What You Need to Know Today: Coronavirus, Anthony Fauci, Tornadoes

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Good morning.

We’re covering the debate over reopening the U.S. economy, a major deal to reduce oil production, and deadly storms in the Southeast.

Gov. Philip Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat, said of returning to a semblance of life before the coronavirus outbreak: “It’s not job No. 1, because right now the house is on fire and job No. 1 is to put the fire out.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that reopening the country would not be an “all or none” proposition and that restrictions must be lifted gradually to prevent a resurgence of cases. He also said that more lives could have been saved if the country had been shut down earlier.

Here are the latest updates from the U.S. and around the world, as well as maps of the pandemic.

We’re also tracking the virus’s growth rate in hundreds of U.S. metro areas.

In other developments:

  • Prodded by President Trump, OPEC, Russia and other oil producers agreed to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels a day in May and June, close to 10 percent of the world’s production. Demand for oil is down about 35 percent since the start of the crisis.

“The Daily”: In today’s episode, Americans discuss how their lives have changed during the pandemic.

Perspective: In an opinion piece for The Times, Joe Biden outlines his strategy for reopening the U.S. economy.

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

The Times is providing free access to much of our coronavirus coverage, and our Coronavirus Briefing newsletter — like all of our newsletters — is free. Please consider supporting our journalism with a subscription.

How does this differ from what you normally do?

Elisabeth: I am usually the deputy travel editor. What I have been doing is figuring out what service stories are needed now. There are three ways I’m approaching it. First, what kind of stories are we hearing from our reporting? Second, what reader questions are coming in? Third, we’re reviewing what people are searching for on Google. Then, actually, fourth is whatever comes out of Karen’s mind.

Karen: My logic, having been an editor for Smarter Living for a couple of years, is that if I’m wondering about it, a lot of other people probably are.

What does an average day look like for you?

Karen: We both have kids, so we’re balancing that. They’re all home. I find myself constantly checking Slack and email and furiously working during windows when they’re busy with other things.

Elisabeth: I have been waking up early to get as much work done as I can before my son is awake. We have a lot of meetings. There’s just so much news. In the afternoon, I’m doing a lot of editing. We’re taking ideas from our own lives, because we know that other people are having these issues, too.

How do you decompress?

Elisabeth: You have to walk around. Drink water.

I think everyone needs to be really disciplined, and I need to start taking my own advice on making sure that we know this is a marathon, not a sprint. And additionally, being good to my mental health, being good to all my co-workers and everyone I know.

Karen: I have a dog who I’ve never loved more because he gets me out of the house twice a day.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
Melissa Clark provided the recipe, and Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh the rest of the break from the news. The Back Story is based on reporting by Danya Issawi. You can reach the team at
[email protected]

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about life in the U.S. during the pandemic.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Prayer ender (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Sam Sifton, the founding editor of NYT Cooking, and our restaurant critics will discuss the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the restaurant industry during a group call with readers at 4 p.m. Eastern today. R.S.V.P. here.

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