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overwhelmed. Instead of merely provid-
ing aid to former colonies, Western Eu-
rope became an epicenter of the pan-
demic. Officials once boastful about
their preparedness were frantically try-
ing to secure protective gear and ma-
terials for tests, as death rates soared in
Britain, France, Spain, Italy and Bel-
gium.This was not supposed to happen. The
expertise and resources of Western Eu-
rope were expected to provide the anti-
dote to viral outbreaks flowing out of
poorer regions. Many European leaders
felt so secure after the last pandemic
the 2009 swine flu that they scaled
back stockpiles of equipment and
faulted medical experts for overreact-
ing. But that confidence would prove their
undoing. Their pandemic plans were
built on a litany of miscalculations and
false assumptions. European leaders
boasted of the superiority of their world-
class health systems but had weakened
them with a decade of cutbacks. When
Covid-19 arrived, those systems were
unable to test widely enough to see the
peak coming or to guarantee the safety
of health care workers after it hit. Accountability mechanisms proved
toothless. Thousands of pages of na-
tional pandemic planning turned out to
Prof. Chris Whitty, Britains chief medi-
cal adviser, stood before an auditorium
in a London museum two years ago, cat-
aloging deadly epidemics.
From the Black Death of the 14th cen-
tury to cholera in war-torn Yemen, it
was a grim history. But Professor
Whitty, who had spent most of his career
fighting infectious diseases in Africa,
was reassuring. Britain, he said, had a
special protection. Being rich, he explained.
Wealth massively hardens a society
against epidemics, he argued, and qual-
ity of life food, housing, water and
health care was more effective than
any medicine at stopping the diseases
that ravaged the developing world. Professor Whittys confidence was
hardly unique. As recently as February,
when European health ministers met in Brussels to discuss the coronavirus
emerging in China, they commended
their own health systems and promised
to send aid to poor and developing coun-
Responsibility is incumbent on us,
not only for Italy and Europe, but also for the African continent, said Roberto
Speranza, Italys health minister.
The European Union should be
ready for support, agreed Maggie De
Block, who was then Belgiums health
minister. Barely a month later, Europe was E UROPE , PAGE 4
Europes great fall
A false sense of security
lulled countries until the
virus overwhelmed them
A temporary morgue was set up in the garage of a mosque in Birmingham
in April to help the city cope with deaths from the coronavirus.
Steven Pinker occupies a role that is
rare in American life: the celebrity intel-
lectual. The Harvard professor pops up
on such outlets as PBS and the Joe Ro-
gan podcast, translating dense subjects
into accessible ideas with enthusiasm.
Bill Gates called his most recent book
my new favorite book of all time.So when more than 550 academics re-
cently signed a letter seeking to remove
him from the list of distinguished fel-
lows of the Linguistic Society of Amer-
ica, it drew attention to their provoca-
tive charge that Professor Pinker min-
imizes racial injustices and drowns out
the voices of those who suffer sexist and
racist indignities. But the letter was striking for another
reason. It took aim, not at Professor
Pinkers scholarly work, but at six of his tweets dating to 2014, and at a two-word
phrase he used in a 2011 book about a
centuries-long decline in violence.
Dr. Pinker has a history of speaking
over genuine grievances and downplay-
ing injustices, frequently by misrepre-
senting facts, and at the exact moments
when Black and Brown people are mobi-
lizing against systemic racism and for
crucial changes, their letter stated. The linguists demanded that the soci-
ety revoke Professor Pinkers status as
a distinguished fellow and strike his
name from its list of media experts. The
societys executive committee declined
to do so this month, stating, It is not the
mission of the society to control the
opinions of its members, nor their ex-
pression. But a charge of racial insensitivity
carries power in the current climate,
and the letter sounded another shot in
the fraught cultural battles now erupt-
ing in academia and publishing. Also this month, 153 intellectuals and
writers many of them political liber-
als signed a letter in Harpers Maga-
Its not the scholarship, its the tweets
Harvard professor becomes
entangled in cultural spat
over free speech and race
BY MICHAEL POWELL Steven Pinker, a professor at Harvard, in 2018. He has been accused of racial insensitiv-
ity by more than 550 academics he described as the speech police.
