As cases surge, England prepares for “Freedom Day”
Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, strongly recommended that people keep wearing face masks in crowded, indoor spaces, even as he promised to remove most remaining virus-related restrictions in England next Monday.
“I cannot say this powerfully or emphatically enough,” he said. “This pandemic is not over. This disease, coronavirus, continues to carry risks for you and your family. We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday, 19 July, to life as it was before Covid.”
Despite the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the government believes that Britain’s vaccination program has weakened the link between cases and hospital admissions. The government has argued that it is better to lift restrictions over the summer, when the virus tends to spread more slowly and schools are on vacation.
By the numbers: Britain is recording around 30,000 cases a day, a number that the health secretary, Sajid Javid, said could climb to 100,000 during the summer. “Whether we like it or not, coronavirus is not going away,” he said.
Related: On questions of reopening, the theater impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber has become a surprising thorn in the British government’s side.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
The F.D.A. warned that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine can increase the risk for the rare neurological condition Guillain-Barré syndrome, though the shot’s benefits still far outweigh the dangers.
ECMO, a last-resort treatment that can mechanically substitute for badly damaged lungs, is in scarce supply, forcing doctors to make stark choices among patients.
Israel’s Ministry of Health authorized a third shot of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for people with compromised immune systems.
New Covid-19 cases in the U.S. have been rising for a week, driven mostly by the Delta variant. Here is the data for every state.
Haiti’s turmoil deepens
Haiti is feverishly searching for answers after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last week, while the public remains skeptical of official narratives. Here are live updates.
The police have arrested a Haitian-born doctor based in Florida, Christian Emmanuel Sanon. The national police chief indicated that he believed Sanon, 63, was plotting to assume the presidency, but offered no explanation for how the doctor could possibly have taken control of the government.
A university professor who met with the doctor said that he had spoken of being sent by God to take over the Haitian presidency. “He said the president would be resigning soon. He didn’t say why,” the professor, Michel Plancher, said. “He wanted to change French as an official language, and replace it with English. He seemed a bit crazy.”
Colombian connection: Haitian officials have also implicated at least 20 Colombians, describing them as centerpieces of a well-organized plan carried out by “foreign mercenaries.” Colombia is now investigating several trips that one of Moïse’s top security aides made to Bogotá in the months before the assassination.
Huge protests shake Cuba
The biggest protest movement in decades is sweeping Cuba, as thousands of citizens took to the streets on Sunday to protest power outages, food shortages and a worrying lack of medicine.
The island faces a dire economic crisis, as the coronavirus pandemic has cut off crucial tourism dollars. People wait in line for hours to buy food. Many have been unable to work, and families are growing desperate. The country, known for quashing dissent, has not experienced protests of this scale in nearly 30 years.
“I took to the streets because I’m tired of being hungry,” said Sara Naranjo, a demonstrator, in a video shared on Twitter. “I don’t have water, I don’t have anything,” she said. “You get bored, you get tired, we are going crazy.”
Cuban reaction: Cuba’s president, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, blamed its longstanding economic problems to the American trade embargo, which cuts off its access to financing and imports.
U.S. reaction: President Biden called on the Cuban government to heed the demonstrators’ demands. “We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom,” he said in a statement. Democrats and Republicans alike spoke out in support of the demonstrations.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
Another heat wave in the Western U.S. and Canada is fueling dozens of wildfires that have scorched over a million acres.
South Africa deployed its military to quell protests, which began over the arrest of a former president and have turned violent.
A Jordanian court sentenced two men close to King Abdullah II to 15 years in prison for trying to destabilize the monarchy.
Stories From Europe
People who have left Hong Kong for Britain say they feel less like refugees than trailblazers, eager to build a new home after watching their old one transform under Beijing.
E.U. officials agreed to postpone a proposal for a digital tax, removing a potential obstacle to a broader tax agreement that would usher in a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent.
England is dealing with an eruption of racism directed at Black players after its team’s loss in the Euro 2020 final. Meanwhile, fans and leaders in Europe took more than a little glee in denying post-Brexit England a chance for vindication.
A Morning Read
A treasure hunter in Poland has for the past 10 years used a metal detector to unearth relics of Europe’s bloody past, finding wreckage from Napoleon’s campaigns and World War II.
His most recent discovery — silver coins from the Viking era, above, minted by the medieval rulers of what is now France — has startled scholars and opened new questions about early trade and extortion.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Jane Goodall talks morality and hope
At 87, the primatologist, educator and activist Jane Goodall is staying hopeful and sharing reflections about ethics, political posturing and plodding on to make the world a better place.
Have you ever wondered if tapping into fear and anger might be useful in telling stories about the planet and conservation?
No. It’s one of my big complaints when I talk to the media: Yes, we absolutely need to know all the doom and gloom because we are approaching a crossroads, and if we don’t take action it could be too late. But traveling the world I’d see so many projects of restoration, animal and plant species being rescued from the brink of extinction, people tackling what seemed impossible and not giving up. Those are the stories that should have equal time, because they’re what gives people hope.
Are there ideas you have about conservation that you feel are too radical to express publicly?
Absolutely. I would never approach people about the crisis of billions of animals in the factory farms and say you’ve got to be vegan. People have to change gradually.
Are chimps capable of evil?
This is a very interesting philosophical conversation, and I’ve thought about it a lot. My definition is that only humans can be evil. Chimpanzees can be brutal, violent, aggressive. But my definition of evil, it’s when you can plan attacks on those who aren’t there and then carry them out in cold blood. Chimps don’t plan like that.
Read her interview with my colleague David Marchese here.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
In this summery dish, a bright yogurt sauce is topped with cucumbers marinated in a spicy oil.
What to Listen to
Funkadelic’s psychedelic bomb “Maggot Brain” is turning 50. Here’s an audio guide to the album.
World Through a Lens
See how life is changing for the people of Tibet and the surrounding Himalayan regions.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Garden statue with a pointy hat (five letters).
And here is today’s Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha
P.S. A hidden haiku from a Times interview with Jeanie Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers owner and standup comic: “These things happen and / you feel like you’re alone, but / people can relate.”
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on reparations in Evanston, Ill.
You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].
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