Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

What the near future may hold

By Jonathan Wolfe

This is the Coronavirus Briefing, an informed guide to the pandemic. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

In recent days, France, Russia, Nepal and several American states have set records for their highest daily number of new infections.

The Chinese city of Qingdao is testing all of its 9.5 million residents after it recorded the country’s first locally transmitted cases in almost two months.

President Trump is returning to the campaign trail in Florida, with trips to Pennsylvania, Iowa and North Carolina scheduled for the following days.

Get the latest updates here, as well as maps and trackers for U.S. metro areas and vaccines in development.

We begin this week peering into a crystal ball. Two New York Times science reporters, Carl Zimmer and Donald G. McNeil Jr., looked ahead to the next year of the pandemic and wrote about how the next few months may unspool — both for better and for worse.

A dose of optimism

Our colleague Donald G. McNeil Jr. wrote that since January, when he began covering the coronavirus, he has been a “consistently gloomy Cassandra” — reporting on the catastrophic fallout of the pandemic that many experts saw coming.

And yet, he said, he has recently become cautiously optimistic.

The worst-case scenario — in which some 2.2 million Americans die from the virus — has not come to pass. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people have made huge sacrifices in shutting down parts of the economy, maintaining social distance and wearing masks.

Those sacrifices have made the possibility of a “twindemic” of coronavirus and influenza infections seem far less likely now, too. The flu season is typically seeded each year in the Northern Hemisphere by travelers from the Southern Hemisphere. But this year the flu season there was almost nonexistent because of anti-coronavirus measures.

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