Coronavirus, Masks, Wildlife Safari: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

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Credit…Kevin Hagen for The New York Times

1. Between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus in the next several months as it ravages the country, according to models developed by top government scientists.

Their projections generally match the grim conclusions from similar models by researchers around the globe. It was the first time that the Trump administration provided official estimates of the toll the virus could take. Above, outside Elmhurst Hospital in Queens on Tuesday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the coronavirus response, emphasized the need for the current 30-day social distancing mitigation guidelines, in place through April, to stem the spread.

2. Americans may soon be advised to wear a mask, even if they feel healthy, to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is revisiting its guidelines after new data showed high transmission rates from people who are infected but initially show no symptoms. Under the agency’s current guidance, only the sick need to wear masks.

But there are concerns that changing the recommendations could lead to even worse shortages of medical masks for health care workers.

Want to make your own? We have a step-by-step guide for sewing one using common household materials.

3. What happens when the number of coronavirus patients exceeds the available space in hospital intensive care units? It depends on where you live.

Our reporters reviewed triage strategy documents in a variety of states. Almost all of the plans give priority to otherwise healthy people who are most likely to fully recover. But the plans struggle to address a range of ethical and social equality issues.

Meanwhile, hospitals are seeing extraordinary tension between health care providers and administrators. Some doctors, like Henryk Nikicicz, above, have been disciplined for pushing back.


4. After thinking they had the virus under control, some countries in Asia are seeing a new wave of infections. Above, tourists stuck in Phuket, Thailand.

A surge in cases tied to international travelers led China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan to close their borders to foreigners in recent days. They’ve also imposed new, stricter measures, including steep fines for leaving home and tracking bracelets to monitor quarantines.

It’s a troubling sign for the U.S., Europe and other places still battling their first wave of outbreaks. Success with containment could be tenuous, and the world may have to remain on a kind of indefinite lockdown until a vaccine or treatment is found.

But in better news, the crisis has inspired widespread generosity in Afghanistan: Many landlords have waived rent, tailors have given away thousands of homemade masks, and businesses have offered to be converted into hospitals.


5. Joe Biden is facing a serious cash crunch.

The former vice president’s campaign and top donors are racing to reimagine how to raise money as worries grow that the coronavirus could choke off contributions. Mr. Biden and President Trump face the same headwinds, but the president began March with an enormous financial advantage over the Democrats: $225 million in cash to Mr. Biden’s $20 million.

Mr. Trump’s approval rating is as high as ever, despite a slow coronavirus response and a series of falsehoods. Some independent voters and even Democrats are driving the bump.

6. The coronavirus ended the screen-time debate. Screens won.

We’ve tried all sorts of things to stop us from staring at our devices. Digital detoxes. Abstinence. Now? Bring on the Zoom cocktail hour and digital forest bathing sessions. Even some of the godparents of the screen-wary movement are coming around.

For more (or less) screen-time ideas:


7. How will we remember daily life during the pandemic?

Museums in Europe are scrambling to answer that for the historical record. Their “rapid response collecting” has taken many forms, from asking people to keep diaries to acquiring objects to taking photographs, like the one above of residents of a Helsinki, Finland, retirement home singing together from their balconies.

“Right now, we have a chance to get people’s impressions in the moment, before they’ve even had time to reflect on them,” one curator in Denmark said.

8. The first night of Passover is next Wednesday. Things might look a little different this year.

But celebrating, whether it’s alone, virtually or with those in your home, feels more essential than ever, writes the Food contributor Alison Roman. She has developed a series of recipes that include substitutions to make the dishes work for your kitchen and what you have in your pantry.

And Passover wouldn’t be Passover without Joan Nathan, an authority on Jewish cooking. She writes about a recipe for golden chicken thighs and fresh artichokes that has been passed down through generations.


9. For 60,000 years, an underwater cypress forest was preserved within an oxygen-less tomb of sand and sediment. Then came Hurricane Ivan.

In 2004, the Category 5 hurricane ripped through the Gulf of Mexico and scooped up nearly 10 feet of sand from the seabed, awakening the sleeping forest beneath. Few have seen it, but a group of scientists was recently the first to explore, document and study the habitat’s shipworms, above, and other sea life that moved into the forest when it emerged.

Their goal: to find creatures who may be the key to medicines that might one day save your life.


10. And finally, a wildlife safari — from your living room.

We’ve started a new series, “The World Through a Lens,” to transport you, virtually, to stunning places around the world. This week, the photographer Marcus Westberg takes us to Zambia, home to some of Africa’s best national parks.

In a country with no shortage of natural gems, Mr. Westberg has been captivated by the Luangwa Valley, “my first, and still strongest, love,” which he has visited more than half a dozen times.

His photos of Luangwa’s parks bring you up close to ferocious hippos, vibrant birds and affectionate giraffes — and let you pretend you’re the only visitor.

Have a wild night (inside).


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