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There is no country in the world where confirmed coronavirus cases are growing as rapidly as they are in Arizona, Florida or South Carolina. The Sun Belt has become the global virus capital.

This chart ranks the countries with the most confirmed new cases over the past week, adjusted for population size, and treats each U.S. state as if it were a country. (Many states are larger in both landmass and population than some countries.)

The only countries with outbreaks as severe as those across the Sunbelt are Bahrain, Oman and Qatar — three Middle Eastern countries with large numbers of low-wage migrant workers who are not citizens. These workers often live in cramped quarters, with subpar social services, and many have contracted the virus.

They “have found themselves locked down in cramped, unsanitary dorms, deprived of income and unable to return home because of travel restrictions,” The Times’s Beirut bureau chief, Ben Hubbard, has written.

Other countries on the list — like Panama, Kazakhstan and Armenia — are substantially poorer than the U.S.

Related: A few months ago, “the United States still seemed to have a chance of controlling Covid-19,” The Atlantic’s Ed Yong writes. “It didn’t. Instead, to the immense frustration of public-health advisers, leaders rushed to reopen while most states were still woefully unprepared.”

It’s not about the testing rate. Some other low-income countries might also appear on this list if they were conducting more tests. But the U.S. does not have an unusually high testing rate for a rich country, as a Johns Hopkins University analysis explains.

In other virus developments:

  • President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19, after repeatedly denying the seriousness of the pandemic as it tore through his country.

  • Sweden — which allowed the virus to spread largely unhindered — has Europe’s worst outbreak, and its economy has not benefited. “They literally gained nothing,” one economist said.

  • The federal government will pay the drugmaker Novavax $1.6 billion to develop a successful vaccine and produce 100 million doses by early 2021. It’s a big bet on a company that has never brought a product to market.

  • Walt Disney World will reopen on Saturday, with special precautions to protect visitors. But as cases spike in Florida, some fans are urging Disney to postpone the return.

President Trump called on governors and mayors to bring students back to classrooms full time in the fall and abandon plans for remote learning. “The moms want it. The dads want it. The kids want it,” Trump said. “It’s time to do it.”

Many experts agree that the psychological and educational costs of keeping children at home full time would be steep. But schools also have the potential to spark new virus outbreaks if they are not opened carefully. And the Trump administration has offered no concrete proposals to help schools pay for testing, social distancing, improved ventilation and other measures to prevent outbreaks.

Some senators, including Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, have called for federal funding to help schools reopen.


Raging wildfires in the Arctic appear to be both an effect of global warming and a cause of future warming. The fires are releasing record amounts of pollution.

Though some fires in the area are normal, the scale of the recent fires is not. Higher temperatures and drier soil seem to have made them worse, scientists said. And many studies have found that the changing weather in the Arctic may be influencing extreme weather events elsewhere.


The Times has obtained a copy of the forthcoming memoir by Mary Trump, the president’s niece and the first member of the Trump family to break ranks. The book describes him as a child in an adult’s body, whose “sociopath” father psychologically damaged him and who developed anger and distrust as defenses for insecurity.

The book includes several family secrets, including the claim that a young Donald Trump paid someone to take the SAT for him. The White House denied that claim.

Here’s the back story of how the book came to be.


Facebook’s top executives, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, tried and failed to mollify civil rights groups that have criticized the company’s approach to hate speech and spurred a boycott by hundreds of advertisers.

The groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, have asked Facebook to update its community standards, among other steps. “The company’s leaders delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us,” one participant told The Times.

Another angle: An outside audit requested by Facebook found that it has not done enough to fight discrimination on its platform and has made some decisions that were “significant setbacks for civil rights,” according to a copy obtained by The Times.


My family has a new pandemic ritual: Each weekend, we have a big grocery order delivered to our house, and my wife then drives some of it to her parents, who live nearby. It keeps us all out of the grocery stores and creates an excuse to see each other. It has also made me obsessed with sorrel.

My father-in-law grows sorrel — a citrusy herb — in his garden and gives us a bunch each week. I drop it in a blender, along with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and sometimes cilantro, parsley or chives. Just like that, we have a brilliantly green sauce for the fresh fish that comes in our weekly grocery delivery. And I have to fight my kids to get my share.

Another great option: Julia Moskin’s herbed grain salad with mushrooms, hazelnuts, pears and a sorrel dressing.


It’s been 14 years since America’s best-selling female band released a new album. And it’s been 17 years since “the incident,” as the trio formerly known as the Dixie Chicks calls it: when country-music radio stopped playing them after they criticized then-President George W. Bush.

The Chicks are back now, though they never really left: They’ve won Grammys, done side projects and solo albums, performed onstage with Beyoncé and collaborated with Taylor Swift. Their superpower is what Natalie Maines, the lead singer, calls “a true ability to not care.”

“In an industry that’s never really loved them or defended them, they became a testament to female self-reliance,” Amanda Hess writes in a profile of the band, whose new album is set for release.


“When reality is surreal, only fiction can make sense of it.” So begins the latest project from The Times Magazine: an entire issue devoted to new short stories written by 29 authors.

There’s fiction written during quarantine by Margaret Atwood, Tommy Orange, David Mitchell and Yiyun Li, among others. If you’re unsure of where to begin, there’s a “surprise me” wild card located on the bottom right of the home page that’ll select a story for you.






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