The world is learning to live with a deadly virus
China is testing restaurant workers and delivery drivers block by block. South Korea tells people to carry two types of masks for different risky social situations. Britain is targeting local outbreaks in a strategy that Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls “Whac-a-Mole.”
As mass infections strike even in places that had seemed to tame the coronavirus, officials are adjusting to the reality that the virus is here to stay. They are turning to targeted and fast-but-flexible approaches, rather than nationwide lockdowns, to stop third or fourth waves.
While the details differ, the strategies all require some mix of intensive tracking, lightning-fast response times, border management and constant reminders to their citizens.
Quotable: “It’s always going to be with us,” said Simon James Thornley, an epidemiologist from New Zealand. “I don’t think we can eliminate the virus long term. We are going to need to learn to live with the virus.”
How one French city acknowledges past slavery
The killing of George Floyd in police custody has invigorated the debate over Europe’s brutal, lucrative history in Africa, and has led to the recent toppling of statues of colonial-era figures.
Many European cities have preferred to remain silent about their ugly histories. But Bordeaux, France, has put up plaques to acknowledge and explain slavery, which financed the famed 18th-century facades that helped it become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Last year, a statue of Modeste Testas, an enslaved woman, was erected on the riverbank. This month, the city installed plaques on five streets named after prominent figures involved in the slave trade.
Context: The wealth behind the refined facade of much of Europe, the world’s most-visited tourist region, was generated by the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonization of the African continent. But decades after most African nations gained independence, there has been no complete reckoning with that history — one connected to enduring racism and fear of migration.
In the U.S.: The three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was shot dead after being chased in a neighborhood in Georgia, have been indicted on murder charges, the case’s prosecutor said on Wednesday.
Russia holds a mostly mask-free victory parade
Tens of thousands turned out for the annual celebration of Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany on Wednesday, despite the country’s unfinished battle with the coronavirus.
The military parade had been delayed for six weeks by the pandemic, but very few people, including aging veterans in their 80s and 90s, wore masks as they watched 14,000 troops march in tight formation.
President Vladimir Putin is hoping the Moscow parade, one of dozens, will help lift his approval ratings, which have sunk to their lowest level since he came to power 20 years ago.
Details: Though the outbreak is slowing, Russia is the world’s third hardest-hit country with nearly 600,000 cases.
If you have some time, this is worth it
What is owed
The masses who have taken to U.S. streets to protest against racism and police violence are multiracial and multigenerational, helping make this uprising feel different, writes Nikole Hannah-Jones in The Times Magazine.
But if black lives are to matter, the nation must pay reparations to black Americans for true justice to balance the assets that white people have accrued over generations: “Wealth, not income, is the means to security in America.”
Here’s what else is happening
Kosovo: President Hashim Thaci, a guerrilla leader during Kosovo’s battle with Serbia in the 1990s, was indicted on 10 counts of war crimes on Wednesday in a special court in the Netherlands. Prosecutors accused him and other former fighters of being “responsible for nearly 100 murders.”
In memoriam: Sergei Khrushchev, a former Soviet rocket scientist and the son of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier during the Cold War, died on June 18 at the age of 84.
Pakistan crash: The pilots of a Pakistani airliner that crashed last month in Karachi were busy talking about the coronavirus, and repeatedly ignored directions from air traffic controllers before their plane went down, killing 98 people, officials said Wednesday.
U.S. presidential election: Former Vice President Joe Biden has a 14-point lead on President Trump in the 2020 race, according to a new poll of voters by The New York Times and Siena College. The poll showed broad dissatisfaction with Mr. Trump’s handling of the pandemic and racial-justice protests.
Snapshot: With their colossal limestone walls and green valleys, Italy’s Dolomites showcase some of the world’s most majestic scenery. The photojournalist Monica Goya explored the World Heritage Site, above, on a hike last year.
Museums on TikTok: The Uffizi Gallery in Florence has begun sharing unusually irreverent videos on the social media site, hoping to transform its image from a dusty home of Renaissance art to a place for Italy’s teenagers to explore.
What we’re listening to: This episode of the podcast “Reply All.” Sanam Yar, of the newsletters team, writes: “This episode digs into the trend of black people across the U.S. receiving random, unsolicited Venmo payments from white acquaintances as a bizarre form of reparations.”
Now, a break from the news
Read: For almost a century, Christopher Nicolson’s family had fished for salmon in Alaska. Read how the pandemic has upended a family tradition and his source of income.
Do: Spending some of this season outside? We have apps to help with maps, trails, pit stops and pizza. Try a Duchenne smile, one that lights up the face, now that masks hide our mouths. And for kids in need of outdoor time, even a little goes a long way.
At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
A Russian family’s work in virology
Years ago, a married pair of Russian virologists tested the polio vaccine on their children, who all grew up and also became virologists. A side effect they found is now sparking hope for a defense against the coronavirus. Andrew Kramer, a correspondent in our Moscow bureau, talked to us about his reporting.
What did you learn from the Chumakov family?
When I talked to one of the brothers, Alexei, he mentioned that another brother was now experimenting with a polio vaccine on himself as a potential protective measure against the coronavirus. I had read about the tuberculosis vaccine that’s being tried as a so-called repurposed vaccine approach to the coronavirus. I started looking into the polio vaccine in that context, and it turns out there are also some very serious, established researchers in the United States who are backing this approach.
That convinced me that it was a serious scientific idea, and it was very tightly tangled up with the story of this family.
How would the polio vaccine work as a treatment for the coronavirus?
The idea is that a viral infection causes a reaction in the body and a release of something called interferons that interfere with viral replication. Before the immune system develops a specific antibody, there’s this innate immune system, researchers told me. If you have an active viral infection in your intestinal system, like polio virus, it would release all these interferons that interfere with the replication of other viruses.
Some viruses can have a beneficial effect on immunity, similar to the way that microbes in your gut are part of your natural healthy state.
Why did the Chumakov brothers decide to go into virology?
Another of the brothers, Peter, said when he was growing up, everyone around him was a scientist. He thought all adults were scientists. The story is a little window into a part of the Soviet Union that not a lot of people see: There was a large repressive police state, but there was also a lot of emphasis on science. Epidemiology and vaccine science were valued.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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