Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

Amid reopenings, Asian-Americans worry about attacks.


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This is the Coronavirus Briefing, an informed guide to the pandemic. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.


Credit…The New York Times

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for those as young as 6 months may be ready this fall in the U.S.

Sinovac said China approved its vaccine for use in children as young as 3.

U.S. health officials are growing increasingly concerned that Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses may expire this month.

Get the latest updates here, as well as maps and a vaccine tracker.

A reopening that’s not for everyone

Even as millions of Americans leap into a mostly normal summer, some residents are holding back — and it’s not because they’re afraid to get sick.

Following a surge in anti-Asian attacks during the pandemic, many Asian Americans say they fear being attacked if they venture back to normal life.

Some people are still avoiding public transportation, while others are staying away from restaurants or dreading the end of remote work. Some Asian American parents are keeping their children at home out of concern for their safety: Just 18 percent of Asian American fourth graders have returned to in-person learning, compared with three-fourths of their white peers.

The police have recorded a nearly 150 percent rise in attacks against Asian Americans during the pandemic, many of them targeting women and older people. Activists and elected officials say that these attacks were fueled early on in the pandemic by former President Donald Trump, who frequently used racist language when referring to the coronavirus.

But as the country barrels ahead with reopening, many Asian Americans said they were trying to find a way to feel comfortable — as much as possible — in public. Will wearing a mask act as a shield or attract unwanted attention? Are largely Asian neighborhoods safer than non-Asian ones, or more likely to be attacked?

In Folsom, Calif., Cathie Lieu Yasuda said it was still too risky to take her young daughter and son to a Giants game. Whenever she and her children go out, they follow a new rule of social distancing: Not six feet to stop the spread, but arm’s length to keep from getting shoved or punched.

“We’re not afraid,” Lieu Yasuda said. “We’re not cowering. We’re being safe.”

Jeff Le, a political partner at a leadership organization, is still anxious about getting back on a plane since the day in March 2020 when a woman at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport spit on him and said, “Go back to where you came from.”

“It was a feeling of helplessness like I’d never felt before,” he said. “That’s something I can’t shake. It made me feel like I was a cancer or something radioactive.”

Read about the pandemic

The publishing cycle and the pandemic seem to have aligned. Just as the virus appears to be in full retreat in the U.S., bookstores have started to stock their shelves with reflections on the crisis.

If you’re ready to read about what we all just lived through — and are still living through — here are a few notable new releases.

The Plague Year: America in the Time of Covid

Lawrence Wright, a staff writer at The New Yorker, has penned a panoramic history of the pandemic. In her review, Sonali Deraniyagala says the book “shows us what it really looks like when government fails during a disaster.”

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story

Michael Lewis’s account focuses mostly on America’s botched response. The New Republic writes that it “renders the crisis of the moment as a long-gestating case study in the misallocation of policy imagination.”

Life on the Line: Young Doctors Come of Age in a Pandemic

Our colleague Emma Goldberg followed six young doctors who volunteered to graduate early from medical school during the surge in New York City last spring. The Times published an excerpt.

Notes on Grief

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie expanded into a book her 2020 New Yorker essay about her father’s death early in the pandemic. Our reviewer writes that she teaches us “how to gather our disparate selves and navigate the still-raging pandemic.”

A Shot in the Arm!

Don Brown’s kid-friendly graphic novel on the history of vaccines and germ theory explains how we got here and how vaccine technologies work.

Vaccine rollout

Houston Methodist Hospital said it would suspend employees who refused shots, and ultimately seek to fire them.

Poke and toke: Washington State will allow adults to claim a free marijuana joint when they receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

The Philippines said it would expand its vaccination drive by opening up shots to millions more essential workers, but doses remain scarce.

Royal Caribbean, based in Miami, reversed a requirement that most cruise passengers be vaccinated, The Washington Post reports. The move comes after Florida barred businesses from requiring proof of vaccinations.

See how the vaccine rollout is going in your county and state.

What else we’re following

NPR explored how the nation’s largest employer — the federal government — is planning to bring back a million workers to offices next month.

Spain reopened its borders to Americans and other vaccinated visitors from countries that the authorities consider to have a low risk of spreading the virus, the Points Guy reports.

Pilots in India are pleading for better compensation for colleagues who died of Covid.

As New York City begins to reopen, it’s time to have fun again. The downside? The return of FOMO, Matthew Schneier writes in The Cut.

What you’re doing

I am a fully vaccinated essential worker. My daughter, age 10, is not vaccinated and she is suffering from post-Covid hesitancy. Most of me is proud of her social responsibility to continue wearing a mask, washing her hands, and socially distancing per C.D.C. guidance. But the other part of me hurts to see her so concerned and sometimes scared to touch things, or visit a restaurant or grocery store. I am realizing that all this time I was constantly on top of her. Now I can enjoy “the vaccinated life,” but I worry that I’m leaving my daughter behind or that maybe I’ve made her too scared and that she will be permanently hindered.

— Jessica Frederick, Mandeville, La.

Let us know how you’re dealing with the pandemic. Send us a response here, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.

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