What You Need to Know Today: Coronavirus, Boris Johnson, Wisconsin


A memo by Peter Navarro, President Trump’s trade adviser, warned in late January that failing to contain a coronavirus outbreak could cost the U.S. trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.

“The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil,” Mr. Navarro’s memo stated.

The memo, dated Jan. 29, was the highest-level alert known to have circulated in the West Wing. It came as the administration was taking its first substantive steps to confront the crisis but during a period in which the president was also playing down the risks.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain spent the night in intensive care after his condition worsened, almost two weeks after testing positive for the virus. His foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, is temporarily in charge of the government.

  • Wisconsin will hold its presidential primary today, the first test in what’s expected to be a fight over the changing of voting rules during the pandemic. The state’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Democratic governor’s attempt to postpone in-person voting, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against an attempt by Wisconsin Democrats to extend the deadline for absentee voting.

  • Global markets rose today after a huge rally on Wall Street. Here’s the latest.

  • The acting Navy secretary, Thomas Modly, addressed sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and criticized them for cheering their captain, who was removed after he requested help amid an outbreak on the ship.

  • After a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the virus, scientists assured pet owners that there is no evidence that domestic cats can spread the virus to people.

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered reassurances to the children of New Zealand, announcing that the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy had been designated essential workers. She cautioned that, because of distancing rules, “the Easter bunny might not make it everywhere this year.”

The details: We’ve updated the expert guidance we’ve compiled on several subjects, including health, money and travel.

Our first coronavirus live briefing was published by the Hong Kong bureau on Jan. 23, in the early days of the outbreak. It has been running ever since, managed in shifts among newsrooms in Hong Kong and London and the headquarters in New York.

“It’s the longest-running live thing The Times has ever done,” said Rebecca Blumenstein, a deputy managing editor. “We’ve never done anything of this scale before.”

Editors and reporters from nearly every desk have volunteered to help lighten that workload. Others were drafted to serve on the digital front lines.



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