The New York Times publishes opinion
from a wide range of perspectives in
hopes of promoting constructive debate
about consequential questions. Motivated, educated and fresh from fin-
ishing police academy in Turkey, Second
Lt. Zala Zazai had stellar qualifications
for the job she took in eastern Afghani-
stan in June. It all mattered little, once
she started.
On social media, she was called a
prostitute, and men wrote that her very
presence on the force would corrupt
Khost Province, where she was posted.
Her colleagues at Police Headquarters
where she was the only female officer
on a staff of nearly 500 tried to intimi-
date her into wearing a conservative
head scarf and traditional clothes in-
stead of her uniform, and to hide in back
corners of the office, away from the pub-
lic, she said. Shopkeepers arrived at the
stations gates with no other business
but to get a look at this novelty. Lieutenant Zazai, 21, came home from
her first day feeling sick and frightened.
She felt so unsafe that she asked her
mother, Spesalai, who had accompanied
her from Kabul, to stay with her at a
shelter deep inside Police Headquar-
ters. At night, the two women locked the
door. During the day, Lieutenant Zazai
scrambled to expedite the paperwork
for a pistol.
I want to have something to defend
myself with, she said. Helping Afghan women, who were
banished to their homes by the Taliban
during their government in the 1990s,
became a rallying cry for Western in-
volvement in Afghanistan after the U.S.
invasion in 2001. Two decades later, the
rise of a generation of educated, profes-
sional Afghan women is an undeniable
sign of change. Now, with the possibility of power-
sharing talks opening between the Tal-
iban and the Afghan government, many
women are worried that the strides they
have made are at risk. What adds to
their concern is how fragile the gains re-
main after two decades, where every
mundane step is still a daily battle.
Even after more than a billion dollars
have been spent on womens empow-
erment projects, the daily reality for
women trying to break into public roles
particularly with the government and
the security forces remains bleak.
Women are still almost completely ab-
sent in high-level meetings where deci-
sions of war, peace and politics are
made. Work for women at routine jobs is
a daily barrage of harassment, insult
and abuse.
Among the police forces, which have
been the focus of diversification efforts
for years, women still make up only 2.8
For women
in Afghan
police force,
a daily battle
Empowerment efforts
havent stemmed the abuse
they face in public roles
Second Lt. Zala Zazai at Police Headquarters in Khost, Afghanistan. When she started her job in June, Lieutenant Zazai was the only female officer on a staff of nearly 500. KIANA HAYERI FOR THE NEW YORK TIMESLeaked news this month that China and
Iran had come to the verge of signing a
25-year trade and military partnership
agreement struck like a geopolitical
storm in Washington a rising rival of
America and a longtime foe joining
forces to threaten the United Statess
predominant position in the Middle
The agreement ambitiously promises
to bring a huge Chinese presence into
Irans economic development, in ex-
change for a regular supply of heavily
discounted Iranian oil. Yet in Iran and China themselves, the
reaction was hardly ebullient. Critics of
Irans beleaguered president, Hassan
Rouhani, called the deal a new Treaty of Turkmenchay, after
the notorious 1828
accord under which
a weakened Persia
ceded much of the
South Caucasus to
the Russian Em-
pire. In Beijing, a
spokesman who
was asked about
the deal dodged
rather than criti-
cize Washington,
insisting blandly that Iran is merely one
of many countries with which China is
developing normal friendly relations,
and claiming not to have further infor-
mation about the reported deal. Tehrans and Beijings ambivalence
hardly suggests a loving embrace be-
tween the two adversaries of America;
rather, it reveals the conundrum each
faces in pursuing closer ties with the
other conundrums that the United
States can turn to its advantage.
