(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. The timeline of the coronavirus’s arrival in the U.S. is being rewritten.
Officials didn’t identify a case of community transmission until Feb. 26 or a virus-linked death until Feb. 29. But a medical examiner revealed this week that a woman who died Feb. 6 at her home in Santa Clara County, Calif., was infected with the coronavirus, and probably caught it sometime in January.
Since the woman had no known exposure from travel, that means the virus must already have been spreading in the San Francisco Bay Area long before the federal government began restricting travel from China.
Experts say that if the U.S. had known earlier of the virus’s spread, there would have been more urgency to expand testing and to prepare hospitals.
2. The doctor who led the federal agency in charge of developing a coronavirus vaccine said he was removed from his post for questioning a virus treatment promoted by President Trump.
Dr. Rick Bright was abruptly dismissed this week after he pressed for a rigorous vetting of use of the drug hydroxychloroquine. The doctor told The Times that science, not “politics and cronyism,” must lead the way in fighting the virus.
The White House declined to comment. The president has aggressively pushed the anti-malarial drug in the pursuit of a vaccine, calling it a “game changer.”
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases issued guidelines this week stating that experts had collected insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of any antiviral drug or medication that affects the immune system in patients with the coronavirus.
3. The effects of the temporary halt on issuing most green cards are coming into view — and they may change life for one of the largest immigrant groups in the U.S.
People from India make up the majority of the 800,000 immigrants wait-listed for a green card to live or work in the U.S., and many fill specialty roles for companies like Google and Apple. Our correspondents talked to members of the diaspora who now worry for their futures. Above, a rally for India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, in Houston last year.
“I am afraid of losing everything,” Harkamal Singh Khural, 34, a software developer who lives near Atlanta with two daughters who are American citizens. “This is not really about a job. It is about dreams.”
In other immigration news, the Education Department ordered colleges to exclude undocumented students from receiving emergency relief for students dislocated by campus closures — even those known as Dreamers, who are under federal protection.
4. Millions of people are facing a food emergency amid national lockdowns and social-distancing measures that are drying up work and income.
The World Food Program estimated that 265 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by year’s end — 130 million more than expected before the pandemic. Above, a child in Cape Town waiting for food this week.
Our reporters spoke to people worldwide who are now going hungry or facing the prospect of starving: a migrant worker in India, a construction worker displaced from his home in Syria, an aid worker in a shantytown in Kenya.
In the U.S., many who have lost jobs or pay, closed businesses or taken in relatives are being forced to choose where their money goes: Food? Rent? Health insurance?
5. Alarming messages that popped up last month on the cellphones and social media feeds of millions of Americans warned that the Trump administration was about to lock down the entire country.
U.S. intelligence agencies determined that the warnings were amplified by Chinese operatives. They used techniques like creating fake social media accounts to push false messages to receptive Americans, who in turn unwittingly helped spread them.
China’s state propaganda machine has highlighted other countries’ mistakes in stopping their virus outbreaks while suppressing its own, writes our New New World columnist. Above, President Xi Jinping of China visiting Wuhan last month.
6. Local and national leaders across the U.S. have urged their constituents to wear masks — even as they have eschewed them or worn them the wrong way.
The mixed messages seem to be coming from Democrats and Republicans alike. Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado, a Democrat, was masked, above, while speaking in Colorado Springs with an unmasked Vice President Mike Pence last week.
Some politicians who don’t wear masks may be worried about being perceived as alarmist or nervous. But experts say that it’s important to model the behavior you’re asking people to adopt.
Many masks are morphing into symbols of identity as more brands and designers begin selling personal protective equipment. But it’s hard to “avoid the nagging sense that designers are exploiting fear,” writes our chief fashion critic.
7. India’s 50 tiger reserves are on high alert.
After one wild tiger in central India died from what initially was thought to be the coronavirus, and another tiger tested positive for the virus in a New York zoo, officials restricted people’s movement into preserves, sanctuaries and national parks. The country’s 2,967 wild tigers make up roughly three-quarters of the world’s remaining noncaptive population.
But some conservationists say that the virus is a far lesser threat to the animals than poaching, climate change and destruction of their natural habitats.
Elsewhere in the feline world, two house cats in New York State have tested positive for the virus, but U.S. officials said it does not mean that the cats can pass the illness to people. The cats are showing only mild symptoms and are expected to be fine.
8. Looking for things to do at home? We’ve got you covered:
For cooking that is more involved, watch the Chinese internet cooking star Li Ziqi, famous for her mesmerizing videos of rural self-sufficiency. (Her video about cooking fish, for example, involves her fishing in the snow.)
Explore two art gallery shows online: Sterling Crispin’s first solo show, and a photo exhibition about farms during the Great Depression.
Listen to the prologue of “Rabbit Hole,” our new narrative audio series from our tech columnist Kevin Roose. He’ll explore what happens when our lives move online.
9. It’s OK to laugh.
Jokey coronavirus tweets, memes and videos are everywhere, and you shouldn’t feel bad about finding joy in them. Throughout history, humor has played a role in the darkest times, as a psychological salve and a shared release. Above, two comedians, Sam Morril, left, and Taylor Tomlinson, who turned their cohabitation into a web series.
And “it’s still OK to celebrate in the middle of grief,” says Esther Perel, a psychotherapist who recorded a video for our Opinion section.
10. And finally, lockdown love.
They meet at the border each day at 3 p.m. Inga Rasmussen, 85, drives from the Danish side in her Toyota Yaris. Karsten Tüchsen Hansen, 89, cycles from the German side on his electric bike.
With a table, chairs, coffee and schnapps, they sit down on either side of the border that’s been closed for a month and keep their romance alive. “Love is the best thing in the world,” Mr. Hansen said.
Have a love-filled night.
Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.
And don’t miss Your Morning Briefing. Sign up here to get it by email in the Australian, Asian, European, African or American morning.