Coronavirus, Gretchen Whitmer, Joe Biden: Your Friday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering the lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions in some states and a rare closing of New York’s subway, as well as looking ahead to a planned TV appearance by Joe Biden to discuss a sexual assault allegation.

Today’s briefing also represents a personal milestone, as it will be the last one I’m writing before moving on to a new assignment. Read more in the Back Story below.

As of today, more than a dozen states will have started to loosen restrictions that they imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Public health experts worry that reopening too soon could lead to a spike in infections that wouldn’t be detected for weeks.

In other developments:

  • New York City’s subway system — one of the few in the world that runs 24 hours a day — will shut overnight starting next week to provide more time for disinfection.

  • Today is Labor Day in many parts of the world, including China, where people who have spent months in lockdown rushed to book travel after Beijing said it would lift its quarantine requirements.

  • As Rome turned 2,773 last week, our bureau chief there reflected on the effects of the coronavirus, the latest chapter in the city’s turbulent history.

  • High school seniors are mourning the loss of year-end rituals, but at least one is alive and well: yearbook signing, though not with a pen.

The details: We’ve compiled expert guidance on several subjects, including health, money and travel.

“The Daily”: Today’s episode includes an interview with a woman who remembers her grandfather, one of the tens of thousands of Americans who have died from the virus.

Ramping up production of syringes and other medical products to deliver a coronavirus vaccine will be as important — and perhaps as difficult — as developing the vaccine itself.

“We’re thinking about the vaccine, but what if the vials it is stored in, or rubber stoppers in the vial or the plungers in the syringes become the constraint?” said Prashant Yadav, who studies health care supply chains.

Yesterday: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a national initiative to speed research that will help trace patterns of transmission, investigate outbreaks and map how the virus is evolving.

For more than a decade, the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico has been the center of the oil boom in the U.S., producing one of every three barrels in the country.

“We’ve had our ups and downs, even over the last 20 years, but this feels very different,” said Matthew Hale, the president of a pump truck and chemical services company. “We’re concerned about our industry, survival and what survival is going to look like.”

“The ability to generate activities by yourself for yourself, that is a real asset,” said Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University.

Support for Michael Flynn: President Trump renewed his attacks on the F.B.I. after lawyers for Mr. Flynn, the former national security adviser, cited newly unsealed documents as evidence of misconduct.

News quiz: Did you follow the headlines this week? Test yourself.

Modern Love: This week’s column is about making space in a marriage, by way of the Burning Man festival.

Late-night comedy: After weeks of doing their shows from home, the hosts are starting to feel the strain. “No one wants eternal lockdown,” Seth Meyers said. “If I see another of my friends holding up a janky loaf of homemade bread on Instagram I’m going to run outside and lick a banister.”

What we’re listening to: Oh, Hello: the P’dcast,” in which two comedians portray older New Yorkers whose many peculiarities include their diction. “These podcasts are bringing a lot of joy into our household,” writes Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor. “So good. We are now mispronouncing so many words.”

Cook: Samin Nosrat’s lasagna has delicate homemade pasta, rich béchamel and savory tomato sauce. If you’re out of mozzarella, Sam Sifton, our Food editor, has ideas about substitutions in his latest newsletter.

We’ve started an email newsletter, At Home, with our recommendations for what to read, cook, watch and do while staying inside. Sign up here.

I’ve written this briefing since March 2017, but I’m starting a new role with the Express desk, a group at The Times that covers breaking news and other stories, which has plans to expand to the newsroom here in London.

The past three years — particularly the last six weeks — have been an extraordinary time for news, and the Morning Briefing has been one of the most challenging and rewarding assignments I’ve had in a 25-year career in newspapers.

The challenge has come in condensing the incredible journalism that my colleagues around the world produce every day into a 1,400-word column. The briefing represents only an introduction to The Times, and one of my biggest regrets is leaving so much behind.

The reward has been serving as a guide to the news as the Morning Briefing has grown into one of the largest platforms at The Times. More than 17 million readers get this newsletter every day, and it’s a humbling responsibility that I’ve taken very seriously.

The briefing has long made a point of soliciting reader feedback, and it’s not an empty request: I read every email, and tried to respond to most. You have broadened my perspective and reminded me of a lesson I first learned in journalism school many years ago: Always keep an open mind.

Finally, everyone needs an editor. While you rarely see the names of my closest colleagues, they help make the briefing what it is, and you see their work — in words and in photos — every day: Anna Holland, Mark Walsh, Peter Robins, Tess Felder, Peter Sigal, Mona Boshnaq, Gaia Tripoli, Florian Choblet and Vivek Prakash. A special thanks, too, to my boss in New York, Andrea Kannapell.

Stay safe, stay strong, and thanks for reading The Times.

— Chris

Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode includes an interview with a woman who lost her grandfather to the coronavirus.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Game with nine rooms (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Adam Nossiter, our Paris bureau chief, is moving to Afghanistan to lead our reporting from Kabul. He will be joined by our correspondent Thomas Gibbons-Neff, who has been to Afghanistan repeatedly as a Times reporter and also served there as a Marine.

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