In recent years, as the United States
has been bogged down in unrewarding
conflicts in the Middle East, China has
been quietly expanding its economic,
diplomatic and even military activities
in the region. Beijings motives are
straightforward but varied: It seeks to
advance its interests, such as a pressing
need for energy imports and for destina-
tions for surplus capital and labor. In
practice, it tries to advance President Xi
Jinpings signature Belt and Road Ini-
tiative, which is aimed at reshaping
regional economic topographies in
Chinas favor and counters what Beijing
sees as an American effort to contain it.
In short, China seeks to establish itself
in the eyes of the world and its own
people as a great power capable of
contending with the United States. Yet Chinese leaders are aware that
few of the great powers have emerged
unscathed from Middle East adven-
The politics
of when Iran
met China
Michael Singh
A partner-
ship between
Americas main
Middle East
adversary and
Asias rising
bears careful
, PAGE 11 Re
ad, wa tch and lis ten to the s tories. ny Mo
dern Lo ve The joys.
The tribulations.
The twists.
The tribulations.
The twists.
The twists.

Y(1J85IC*KKNSKM( +@!"!$!@!" Issue Number
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percent of employees and that is the
highest level in 18 years. Most of those
3,800 women are in hidden roles with lit-
tle contact with the public, officials ac-
knowledged. Only five of the total of
about 200 military and civilian leader-
ship positions at the Interior Ministry
are occupied by women.
For much of the past two decades, the
task of including women in the police
forces often fell on former warlords and
commanders whose beliefs about wom-
en differed only slightly from the Tal-
ibans, if at all. President Ashraf Ghani has increased
the number of female ambassadors, in-
troduced female deputy governors and
ministers, and sent female deputies to
the ministries of defense and interior.
But Afghan society remains deeply pa-
triarchal, and the few women who have
risen to such positions face many diffi-
culties. The strategy to include more women
at less senior positions has been mostly
to spend money and meet modest quo-
tas. In the past six years, the Afghan
government and its Western allies have
spent more than $100 million on building
facilities to support Afghan women in
the security forces. In Nangarhar Prov-
ince, they spent $6 million on a training
facility for female police officers that re-
mains unused three years after comple-
tion. After repeated failures, recruitment
efforts essentially boiled down to brib-
ing women to join the force and stay. A
womans incentives to join the police in-
clude eight more benefits than her male
counterparts, according to Hosna Jalil,
the deputy minister of interior. On sev-
eral occasions, women of retirement age
were allowed to fake their IDs and lower
their age to stay on the force, she said. Still, the goal of a 5 percent female
presence in the police force has never
been met. Every province I have gone to, the
first thing I say is that you are a force
that is only working for men not for
women or children, the two most vulner-
able categories who are left behind, Ms.
Jalil said. It is not because qualified, willing
women are lacking. It is because to join
the police is to endure abuse and degra-
dation. Sexual harassment has been rampant
in the security forces, with reports that
the wives of officers killed in line of duty
were harassed when they came to col-
lect death benefits. The perception that
female police officers were frequently
harassed meant that women who were victims of domestic violence and other
crimes dared not visit police stations.
If only we had guaranteed a father
that the dignity of your daughter is more
protected in the ranks of the police be-
cause she has authority and profession-
alism here, Ms. Jalil said. We havent
been able to create that mentality. Among those who endured years of
mistreatment to follow her dream of ris-
ing in the security forces is Capt. Rahima Ataee, a 13-year veteran of the
Afghan police special forces who now
serves as the uniformed secretary to
Ms. Jalil in the Interior Ministry.
Captain Ataees father, a retired police
colonel, admitted her to the police acad-
emy, and her physical endurance quali-
fied her for the special forces. She spent
weeks at a time on the front lines in
provinces under attack by the Taliban. But at the mere question of how her male colleagues treated her in the field,
she broke down. She said the bullying
and abuse was such that I developed
mental problems.
She would not tell her father at the
time, she said, because she thought it
would break his heart and lead him to
prevent her from working. Every time
she complained about the work envi-
ronment after returning from a mission,
she said, she would get the same an- swer: Well, you are getting paid.
