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China’s Vaccine, TikTok, Pakistan Stock Exchange: Your Tuesday Briefing

Jessica Bennett, who covers gender and culture for The Times, spoke with Zee, Tiana Day, Shayla Turner and Brianna Chandler — four teenage girls who organized a protest and are part of the young generation at the forefront of activism for racial justice.

Zee and Tiana, neither of you had ever led a protest before. What propelled you?

Zee: It’s crazy. I’ve never been to a protest before — like, ever. I got inspired by what people were doing all across America, but there was no protest in Nashville at the time. I was like, why isn’t Tennessee doing anything? Why are they silent?

So I was like, enough is enough. We’re going to do something.

Tiana: For me, I was never really an activist before. But this movement lit a fire in me. I live in San Ramon, a suburban town in California, and I’ve grown up around people who didn’t look like me my whole life. And I’ve been constantly trying to fit in. I would stay out of the sun so I wouldn’t tan. I would straighten my hair every day. There’s so many things that I did to try to suppress who I was and what my culture was. I just never felt like myself.

But I have always had this, like, boiling thing, this boiling passion in my body to want to make a change in the world. We bought three cases of water because we thought it was enough. It was, like, four miles straight of people who were there to support the movement.

How have your families responded?

Shayla: My mom actually found out I was protesting through the newspaper. She was in Walgreens and did a double take because I was on the cover of the The Chicago Tribune.

What’s something about your generation that people get wrong?

Brianna: That our anger is not valid, that we don’t have a reason to be angry, that we don’t have a reason to riot. You know, there is that super popular Malcolm X quote: “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.”

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina

Thank you
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.” Our latest episode is about proposals to defund the police, with a conversation with a police union leader.
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• The writer Kevin Powell discussed his New York Times essay “A Letter From Father to Child” on NPR’s Morning Edition.

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Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking today at the White House coronavirus task force briefing for the first time in nearly two months, warned that outbreaks in the South and West are threatening to engulf the country.

Experts have estimated that at least 500,000 tests need to be conducted daily for the U.S. to reopen. But months into the pandemic, many of the issues that plagued early testing efforts remain.

The situation is particularly dire in hot spots like Arizona. At some testing sites in Phoenix demand has far exceeded capacity, with officials sometimes turning away half of the people who show up. And surges can happen in a matter of days, making preparation nearly impossible.

It’s not just testing kits that are running short in hard-hit areas. Some labs don’t have enough machines and staff to run them, and they face both domestic and international competition for supplies. The fragmented lab system in the U.S. also adds to the bottleneck: Last Friday alone, Arizona’s largest medical lab received 12,000 samples — twice the number it could process in one day.

But one strategy — pool testing — may help alleviate the backlog by running many samples at once. If all of the pooled samples come back negative, everyone in that group can be considered virus-free. If a pool gets a positive result, each sample must then be tested individually.

In an interview on Thursday, Dr. Fauci said officials were intensely discussing a shift to this approach, which has already been used in states like Nebraska and Tennessee and in several countries, including Germany. Research has found that pool testing is particularly effective in areas where the infection rate is under 30 percent.

After months indoors, many leisure-seeking Americans with means have decided that it’s time to quarancheat — that is, to let loose (within reason) and take a proper summer break (close by and socially distanced, of course).

That may mean dining al fresco at a restaurant, or renting a house by a lake, or taking a day trip to frolic in nature. But for many quarancheaters, a break during the pandemic can also be fraught with anxiety. Should I disinfect the kayak? Is this playground virus-free? Are my quarantine pod-mates lying about social distancing?

For parents, who are bracing for a summer without school or regular activities, the pressure to entertain and educate children — while working and keeping everyone safe — can often feel debilitating, and sometimes, impossible. A recent survey found that a majority of parents would agree that they “have no idea how they are going to keep their child occupied all summer.”

If you’re looking for guidance — or just a way to commiserate — The Times spoke to eight burned-out families about how they’re hoping to fill their children’s summer days, and keep their sanity.

Infections among Latinos have far outpaced the rest of the U.S. In the last two weeks, counties where at least a quarter of the population is Latino have recorded a 32 percent increase in new cases, compared with a 15 percent increase for all other counties, a Times analysis shows.

In North Carolina, Latinos make up 10 percent of the population, but 46 percent of infections. In Wisconsin, they’re 7 percent of the population and 33 percent of cases. In Santa Cruz County, which has Arizona’s highest rate of cases, the Hispanic share of the population is 84 percent.

  • Updated June 24, 2020

    • Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?

      A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

    • I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

      The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

    • What is pandemic paid leave?

      The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

Health officials say the disparity is due in part to the millions of Latino workers who reported to essential jobs — as farm hands, hospital orderlies, food preparers and supermarket workers — while much of the country sheltered inside their homes.

  • A federal judge ruled that houses of worship in New York City can hold indoor services at 50 percent capacity, rather than the 25 percent allowed under the state’s reopening plan.

