Your Monday briefing

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More Americans have died from Covid-19 than on the battlefields of WWI, WWII and the Vietnam War combined. No other country has had so many deaths in the pandemic.

At the time of writing, the U.S. toll stands at 498,033, or about one-fifth of the known global toll – about a year since the first confirmed death from Covid-19 in the country. The coronavirus has reached all corners of the United States, devastating dense cities and rural counties, and has killed about one in 670 people nationwide. Virus variants are a growing threat and mourning is rampant.

“When I come inside it’s a surreal moment and there’s always that hope,” Ignacio Silverio, who lost his sister, a restaurateur, told Covid. “You know maybe it’s a dream and she would say hello and we would sit together and drink coffee.”

The heartbreaking milestone comes at a hopeful time, however. New cases of the virus are down sharply, deaths are slowing and vaccinations are resuming after a week in which much of the country was suffocated by winter storms. President Biden has said the United States could approach normal by the end of the year, although Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading epidemiologist, has said wearing a mask could be required until 2022.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:

  • Australia began vaccinating its population against the coronavirus on Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and 19 others getting vaccinated. The first to be vaccinated was an 84-year-old woman who lives in a nursing home.

  • People in Canada are calling not only politicians and doctors for breaking the rules for the coronavirus, but also their own relatives and neighbors. The so-called live lines were inundated with tips.

  • As new variants of the coronavirus spread rapidly, countries in Europe are working to reintroduce border controls, a practice that is eating away at what was once the world’s largest free movement area.

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Witnesses said two people were killed and dozens injured when security forces opened fire on protesters in Mandalay town on Saturday. It was the bloodiest day of protests against the coup so far.

The shootings took place as authorities tried to force workers back to work at a local shipyard. A work stoppage there to protest the ouster of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civilian leader, had crippled river transport on the Irrawaddy, the country’s most important commercial waterway, according to Radio Free Asia.

Details: Authorities used water cannons, rubber bullets, tear gas, slingshots and ultimately live ammunition to disperse the crowd. At least 40 people have been injured, doctors say.

For years, the Russian government has put in place the infrastructure to crack down on freedom of expression online. Many have predicted that Russia is heading for internet censorship similar to China’s Great Firewall.

But even as President Vladimir Putin faced massive protests last month, his government appeared unwilling – and, to some extent, unable – to block websites or limit the spread of digital dissent.

Putin’s dilemma: It may continue to try to manage public discontent by maintaining a semblance of an open society, or it may elevate state repression to new heights, risking public backlash.

Bollywood screen mothers have long been described as passive housewives who submit to patriarchal pressures. But that is changing, with films like “Tribhanga,” above, covering topics like single motherhood, sexual abuse, and open relationships.

In fact, a number of new productions show mothers, and women in general, as complete and complex human beings – not melodramatic side characters, but independent, outspoken leaders who are in charge of their own destiny.

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Election in Israel: Next month’s elections have the potential to give the country’s Arab voters real power. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now vigorously courting the Arab Israeli electorate, and some Arab politicians are ready to work with him.

Aleksei Navalny: A Russian court has paved the way for the possible transfer of the opposition leader to a penal colony, the latest step taken by the authorities to silence the country’s most vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Weapons of Libya: Erik Prince, former head of security firm Blackwater Worldwide and supporter of former President Donald Trump, violated a United Nations arms embargo on Libya by sending weapons to a militia commander trying to overthrow the government in Tripoli, according to UN investigators. . He denied any wrongdoing.

Instantaneous: Above, Novak Djokovic won his third straight Australian Open title. His victory over fourth-placed Daniil Medvedev earned him his 18th career Grand Slam title. Naomi Osaka beat Jennifer Brady to her fourth Grand Slam title on Saturday.

What we read: This summary of the last episode of the TBEN series “Trump takes the world”, in which we learn that the former US president proposed to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, to return home on Air Force One after their summit in Hanoi. The bromance was real, at least from Mr. Trump’s perspective.

To cook: This shrimp stew draws its inspiration from Cajun and Creole cuisines.

Listen: Radio dramas, especially from its heyday of the 1930s to the 1950s, are available free of charge through the Internet. Here are six shows to enjoy.

Do: Thinking of buying an electric car? They are available in many sizes, shapes and prices. Here is a summary.

Find something that will make you laugh. At Home has ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

A graphic on the front page of The New York Times on Sunday shows the full devastation of Covid in the United States. From a distance the graph looks like a blur of gray, but up close it shows something much darker: almost 500,000 individual points, each representing a single life lost to the coronavirus.

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This is not the first time that the designers of The Times have used the front page to represent the scale of the pandemic’s toll. When Covid-19 deaths in the United States hit 100,000 last May, the page was filled with the names of people lost – nearly a thousand of them, just 1% of the country’s toll at the time .

And as that number approached 200,000, the main photo on the page showed the yard of a Texas artist, who filled his lawn with a small flag for every life lost to the virus in his state.

But this is the first time the front page has featured all of the deaths in the United States. “I think part of this technique, which is good, is that it overwhelms you – because it should,” Lazaro Gamio, a graphics editor, told The Times.


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

– Carole


Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the news break. You can reach the team at [email protected]

PS
• We listen to “The Daily”. Our last episode is about children and Covid.
• Here are our mini-crosswords and a hint: Cold War Superpower (four letters). You can find all of our puzzles here.
• Claire Cain Miller, reporter who worked on our working mothers series, “The Primal Scream,” spoke to NPR about the pandemic’s toll on women.

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