Coronavirus, Elizabeth Warren, Syria: Your Friday Briefing


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Good morning.

We’re covering the latest in the coronavirus outbreak, Elizabeth Warren’s withdrawal from the presidential race, and a federal judge’s rebuke of Attorney General William Barr.

The global number of coronavirus cases surpassed 100,000 today, a day after the director general of the World Health Organization urged international action to confront the outbreak, saying: “This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops.”

While he was ill, relatives and friends helped him with personal obligations, and Times colleagues did the same for his work. He could see doctors and get prescriptions. All told, he said, the net toll of his illness was negligible.

“That toll was negligible because I’m just one person,” he said. “Society was prepared to absorb the consequences of my illness.”

“If a big fraction of my neighborhood in West London had all fallen sick at once, it would’ve been a different story,” he added. His local health office might not have been able to see him as quickly. Friends and relatives might have had other sick people to help, or been sick themselves.

“The risk from the virus’s impact on you individually is probably low,” he concluded. But its impact on society — particularly on low-wage workers who can’t afford child care or time off — could be profound.

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

— Chris

Thank you
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Cheese with holes (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times’s National desk starts each of its morning news meetings by reading a poem, which one of our editors said “jolts your mind into thinking about a subject or theme in an unexpected way.”


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