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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. Skip the party. Stay home. Do not make a bad situation worse.
That’s what many public health officials are urging as America staggers toward a holiday weekend burdened by an increasingly dire pandemic. Today’s count of new coronavirus cases isn’t complete yet, but the U.S. reported nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, the fifth single-day record in eight days.
If June was the month when the pandemic spiraled from America’s grasp, July seems destined to be when the country will learn just how bad it will get. On June 1, Florida announced 667 new coronavirus cases. Today, it reported over 10,100. Above, drive-through testing in Austin, Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered residents to wear masks in public.
Think of this as a second peak in the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s how it’s different this time.
2. Job numbers released by the Labor Department today show just how strongly the virus is going to shape the economy.
Employers added 4.8 million jobs in June, as businesses began to reopen across the country, and the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent, down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April. But the recent surge in infections is causing renewed shutdowns that could accelerate layoffs and stall recovery.
Still, job gains in both May and June suggest that permanent economic damage so far has been relatively limited, in part because of the trillions of dollars of emergency spending authorized by Congress. Lawmakers are now considering an additional package.
Parents have been dealt a particularly difficult hand. Deb Perelman, the creator of the Smitten Kitchen food blog, puts it simply: “In the Covid-19 economy, you’re allowed only a kid or a job.”
3. Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested on charges linked to the sex-trafficking case involving her onetime boyfriend and longtime associate, Jeffrey Epstein.
Ms. Maxwell, pictured above with the disgraced financier in 2005, was accused of helping him recruit, groom and then sexually abuse girls, including one as young as 14. The arrest came nearly a year after Mr. Epstein was charged in a federal indictment with sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of underage girls. Mr. Epstein hanged himself last August in his Manhattan jail cell.
4. A spike in infections in Melbourne, Australia, is driving home the outsize impact of the coronavirus on immigrant and low-income communities.
People in such communities often work jobs that put them at risk of contracting the virus, and official communication in their native languages can be patchy. In the case of Melbourne, the sharing of a cigarette lighter by security guards outside of a hotel where international travelers quarantine could have spread of the virus.
The spike — 77 new cases — has forced 300,000 people back into lockdown.
And in Tokyo, a spike in cases has been linked to the city’s nightlife districts. Officials say 70 percent of the new cases are people in their 20s and 30s, with many of them asymptomatic.
5. Domestic abuse is soaring in Britain.
At least 26 women and girls died in suspected domestic homicides during the U.K.’s coronavirus lockdown. The group that did the initial count, which The Times corroborated, focused only on females, so the true count, including transgender victims and males, is almost certainly higher.
The government was warned abuse would rise but did little, according to interviews with more than 50 government and law enforcement officials, academic experts, front-line support workers and abuse survivors. Lynn, above, has been trapped at home with her partner, who she says has become increasingly abusive during the lockdown.
By contrast, New Zealand included domestic abuse preparations in its lockdown planning from the start. Germany made an open-ended pledge to fund shelters and other crucial services.
6. For years, China’s sprawling security apparatus worked in the shadows to stop threats to the ruling Communist Party.
It looks ready to come out into the open in Hong Kong. A Chinese national security law in effect as of this week will enable China to openly station security officials in the territory to subdue opposition. And that extended security state will operate beyond the scrutiny of local laws and courts.
The open yet untouchable nature of these forces signals a drastic shift for a territory that has prided itself on its rule of law, our correspondent writes. Above, the flags of China and Hong Kong were flown above Hong Kong on Wednesday, the 23rd anniversary of the territory’s return to Chinese control.
7. “I feel like I can live life now. I’m free, I’m blessed.”
That’s Jonathan Irons, 40, as he walked out of a Missouri penitentiary on Wednesday after serving more than 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
His bid for freedom from a 50-year prison sentence for burglary and assault charges was championed by the W.N.B.A. star Maya Moore, above left. Ms. Moore stopped playing at the peak of her success last year to campaign for Mr. Irons’s release, stunning the sports world.
As Mr. Irons walked out of prison, Ms. Moore sank to her knees.
8. The reboot of “The Baby-Sitters Club” may be the throwback that 2020 needs.
With a fresh voice and a winning cast, the Netflix update of the popular book series about seventh graders who start a babysitting business is “sweet but not cloying, smart but not cynical, full-hearted and funny enough to please both grown readers of the original books and the young target audience of the new series — and even plenty of viewers (like me) who are neither,” writes our TV critic James Poniewozik.
And you may have heard that the film version of “Hamilton,” the hit Broadway show, is premiering on Disney+ on Friday. Filmed four years ago, the show “feels more vital, more challenging then ever,” our film critic writes. Here’s A.O. Scott’s review.
9. July 4 is not going to be the same.
We’ve said this about a number of holidays and events, but with the pandemic and national unrest over racial justice, Independence Day may feel particularly different. Indulge your nostalgia for large crowds, close contact and communal celebrations with these archival photographs from The Times. Above, New York Harbor in 1986.
Depending on where you live and the comfort level of you and your guests, you might be able to host a modest gathering. Here’s how our food columnist Melissa Clark did it, with a minimal-fuss menu, a lot of planning and some potentially awkward conversations.
Our Coronavirus Briefing also has guidance for how to prepare for a safe July 4.
10. And finally, a different kind of tune.
The jaunty song of the white-throated sparrow, above, plays on loop across North America, sounding something like “Old Sam Peabody-Peabody-Peabody.”
But it seems that Canadian sparrows want to sing something new. A study that took 20 years of research tracked how the song’s hook — its triplet ending — is being replaced by a new, doublet-ending variant, which sounds more like “Old Sam Peabuh-Peabuh-Peabuh-Peabuh.” You can listen to both versions here.
The new song is a certified hit and is making its way to the Northeastern United States: Some of the Canadian sparrows winter in the Southern U.S., where they’re probably sharing the song, like a passed-around mixtape.
Have a freestyling evening.
We’re off on Friday for the holiday weekend and will return on Monday.
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