Before Ms. Jalil began her job as the
deputy minister for strategy and policy
hired by Mr. Ghani to be fresh eyes in
an institution long seen as corrupt and
dysfunctional she had to fight for ac-
ceptance. Generals walked out of meetings
when they found out she was in charge.
Subordinates often fed her wrong infor-
mation to undermine her. I often have to say I am not the head
of the gender department I am the
policy and strategy deputy to the min-
ister of interior. I work for this large
force that is both male and female, Ms.
Jalil said. I may have a female outlook,
but any woman who comes should come
for their expertise, not for them being a
woman. These days, despite frequent sexist
attacks on social media, Ms. Jalil says
she has found her footing as part of a
leadership team that is working to re-
form the police. Its members spend long
hours in a quiet basement office poring
over charts of a bloated structure that
they are trimming, and have removed
unnecessary bureaucratic steps that
created opportunities for corruption.
They are trying to hold the officers to
new standards of accountability, and to
better care for the families of tens of
thousands of police officers killed in dec-
ades of war. Lieutenant Zazai, who serves at the
Police Headquarters in Khost, grew up
in Kabul, the capital. Her mother, Spe-
salai Zazai, has been the head of their
household for seven years, and although
her male relatives were opposed, she,
her older sister, and her mother at-
tended after-hours university classes fi-
nanced with their own day jobs.
Lieutenant Zazai and her older sister
are now both police officers. But they
were willing to take the first step only
when an opportunity came up to train in
Turkey, because of concerns about har-
assment and abuse in the local training
The signs of the difficulty ahead were
clear when the women arrived at the Po-
lice Headquarters in Khost to obtain sig-
natures needed for their applications.
What kind of a mother are you,
bringing your young, unmarried daugh-
ters to become police? Spesalai Zazai
recalled one of the officers telling her. After starting her job in June, Lieu-
tenant Zazai found a difficult and lonely
environment. At the time, she was the
only professional female officer in
Khost. On her first day, she was catcalled by
her fellow officers. Those at her office
tried to convince her that it was better
for her to work in conservative Islamic
garb than to wear a uniform. When she
insisted, they found a new tack: She
should wear a mask, even though her
colleagues did not. The pretext was
Covid-19, the intention was to cover her. For the first two weeks, Lieutenant
Zazai would spend her days at work, and
in the evening she would retreat to the
government guesthouse with her
mother. She hadnt faced a direct physi-
cal threat, she said, but she was aware of
the reality, and her lack of a weapon add-
ed to her vulnerability. She was devastated when her mother
had to go back to Kabul, but Lieutenant
Zazai is trying to make a go of it in Khost. May God make it easier, she said.
But I have to find the strength be-
cause it cant go on like this, women
should claim their place. I know if I
spend a year here, it will make a differ-
A daily battle for women in the Afghan police
Top, Second Lt. Zala Zazai in her office at
Police Headquarters in Khost, Afghani-
stan, and above, with her mother, who
accompanied her from Kabul to provide
crucial support as she started her job.
Right, Hosna Jalil, at right, Afghanistans
deputy minister of interior, with her
secretary, Capt. Rahima Ataee.
when they found out she was in
charge. Subordinates often fed
her wrong information.
Farooq Jan Mangal contributed report-
ing from Khost, and Zabihullah Ghazi
from Nangarhar.
