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Welcome to another week of the coronavirus outbreak. We’re covering the stalemate in Congress over its response, growing doubts about the Tokyo Olympics, and what to do when you’re stuck at home.
What it will take to stop the coronavirus
If the U.S. is to repeat the success of countries like China and South Korea in containing the epidemic, health experts say it will require extraordinary coordination and money from leaders as well as near-total cooperation from the public.
Our health reporter Donald McNeil writes: “If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt.”
How the virus spread
Many of the first known coronavirus cases clustered around a market in Wuhan, China, but by the time officials locked down the city of 11 million and acknowledged that the illness could spread among humans, it was too late: Outbreaks had already been seeded around the world.
What to do when you’re isolated
Being healthy and stuck at home is a best-case scenario right now — but that doesn’t mean cabin fever isn’t real.
Scott Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut, offered advice on isolation from his year on the International Space Station: Follow a schedule, pace yourself with work, make sure to leave time for fun activities — he watched “Game of Thrones” twice — and go outside if you can (but leave at least six feet between you and others).
Religion is a solace for billions of people grappling with the outbreak. “In times of hardship, fear or panic,” an Egyptian pilgrim said, “either you think, ‘How can God do this to us?’ or you run to Him for protection and for guidance, to make it all make sense.”
But communal gatherings, the keystone of so much religious practice, are now a clear threat to public health. Above, a Buddhist temple in Myanmar.
Here’s what else is happening
Political clash in Israel: Citing a threat to democracy, opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Supreme Court to block what they described as a power grab under the guise of combating the coronavirus.
Afghan peace deal: Amid fears that an agreement could fall apart, Afghan government officials spoke with Taliban delegates over Skype to discuss details of a prisoner release that is a part of the deal.
Snapshot: Above, the Place de la Concorde in Paris last week during what would normally be a morning rush hour. The Times asked dozens of photographers to capture images of once-bustling public spaces.
Metropolitan Diary: In this week’s column, discussing a “horrible” rock band, dreaming of a secret life and more reader tales of New York City.
What we’re watching: This video on Twitter. “It’s a bunch of Italian mayors and local leaders lashing out at people who are not obeying the decrees demanding that people stay at home,” writes Jason Horowitz, our Rome bureau chief, who has covered the coronavirus pandemic even through his own quarantine. “I did love this.”
Now, a break from the news
Those strains, felt across the world, were echoed in text exchanges between the editor of our gender initiative, Francesca Donner, and Corinne Purtill, a journalist in Los Angeles. They have five children between them.
Francesca: “First things first: How do you maintain a sense of control when you’re WFH? Is there a daily routine? Do you get dressed every day?”
Corinne: “All good questions. If you take away one key point from this conversation, it should be this: Put on pants. Real pants. Every day.”
That was not Corinne’s only resonant piece of advice. “Days home with small children should be approached like airplane flights with small children,” she wrote. “Whatever it takes to get through it, do it, as long as they’re safe and not hurting anyone. We’re going to have to stretch some of our rules here.”
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the coronavirus pandemic and the Democratic presidential primary.
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