Coronavirus Cases, Portland, Erykah Badu: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. The number of coronavirus cases in parts of the U.S. “far exceeds the number of reported cases,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The number of infected people could be two to 13 times higher, according to the C.D.C.’s study, the largest of its kind to date. The findings suggest that large numbers of people who did not have symptoms or did not seek medical care may have kept the virus circulating. Above, a testing center in Miami.

The study highlights the need for much more testing to detect infection levels and contain viral spread in parts of the country. The study also indicates that hard-hit areas like New York City are nowhere near achieving herd immunity, when the spread of the virus would start to dwindle on its own.

President Trump, resuming his daily coronavirus briefings, appeared to pivot from his repeated insistence that the coronavirus would simply disappear. “It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,” he said. “Something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.”

2. The Justice Department accused a pair of Chinese hackers of trying to acquire vaccine research on behalf of their country’s intelligence service.

3. Backlash to the federal deployment of officers in Portland, Ore., continues to grow.

Protesters are infuriated by President Trump’s dark vision of Portland, which is heading into its 55th day of demonstrations against racist policing, as a lawless place filled with people who “hate our country.” The president plans to deploy federal law enforcement agents to Chicago and suggested that he would follow suit in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and other urban centers.

Some leaders in the Black community worry that what should be a moment for racial justice could be squandered by violence. The combative deployment of camouflaged federal agents has only made things worse.

4. Republicans are drawing up a $1 trillion relief plan that would beef up a popular federal loan program for small businesses and provide another round of direct payments to American families.

But Senator Mitch McConnell’s office signaled the package would not be ready until early August, after extra jobless aid, including a $600 weekly unemployment benefit, has lapsed for tens of millions of Americans. Without it, the U.S. risks a wave of evictions and other financial harm.

In Europe, leaders agreed to a 750 billion-euro spending package to rescue their economies.

The deal, worth roughly $860 billion, was notable for its firsts: European countries will raise large sums by selling bonds collectively, rather than individually; and much of that money will be handed out to countries hit hardest by the pandemic, like Italy. But there were quite a few concessions along the way, our correspondents write.


The move reverses the longstanding policy of counting everyone regardless of citizenship or legal status. A legal challenge is expected. Above, a census event in Dallas in June.

Joe Biden, for his part, laid out a sweeping $775 billion investment in caregiving programs to cover small children, older adults and family members with disabilities. His campaign hopes the move will have particular resonance given the caregiving needs of millions of American families during the coronavirus pandemic.

And in Congress, Democrats and activists want to restore the Voting Rights Act, which was largely undone by the Supreme Court seven years ago, and rename it after Representative John Lewis, who died on Friday. Republicans are opposed.


6. Russia has long tried to interfere in the British political system, and those efforts were ignored by several U.K. governments, a long-awaited report shows.

The report, by a parliamentary intelligence committee, examined Russia’s role in deepening conflict surrounding some of Britain’s most divisive political battles in recent years. It found that the government had shown little interest in investigating Russia’s efforts on the most consequential of those: the Brexit referendum.

“The outrage isn’t if there is interference,” said Kevan Jones, a Labour Party member of Parliament who served on the intelligence committee that released the report. “The outrage is no one wanted to know if there was interference.”


7. “Women should claim their place. I know if I spend a year here, it will make a difference.”

That’s Second Lt. Zala Zazai, above, a Kabul native serving in the police force in the eastern Afghanistan city of Khost. She is one of two women our reporter followed in their fight for acceptance in Afghanistan’s security forces.

Two decades after the Taliban banished women to their homes, the rise of a generation of educated, professional Afghan women is an undeniable sign of change. But the gains remain fragile, and every step is a battle.


8. It’s a given in the hospitality business that chefs show up for their own communities. Now they’re showing up for racial justice.

Pastry chefs and bakers have been transforming bake sales around the world into blockbuster political fund-raisers for a variety of causes. Latinx, Black and Asian women are dominating the space, including Dianna Daohueng, the head baker and partner at Black Seed Bagels in New York City, above. Bakers Against Racism, a global online bake sale, has raised $1.9 million for Black Lives Matter chapters and similar causes.

Also from our Food desk, an illustrated ode to Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauces. Her best-known recipe is the epitome of simplicity, but subtle changes in method yield completely different results.


9. Erykah Badu has never taken the conventional route. The pandemic only took that one step further.

When the coronavirus halted concerts, the iconoclastic neo-soul singer and songwriter started rethinking how she would produce, play and interact with fans at concerts. The result is her own interactive streaming network. And now she doesn’t even miss being on the road. “A little piece of me dies every time I have to leave my home,” she said.

Badu’s platform is just one way fans and artists are adapting to a new way of experiencing music together. Whether livestreaming will keep everyone satisfied — and paid — is still unclear.

10. And finally, craftsmanship at its best.

The finest Panama hats have over 4,000 weaves per square inch — it takes a jeweler’s loupe to count the rows of straw. And every single one of those weaves is done by hand. The result is a hat “creamy as silk, costlier by weight than gold, the color of fine old ivory,” writes Roff Smith, a photographer who visited the workshops of the artisans in Ecuador who make them.

There he met Simón Espinal, who is regarded by his peers as the greatest living weaver of Panama hats — possibly the greatest ever. In a good year, he’ll make three hats. “You cannot allow your mind to wander even for a second,” Mr. Espinal said. Take a peek inside Mr. Smith’s visit.

Have a superfine evening.


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