  • In Illinois, where Gov. J.B. Pritzker described a “trajectory of relative success,” museums, zoos and bowling alleys reopened today, along with indoor dining at restaurants.

  • In South Africa which has over 118,000 cases, the most in Africa — casinos, restaurants and cinemas will be allowed to reopen on Monday.

  • Starting on Saturday in Egypt, restaurants, cafes and mosques will gradually reopen after three months of lockdown.

  • During a heat wave in Britain, tens of thousands of people packed beaches, swarmed parks and attacked police officers who tried to break up block parties.

Here’s a roundup of restrictions in all 50 states.

  • Most of the 121 cruise ships that entered U.S. waters after March 1 had Covid-19 cases on board, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • A Russian hacking group has targeted Americans working from home during the pandemic, showing up in corporate networks with sophisticated ransomware.

  • There has been a surge in demand for underground bunkers as some people try to prepare for the next local or global crisis.

  • Casual-dining chains like Applebee’s are rethinking safety protocols and food for diners who fear the virus.

  • Costco’s half-sheet cakes appear to be the latest casualty of the pandemic — and customers are not happy.

  • And finally, some heartwarming news: Giving has surged across the U.S. during the coronavirus crisis, surpassing donations during the 2008 recession and after 9/11, two studies found.

Students are missing out on so many things as a result of social distancing and remote learning. I wanted my kids to be able to get their yearbooks signed by friends and family so I developed a website where they can do it all online.

— Kevin Malover, Wilmette, Ill.

Let us know how you’re dealing with the outbreak. Send us a response here, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.

Sign up here to get the briefing by email.

Tom Wright-Piersanti contributed to today’s newsletter.

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Fact check: Trump falsely describes his travel history during briefing with more inaccuracies

Trump’s laughably obvious false claim about his travels was one of several false claims at his White House coronavirus briefing on Monday.

Though numerous Republicans and independent experts have emphasized the importance of a major increase in coronavirus testing, Trump claimed that talk about testing is “not bipartisan” and is happening to try to damage him politically. He also repeated his usual inaccurate claim that he had banned travel from China and Europe, his usual exaggerated figure for the past US trade deficit with China and his usual erroneous description of a comment from President Barack Obama about manufacturing jobs.

Trump claimed people are talking about the need for more coronavirus testing because they want to damage him politically, paraphrasing their supposed thoughts as follows: “‘Testing, testing. Oh, we’ll get him on testing.'”

Later, asked why he sees the bipartisan outcry over testing as a personal attack, Trump said, “It’s not bipartisan. It’s mostly partisan.”

Facts First: Concerns about testing are indeed bipartisan. The Republican governors of Ohio, Nebraska, Maryland and Massachusetts, Republican Senate health committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander and other Republicans have all spoken in the last week about challenges obtaining testing materials or the need for more testing. Experts outside of government have emphasized that a major increase in testing is essential if the country is to safely lift social and economic restrictions.
Among the many people who have said that far more testing is needed for an optimal reopening of the country are Trump’s own former Food and Drug Administration chief, Dr. Scott Gottlieb; professors at Harvard University and numerous other academic institutions; and corporate executives who directly conveyed their message to Trump on a phone call last week.
Experts have also been widely critical of the speed at which tests were initially deployed, saying that the US missed a chance to slow the spread of the virus.

Trump’s travels

During an exchange with “PBS NewsHour” White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, Trump claimed he hadn’t “left the White House in months” except to send off the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship sent from Virginia to aid New York.

When Alcindor reminded him that he had campaign rallies in February and March, he suggested he couldn’t recall doing so.

Alcindor: “You held rallies in February and in March and there are some Americans …”

Trump: “Oh, I don’t know about rallies. I really don’t know about rallies.”

Alcindor: (Partly inaudible, but she again mentioned his February rallies.)

Trump: “I know one thing. I haven’t left the White House in months except for a brief moment to give a wonderful ship, the Comfort.”

Alcindor: “You held a rally in March.”

Trump: “I don’t know. Did I hold a rally? I’m sorry. I hold a rally. Did I hold a rally? Let me tell you, in January, when I did this, we had virtually no cases and no deaths.”

Facts First: Alcindor was correct: Trump held five campaign rallies in February and one on March 2. He left the White House on several occasions in March.
After the campaign’s last rally on March 2, Trump continued to travel, albeit not frequently. On March 6, he visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta, stopping on the way in Tennessee after a tornado killed 25 people. He then spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club and residence in Florida. He visited the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington on March 19. As he said, he also left the White House on March 28 to send off the Comfort.

Travel restrictions

The President again pushed back against criticism of his administration’s response to coronavirus by touting travel restrictions he announced at the end of January and in mid-March.

Trump said: “We put on a ban of China where China can’t come in and before March we put on a ban on Europe where Europe can’t come in, so how could you say I wasn’t taking it seriously?”

