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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
2. Hurricane Laura is hurtling toward Louisiana and Texas.
A Category 4 hurricane with winds of nearly 140 miles per hour, Laura is set to make landfall on Thursday morning, most likely near the Texas-Louisiana border. A storm surge, powerful gusts of wind and heavy rains might arrive sooner.
“This is a major hurricane,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, drawing a comparison to the devastating Hurricane Rita in 2005. “It’s going to be a large, powerful storm.”
The worst is bound for a part of his state hit hard by the coronavirus. Shelters are being set up throughout the hurricane zone, but Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas encouraged evacuees to consider booking rooms in hotels and motels instead. Follow our live updates and our tracking map.
Mr. Blake was shot seven times. He is conscious in a hospital. Family members and lawyers say that a bullet severed his spinal cord and that he is partially paralyzed.
In Florida, the Milwaukee Bucks declined to come out of the locker room for the start of their N.B.A. playoff game against the Orlando Magic, a move that appeared to be in protest over Mr. Blake’s shooting.
4. Older men are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Why? The first study to look at immune response by sex has turned up a clue: Men produce a weaker immune response to the virus than women, the researchers concluded.
Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was instructed by Trump administration officials to change its virus testing guidelines to exclude people who do not have symptoms, our reporters learned. Experts have called the revision alarming and dangerous.
In New York City, the coronavirus has retreated, but the rituals of September are disrupted, and a sense of foreboding remains about a possible second wave.
5. What Germany is doing right.
Germany, like other countries that have managed the pandemic fairly well, was quick to deploy widespread testing, effective contact tracing and tests with rapid results. The rate of community transmission shrank. Above, a school director with a father and daughter waiting to be tested in Berlin.
As the U.S. heads into the new school year, the lesson is that classrooms can reopen and remain open if leaders build on that kind of foundation.
Germany’s governing coalition has agreed to extend benefits for furloughed workers until the end of 2021 as the country prepares for additional months of economic pain caused by the pandemic. Although the German economy is rebounding, a full recovery is expected to take years.
6. Thousands of California families forced to evacuate by wildfires are now streaming back — and wondering if, between fires and the coronavirus, they will ever get their old lives back.
It is still early in a wildfire season expected to rage through the fall.
The community at Lake Berryessa in Napa County — mostly retirees and young families who commute to landscaping, winery and service jobs in the wealthier areas — has been reduced to a thicket of tangled steel and ash. Above, family members sift through the remains of a grandmother’s home.
“2020 can go to hell,” said a 65-year-old resident whose trailer home burned down and whose 92-year-old father tested positive for the virus. “This has been the worst year of my life.”
7. The Trump administration has imposed sanctions on 24 Chinese companies that helped Beijing’s military build artificial islands in a disputed part of the South China Sea.
It is the first time that the administration has blacklisted entities in relation to China’s activities in the South China Sea, which stretches south of Hong Kong and borders the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and other countries. Above, a site in Malaysia run by one of the 24 companies.
The Coronavirus Outbreak ›
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated August 24, 2020
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
- In the beginning, the coronavirus seemed like it was primarily a respiratory illness — many patients had fever and chills, were weak and tired, and coughed a lot, though some people don’t show many symptoms at all. Those who seemed sickest had pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome and received supplemental oxygen. By now, doctors have identified many more symptoms and syndromes. In April, the C.D.C. added to the list of early signs sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches. Gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea and nausea, has also been observed. Another telltale sign of infection may be a sudden, profound diminution of one’s sense of smell and taste. Teenagers and young adults in some cases have developed painful red and purple lesions on their fingers and toes — nicknamed “Covid toe” — but few other serious symptoms.
Why does standing six feet away from others help?
- The coronavirus spreads primarily through droplets from your mouth and nose, especially when you cough or sneeze. The C.D.C., one of the organizations using that measure, bases its recommendation of six feet on the idea that most large droplets that people expel when they cough or sneeze will fall to the ground within six feet. But six feet has never been a magic number that guarantees complete protection. Sneezes, for instance, can launch droplets a lot farther than six feet, according to a recent study. It’s a rule of thumb: You should be safest standing six feet apart outside, especially when it’s windy. But keep a mask on at all times, even when you think you’re far enough apart.
I have antibodies. Am I now immune?
- As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that’s perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.
I’m a small-business owner. Can I get relief?
- The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don’t know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.
What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
Also, we went behind the scenes of another situation caused by U.S.-Chinese tensions: TikTok’s talks with Microsoft.
8. Moving entire communities as seas rise.
For years, U.S. policymakers stuck to the belief that relocating entire communities from vulnerable areas was simply too extreme. But that is rapidly changing as climate change turbocharges storms and communities begin to accept that rebuilding over and over makes little sense.
The federal government has long paid to buy and demolish flood-damaged homes, but now the buyouts are on a much larger scale. Greater numbers of people, and even whole neighborhoods, are being relocated, sometimes even before a storm or flood strikes.
“That’s family land,” said Joann Bourg of the Louisiana island property she agreed to leave behind. “But I don’t miss all the water. I don’t miss having to evacuate.”
9. The 19th Amendment became part of the Constitution a century ago today, declaring that the right to vote in the U.S. could not be denied on the basis of sex.
We talked to women ranging in age from 13 to 110 — actors, activists, an athlete and a poet — about what suffrage means to them.
“It’s amazing to me that one of the few things I can point to that women can do on equal footing with men is vote,” wrote Padma Lakshmi, a cookbook author and host and executive producer of “Top Chef” and “Taste the Nation.” “Honestly, I wish we had made much more progress.”
10. And finally, the pleasure of low-maintenance plants.
Katherine Tracey, a garden designer in Massachusetts, has amassed more than 400 kinds of succulents. For the non-gardener, that means “any plants whose leaves, stems or roots can hold water for extended periods of time.”
Ms. Tracey, who teaches workshops on creating wreaths and arrangements with the fleshy-leafed plants, says succulents are easy, if you go easy on them.
Don’t torture them with regular potting soil — use cactus or succulent mix instead. And don’t water them as often as other plants or annuals. “Not over-tending them is the secret,” she says.
Have a trouble-free evening.
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