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Early lockdowns allowed a lot of Central Europe to keep away from the widespread coronavirus infections that brought on a lot devastation within the first wave of the pandemic. However now, from the Polish port metropolis of Gdansk on the Baltic to the traditional fortress city of Kotor on the Adriatic in Montenegro, the virus is moving across the region, setting new every day information for infections because the dying toll steadily ticks upward.

Hospital beds are filling up in Poland; docs in Hungary warn of an absence of medical staff; the authorities in Romania are struggling to trace new instances; and well being care staff are falling unwell in Bulgaria. The Czech Republic has the highest coronavirus transmission rates in Europe.

There may be specific concern in regards to the harm the virus might sow within the former Communist international locations of Central Europe, a few of which have weak well being care methods, important shortages of docs and nurses, and insufficient testing packages.

On the final day of questioning in Choose Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Courtroom affirmation hearings, the way forward for the Reasonably priced Care Act took middle stage.

Choose Barrett informed the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had no “animus” towards the well being care regulation nor an “agenda” to strike it down, regardless of President Trump’s acknowledged need that she achieve this when the courtroom hears a problem subsequent month. Our Supreme Courtroom correspondent writes that at sure factors, the choose’s technical description appeared to argue in favor of leaving the A.C.A. intact. Read our highlights from the day.

G.O.P.: Republicans lauded the ascension of a conservative, religious choose. Senator Lindsey Graham praised her as “a girl who’s unashamedly pro-life and embraces her religion with out apology.”

The Upshot: Choose Barrett has embraced a “supermom” image that endears her to some People whereas elevating issues in regards to the role of working mothers amongst others.

Opinion: In Choose Barrett, our columnist Nicholas Kristof writes, Republicans are as soon as once more supporting a Supreme Courtroom nominee who might take the U.S. backward.

Upstanding frills: Choose Barrett’s pumps and pearls assist to current the nominee as the alternative of an extremist, writes our chief fashion critic — and an extremist is, after all, how the Democrats try to painting her.


In virtually any given spot in central London, you’re by no means too removed from a Pret A Manger store — if not two dozen. The sandwich and coffee chain has grow to be the go-to lunch spot for harried British workplace staff, seeping into cultural life with traditions like its Christmas sandwich and a policy that lets staff members give free espresso to individuals they like.

However with workplaces abandoned due to the pandemic, Pret’s prospects are nowhere to be seen. And what was previously its biggest benefit — its central London stronghold — has all of a sudden grow to be its greatest weak spot.

Now, the corporate is prepared to attempt virtually something to get again on its ft, together with promoting espresso beans on Amazon, shifting to supply and devising a special menu of hot evening meals, comparable to a chipotle rooster burrito bowl​. You possibly can even get a espresso “subscription,” and the primary month is free. “While you’re in survival mode,” its chief govt mentioned, “you’ve acquired to attempt issues.”

Quote: “I exist due to Pret’s oppressive ubiquity,” the satirical Albert-Camus-meets-Pret Twitter account @PretLEtranger posted final month. “There isn’t a want for me now.”

Farmers in Mexico armed with sticks, rocks and home made shields ambushed troopers and seized La Boquilla Dam, above, to cease water deliveries to the USA. The farmers mentioned the Mexican authorities was sending water — their water — to Texas, leaving them with subsequent to nothing for his or her crops.

Our reporter seemed on the standoff pitting Mexican farmers in opposition to their nation’s president and the superpower throughout the border. The battle illustrates a growing conflict over increasingly scarce resources on account of rising temperatures and lengthy droughts, which have been brought on by local weather change.

Golden Daybreak: An Athens courtroom sentenced the leaders of the Greek neo-fascist celebration to 13 years in jail on Wednesday after declaring it a criminal organization final week, wrapping up some of the vital political trials within the nation’s fashionable historical past.

Soccer: A proposal to dramatically restructure the English Premier League was unanimously rejected by its members. Throughout the Channel, France’s soccer federation employed a advisor to handle complaints about a toxic workplace culture. And the incoherence of British government regulations is on full show within the “lovely sport,” writes our soccer correspondent.

BTS: South Korea’s most hotly anticipated preliminary public providing in years is centered on the Ok-pop celebrity group and the $4 billion firm that manages it, Massive Hit Leisure, which began trading in South Korea on Thursday.

Ikea thought: The Swedish furnishings retailer has began a worldwide marketing campaign to buy back used furniture as a part of its efforts to fight local weather change and discourage extreme consumption.

Snapshot: Protesters in Bangkok on Wednesday, above, because the royal motorcade rolled by. After months of protests demanding reform, this was the first time that members of Thailand’s royal family had seen the frustration up close. The three-finger salute, taken from “The Starvation Video games,” has grow to be a logo of the motion.

Lives Lived: Herbert Kretzmer, the London theater critic whose English-language lyrics for “Les Misérables” helped remodel a little-known French musical into one of many world’s most profitable theater productions, died at 95 on Wednesday.

What we’re studying: This Vice article on the rising attraction of desserts that aren’t too candy. “I’m hoping that is the longer term,” writes Carole Landry of the Briefings group. “Let’s oppose the sugar bombs.”

Prepare dinner: James Beard’s onion sandwich is contemporary and unfussy. Rolling the sting of the sandwich in chopped parsley offers it a retro styling contact, but it surely’s essential for taste, too.

Watch: The Netflix documentary “Blackpink: Light Up the Sky” is a short however endearing introduction to the idolized Ok-pop woman group.

Dance: Older adults who interact in ballroom dancing, people dancing and different dance types are much less prone to fall than those that stroll or do different workout routines, researchers say. A robust argument for a little bit of a boogie.

Allow us to assist you beat boredom with our At Home collection of ideas on what to learn, prepare dinner, watch and do whereas staying protected at dwelling.

Latest case research during which individuals have been reinfected by the coronavirus — amongst them a 25-year-old man in Nevada and an 89-year-old woman in the Netherlands — have led to issues about repeat bouts of sickness. However these instances are very, very uncommon. Right here’s what you need to know.

Coronavirus reinfection is very uncommon. Greater than 38 million individuals worldwide have been contaminated with the virus, however fewer than 5 of these instances have been confirmed as reinfections. One virologist described it as “a microliter-sized drop within the bucket, in comparison with the variety of instances which have occurred all around the world.”

In most individuals, the immune system works as anticipated. Reinfections can happen for any variety of causes: as a result of the preliminary an infection was significantly delicate, as a result of the immune system was in any other case compromised or as a result of the affected person had been uncovered to a considerable amount of the virus that seeded an an infection earlier than the immune response might take impact, to provide three examples.

The identical variability has been noticed in sufferers with ailments like measles and malaria, specialists mentioned.

A second set of signs doesn’t show reinfection. For each confirmed case, there are dozens of anecdotal studies of contaminated individuals who have been sick and seemingly recovered however then turned unwell once more weeks or months later. A overwhelming majority of these instances are unlikely to be true reinfections. Extra doubtless, these are individuals experiencing a resurgence of signs linked to the unique an infection.


That’s it for right this moment’s briefing. Thanks for becoming a member of me.

— Natasha


Thanks
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the information. You possibly can attain the group at [email protected].

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our newest episode is about Choose Amy Coney Barrett’s affirmation hearings.
• Right here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: ‘“Actually, that’s unsuitable”’ (5 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• A Utah man’s likelihood encounter with 4 child cougars whereas climbing resulted in this hair-raising six minute video after their mom pursued him alongside the path.
• Our govt editor, Dean Baquet, released a note in support of the Times Magazine’s 1619 Project.

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