Facts First: The travel restrictions Trump announced against China and Europe are not total bans; they contain multiple exemptions. Only foreign nationals who had been in China, Europe’s Schengen area, the UK or Ireland within the past 14 days are outright banned from entering the US.

As of February 2, US citizens who had been in China’s Hubei province in the two weeks prior to their return to the United States are subject to a mandatory quarantine of up to 14 days upon their return to the US. American citizens returning from the rest of mainland China may also face up to 14 days of quarantine after undergoing health screenings at selected ports of entry.
The broader European travel suspension Trump announced on March 11 applied to the 26 countries in the Schengen area, a European zone in which people can move freely across internal borders without being subjected to border checks. While Trump initially identified the United Kingdom as exempt, additional countries that are not in the Schengen area and thus also exempt from the restrictions include Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Armenia, Montenegro, Belarus and Russia. As of March 14, the ban was expanded to include foreign nationals traveling from UK and Ireland.

The restrictions also did not apply to US citizens returning from Europe as well as permanent US residents and certain family members of both citizens and permanent residents.

You can read more about the European travel restrictions here.

Trade deficit with China

When pressed about ongoing issues with the country’s coronavirus response, Trump repeated several other falsehoods he’s made previously on topics unrelated to the pandemic in an attempt to illustrate his successes as President.

Trump said that the US used to have a $500 billion trade deficit with China, citing this figure as evidence of how he believes the US has been taken advantage of economically under previous administrations. Trump claimed before he took office, China “came in and they took $500 billion a year for many years, anywhere from $200 (billion) to $550 billion a year out of our hides.”

Facts First: There has never been a $500 billion or $550 billion trade deficit with China. (Trump describes trade deficits as “losing,” though many economists dispute that characterization.) The 2018 deficit was $381 billion when counting goods and services, $420 billion when counting goods alone.

What Obama said about manufacturing

While bemoaning the recent coronavirus-induced economic downturn, the President talked about how his administration “built the greatest economy in the history of the world.” According to Trump, the US economy was the greatest based on a variety of metrics including manufacturing numbers, despite the fact that “the previous administration said manufacturing was dead for our country.”

Facts First: Trump’s comments appeared to refer to a remark Obama made at a PBS town hall in 2016 — but he was inaccurately describing what Obama had said.

Obama scoffed at Trump’s promises to bring back what Obama called “jobs of the past” without providing specifics on how he would do so. Contrary to Trump’s claims, though, Obama didn’t say manufacturing was dead or that new manufacturing jobs could not be created; Obama boasted of how many manufacturing jobs were being created during his presidency, saying, “We actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today than we’ve had in most of our history.”

A quote from Andrew Cuomo

Discussing states’ testing capacities, Trump referred to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying at a news conference earlier Monday that the President was correct in his assertion that states should take the lead on testing.

Trump went on to quote Cuomo’s remarks: “The President is right. The states’ testing is up to the states, which will implement the tests and logistically coordinate the tests.”

Trump continued quoting Cuomo: “The President is right when he says that the states should lead” on testing.

Facts First: Trump correctly quoted Cuomo’s remarks about states taking the lead on testing. Cuomo did add later, though, that the federal government could play a larger role in helping states resolve testing supply-chain issues with national manufacturers. “The national manufacturers say they have supply chain issues. I’d like the federal government to help on those supply chain issues,” Cuomo said during the news conference.

This comes amid increased tensions between Trump and governors of both parties over the role the federal government should play in helping states access critical supplies needed for coronavirus testing.
Here’s what Trump said: “I want to draw your attention to Governor Cuomo’s remarks during his press conference today. He said, ‘The President is right, the states’ testing is up to the states to do, which will implement the tests and logistically coordinate the tests. We have about 300 labs in New York’ and they do — they’re great labs, actually. ‘It’s my job to coordinate those 300 labs. I think the President is right when he says that the states should lead.’ ”
Here is what Cuomo said: “The President is right. The states — testing is up to the states which will implement the tests and logistically coordinate the tests. For example, in this state, I should make the determinations as to what labs participate in testing. We have about 300 labs in New York. It’s my job to coordinate those 300 labs — which ones should do this, which ones should not, how do I decide what labs work where. They’re regulated by the states, these labs. So how many labs do I have work in Suffolk, how many labs do I have work in Nassau, how many labs do I have work in Buffalo? How many tests can I get done in total? How do I allocate those tests? How many antibody tests, different type of test, antibody tests can I get from those labs? How do I allocate the antibody tests? That’s all within the state purview. So I think the President is right when he says the states should lead, and that’s the states leading. What the states will run into is when you talk to those labs, the 300 labs, they buy machines and equipment from national manufacturers. And those labs can only run as many tests as the national manufacturers provide them chemicals, reagents and lab kits. The national manufacturers say they have supply chain issues. I’d like the federal government to help on those supply chain issues.”

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