mother also pass the time — and these days, there’s a lot of it — by doing what we all want to do from time to time: closing the windows and screaming at the top of their lungs. “We get really loud and angry and we point to a window and yell, ‘Germs, you get outta here!’” Ms. Jackson said.

Taking out frustrations about the virus by incorporating it into a make-believe world is something Jacob Krantz, 3, and his mother, Jessica, have also embraced. The two recently joined forces as The Incredibles — mother as Elastigirl, son as Dash — attacking a supervillain known as the coronavirus.

“That day, just out of the blue, he was like, ‘Let’s go save the world, we’re going to kill coronavirus,’” Ms. Krantz said. Jacob announced his plans by saying, “First we kill the virus, then we kill the germs, then we kill the colds.”

Sandra Russ, a professor and psychologist, said studies had shown children in pediatric hospitals who incorporate their experience into play — by performing “surgery” on their stuffed animals, for example — experience less anxiety than those who do not.

“For most kids, this is a healthy and normal way for them to deal with scary things that are going on in their world,” she said. “This is the new monster.”

That’s it for this briefing. Need a good book? Zadie Smith’s latest is a slim collections of essays. See you next time.

— Victoria

Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at
[email protected].

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the plans to reopen schools in the U.S.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Blow smoke (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The New York Times named Meredith Kopit Levien, chief operating officer, as its next chief executive, succeeding Mark Thompson.


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