Reopening, Joe Biden, Antarctica: Your Thursday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. Federal stay-at-home guidelines are expiring today.

Still, more than 20 states will keep residents home to curb the coronavirus outbreak. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California ordered beaches in Orange County to close, including Newport Beach, seen above today. He’s considering shuttering all of them in the state.

New York remains closed, and in New York City, subways will halt late-night service so trains can be disinfected daily, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

As of Friday, more than a dozen states will have begun to partly reopen their economies and restart public life, despite warnings from public health experts. Governors in Alabama, Maine, Tennessee and Texas plan to let certain businesses reopen; more restrictions will also be lifted in Iowa, North Dakota and Wyoming. This map shows the state of every state.

2. Jobless claims now top more than 30 million in the U.S.

The number swelled again as 3.8 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, despite trillions of dollars in stimulus and relief spending. But economists say the job losses may be far worse than government tallies indicate, because the flood of unemployment claims is overwhelming many state agencies.

And yet, stocks on Wall Street defied the grim news, logging their sharpest monthly gain since 1987 as investors looked toward an eventual recovery.

3. Research teams have been screening thousands of existing drugs to see if they have unexpected potential to fight the coronavirus.

In a strategy known as drug repurposing, the researchers have tested the drugs on dishes of cells infected with the coronavirus, above, and a few dozen candidates have made the first cut. Some drugs have been around for years to treat conditions like cancer, allergies, arthritis, even irregular menstrual periods. Remdesivir, an antiviral, is among them.

“I’m going to be brutally honest with you; 95 to 98 percent of these are going to fail,” said one virologist. “But we only need one or two.”

Scientists expect treatments to emerge long before a vaccine is ready. Times Opinion asked specialists what it would take to produce a vaccine in the next few months instead of years. Here’s how they see achieving the impossible.

The news came after weeks of silence on the issue during which Republicans have expanded their attacks against Mr. Biden to charge a swath of Democrats with hypocrisy. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, above today at her weekly news conference, tried to calm anxious Democrats by rallying behind Mr. Biden, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Mr. Biden will discuss the allegation on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” according to a Twitter post from the network. The show runs from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Eastern.

So far only Fox has booked Ms. Reade for an on-air interview, our media columnist Ben Smith writes, and he says other networks’ decisions on whether and how they cover her have less to do with how she is viewed “than they do for how Americans view the media.”

5. Some countries are reporting remarkable milestones: no new coronavirus cases.

Among them are South Korea, above, which has reported no new domestic cases since Feb. 29 and just four among people who came in from outside the country. Hong Kong has reported no new cases for five straight days. Australia and New Zealand are also on similar paths.

But by the end of the year, experts say, the wave of unemployment brought by virus lockdowns could help send at least half a billion people into destitution, increasing global poverty for the first time since 1998.

6. New York’s system for caring for the dead has hit its limit.

With more than 18,000 announced coronavirus fatalities and an actual toll that is almost certainly higher, refrigerated trailers are serving as temporary morgues; cemeteries are scrambling; and some hospitals have run out of body bags. And for the bereaved, the overload has turned the act of mourning on its heels.

7. An unprecedented plunge in fossil fuel use, driven by the Covid-19 crisis, is likely to lead to a nearly 8 percent drop in global emissions of greenhouse gases this year, according to new research.

But emissions could easily soar again unless governments include clean energy as part of their economic recovery efforts.

And data from a new satellite offers the most precise picture yet of Antarctica’s melting landscape.

The information, published in the journal Science, shows where the continent’s ice is accumulating most quickly and disappearing at the fastest rate, and how the changes could contribute to rising sea levels.

8. With no new movies to sift through, our critic-at-large Wesley Morris is looking at old ones in a new retro box office column.

Two decades ago, the box office glittered with movie stars. Now it’s all about the franchise. Take the week of April 19, 2002: That’s when Dwayne Johnson went from wrestler to leading man, thanks to “The Scorpion King.”

“We used to rely on these people to shine in anything — gold or crap, in January, December or July,” he writes. “That weekend was loaded with stars in the good and godawful but mostly the so-so.”

If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, “Parks and Recreation” is returning for a reunion special to benefit Feeding America (NBC, 8:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific). Here’s where things left off.

9. How will TikTok change the future of dance?

The app has become a wildly popular global platform for dance, especially among teenagers. But with more time on their hands, TikTok has caught on with a growing contingent of professional, more seasoned dancers. And they’re loving it.

10. And finally, new month, new books.

On the eve of May, our editors selected 11 titles to watch for in the coming weeks. Among them are a prequel to “The Hunger Games,” a love letter to French cooking, and a novel by Curtis Sittenfeld that reimagines Hillary Clinton’s life.

In quarantine, people are inadvertently exposing their reading habits — embarrassing, surprising and impressive. That includes celebrities speaking on television in front of their home libraries. We examined the book backdrops of Cate Blanchett, Prince Charles, Jane Goodall and more.

Have a page-turning night.


Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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