(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
We’re covering the U.S. passing 4 million cases, a stumbling reopening in Spain and climate change prompting a global migration.
U.S. passes four million cases
The U.S. passed four million known coronavirus cases on Thursday, the world’s highest number. The numbers of daily hospitalizations and deaths are also rising.
Public health experts have warned that the actual number of people infected is far higher than the number of reported cases and could be up to 13 times as high in some regions.
California and Texas are among the states setting daily records for new infections. More than 143,000 people have died in the U.S.
Spain reopening: New coronavirus cases have quadrupled in Spain since it lifted a strict lockdown in June, and thousands in various areas are returning to temporary lockdowns. This time, the focus is on younger people and the risk that they are unwittingly spreading the virus.
In other news:
Romania reimposed restrictions after daily new infections rose above 1,000.
Belgium’s prime minister issued broad mask-wearing requirements and warned of even stricter measures if infections continued to rise.
Case surges could be slowed if the world’s poorest people received a temporary basic income, enabling them to stay at home, according to a United Nations report.
President Trump said he had canceled the portion of the Republican National Convention slated for Jacksonville, Fla., citing the virus.
Costa Rica is reopening its borders to tourists, but U.S. citizens aren’t welcome just yet. Five flights a week will be allowed in from the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada starting Aug. 1, the country’s tourism minister announced Thursday.
China wants to punish the U.S., but how much?
China ordered the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu on Friday, saying it was a retaliation for Washington’s decision earlier this week to close China’s consulate in Houston.
The tit-for-tat consulate closures were yet another twist in deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing, perhaps the gravest one yet.
But behind the scenes, Chinese leaders seem to have little desire to further escalate tensions, concerned that a breach in relations would hurt the economy or invite global isolation. Officials are also wary that any moves could play into President Trump’s hands during his re-election campaign.
Still, Beijing cannot afford to appear weak in the face of attacks from the United States, and the furor is inflaming anti-American sentiment domestically.
Bigger picture: China is also clashing with India, Britain, Canada, Australia and many other countries, and it is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and the global fallout.
Related: Cybersecurity researchers have found a vulnerability in an app that helps power popular Chinese-made consumer drones, highlighting U.S. officials’ concerns that Beijing could get access to information about Americans.
Former Nazi guard is convicted
A 93-year-old man was convicted on Thursday for helping the Nazis murder thousands of people when he was a 17-year-old concentration camp guard — possibly one of the last verdicts to be handed down to a living Holocaust participant.
Bruno Dey was found guilty of 5,230 counts of murder, one for each person believed to have been killed in the Stuffhof concentration camp in Poland. Tried in juvenile court, he was given a two-year suspended sentence. Survivors and those representing them said it was too lenient.
Context: Prosecutors in the special office for handling Nazi-era crimes are pushing to bring aging suspects to justice before it is too late. It comes as the country is dealing with a resurgence in right-wing extremism. A trial opened this week in another court for a German suspect accused in a plot to attack a synagogue that left two people dead.
If you have 30 minutes, this is worth it
Climate and the coming mass migration
Above, farm workers who are struggling to harvest maize to feed their families in Guatemala. As their land fails them and the planet warms, hundreds of millions of people will be forced to choose between flight or death. The result will almost certainly be the greatest wave of global migration the world has seen.
The Times Magazine and ProPublica joined with the Pulitzer Center to model, for the first time, how people will move across borders. With every degree of temperature increase, roughly a billion people will be pushed outside the zone in which humans have long lived.
Snapshot: Above, China’s Long March 5 rocket blasting off from Wenchang Space Launch Center on Thursday on its way to Mars. The mission — which combines an orbiter, a lander and a rover — is scheduled to arrive at Mars in February.
Dueling albums: Taylor Swift and Kanye West, who have been linked since the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009, are both set to release new records today.
West End: On Thursday, 640 theatergoers attended the first performance in London since March (even giving a very unBritish whoop). But some producers say further shows are unlikely until social distancing ends.
What we’re reading: BuzzFeed News’s Q. and A. with coronavirus experts on whether they’re taking vacations, and if so, how. “A lot of them are too busy to take off, which many of us in news can relate to,” says the Briefings editor, Andrea Kannapell. “But some of them are, and I plan to follow their advice.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This chicken and celery salad with wasabi-tahini dressing is equally delicious cold or at room temperature and can be tucked into soft potato rolls for sandwiches.
Listen: Among female-led new wave bands, the Cosmopolitans and Spider are not as well known as Kate Bush or Blondie, but equally worth a listen.
Do: Changing the way we breathe can influence weight, athletic performance, allergies, asthma, snoring, mood, stress, focus and so much more. You can learn to breathe better with these exercises.
At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
A harsh virus response in the Philippines
With more than 70,000 infections and 1,800 deaths, the Philippines has been hit hard by the coronavirus. President Rodrigo Duterte has empowered the police to go home to home searching for the sick and has warned that anyone not wearing a mask will be arrested.
Jason Gutierrez, who is based in Manila, spoke to our colleagues from the Coronavirus Briefing about the government’s heavy-handed approach.
What is the status of the virus in the Philippines?
The government hasn’t really been upfront about what’s happening. President Duterte just said that all we can do is wait for the experts in the United States or China to develop a vaccine and basically advised the public to follow the rules or risk arrest.
Our Health Ministry is seen by many as really inefficient. It lets Mr. Duterte say what he wants to say and does not clarify it in public.
What is the situation in Manila?
People in the city have to go through checkpoints, and cops go around some areas in fatigues, like they’re going into battle. Some carry large firearms. It’s worrying because it’s militarizing the response.
In some areas, especially the impoverished parts, people are really afraid to leave their homes and are basically told to just wait it out for food and medical advice or risk being arrested.
What has the response been to President Duterte saying the police would arrest people who didn’t wear masks?
In a lot of places, you see people in public always wearing medical masks. Ironically, he does not wear a mask whenever he meets his officials, and he only wore a mask when he made that threat.
Militarizing the response is probably his way of telling the public that he, as a strongman president, is doing something.
That’s it for this briefing. Let RZA’s guided explorations take you away. Have a great weekend.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the deployment of federal forces to U.S. cities.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: So-called “rabbit food” (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times is acquiring Serial Productions, a group of long-form audio journalists, and has formed a creative and strategic alliance with “This American Life,” a show that transformed audio journalism.