zine that criticized the current intellec-
tual climate as constricted and intol-
erant. That led to a fiery response from
opposing liberal and leftist writers, who
accused the Harpers letter writers of
elitism and hypocrisy. In an era of polarizing ideologies, Pro-
fessor Pinker, a linguist and social psy-
chologist, is tough to pin down. He is a
big supporter of Democrats, and donat-
ed heavily to former President Barack
Obama, but he has denounced what he
sees as the close-mindedness of heavily
liberal American universities. He likes
to publicly entertain ideas outside the
academic mainstream, including the
question of innate differences between
the sexes and among different ethnic
and racial groups. And he has suggested
that the political lefts insistence that
certain subjects are off limits contribut-
ed to the rise of far-right extremism. Reached at his home on Cape Cod,
Professor Pinker, 65, noted that as a
tenured faculty member and estab-
lished author, he could weather the cam-
paign against him. But he said it could
chill junior faculty members who hold
views counter to prevailing intellectual
currents. I have a mind-set that the world is a
complex place we are trying to under-
stand, he said. There is an inherent
value to free speech, because no one
knows the solution to problems a priori. He described his critics as speech po-
lice who have trawled through my
writings to find offensive lines and ad-
jectives. The letter against him focuses mainly
on his activity on Twitter, where he has
some 600,000 followers. It points to his
2015 tweet of an article from The Up-
shot, the data and analysis-focused
team at The New York Times, which suggested that the high number of po-
lice shootings of Black people may not
have been caused by racial bias of indi-
vidual police officers, but rather by the
larger structural and economic realities
that result in the police having dispro-
portionately high numbers of encoun-
ters with Black residents.
Data: Police dont shoot blacks dis-
proportionately, Professor Pinker
tweeted with a link to the article. Prob-
lem: Not race, but too many police
shootings. The linguists letter noted that the ar-
ticle made plain that police killings are a
racial problem, and accused Professor
Pinker of making dishonest claims in
order to obfuscate the role of systemic
racism in police violence. But the article also suggested that be-
cause every encounter with the police
carries danger of escalation, any racial
group interacting with the police fre-
quently risked becoming victims of po-
lice violence, because of poorly trained
officers, armed suspects or overreac-
tion. That appeared to be the point of
Professor Pinkers tweet. The linguists letter also accused the
professor of engaging in racial dog whis-
tles when he used the words urban
crime and urban violence in other
tweets. But in those tweets, Professor Pinker
had linked to the work of scholars who
are widely described as experts on ur-
ban crime and urban violence and its de-
Urban appears to be a usual termi-
nological choice in work in sociology, po-
litical science, law and criminology,
wrote Jason Merchant, vice provost and
a linguistics professor at the University
of Chicago, who defended Professor
Pinker. Another issue, Professor Pinkers
critics say, is contained in his 2011 book,
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why
Violence Has Declined. In a wide-rang-
ing description of crime and urban de-
cay and its effect on the culture of the
1970s and 1980s, he wrote that Bern-
hard Goetz, a mild-mannered engineer,
became a folk hero for shooting four
young muggers in a New York subway
car. The linguists letter took strong issue
with the words mild-mannered, noting
that a neighbor later said that Mr. Goetz
had spoken in racist terms of Latinos
and Black people. He was not mild-
mannered but rather intent on con-
frontation, they said. The origin of the letter remains a mys-
tery. Of 10 signers contacted by The
Times, only one hinted that she knew
the identity of the authors. Many of the
linguists proved shy about talking, and
since the letter first surfaced on Twitter
on July 3, several prominent linguists
have said their names had been includ-
ed without their knowledge. Several department heads in linguis-
tics and philosophy signed the letter, in-
cluding Prof. Barry Smith of the Univer-
sity at Buffalo and Prof. Lisa Davidson
of New York University. Professor
Smith did not return calls and an email
and Professor Davidson declined to
comment when The Times reached out. The linguists letter touched only
lightly on questions that have raised
storms for Professor Pinker in the past.
In the debate over whether nature or nurture shapes human behavior, he has
leaned toward nature, arguing that
characteristics like psychological traits
and intelligence are to some degree her-
He has also suggested that underrep-
resentation in the sciences could be
rooted in part in biological differences
between men and women. (He defended
Lawrence Summers, the former Har-
vard president who in 2005 speculated
that innate differences between the
sexes might in part explain why fewer
women succeed in science and math ca-
reers. Mr. Summerss remark infuriated
some female scientists and was among
several controversies that led to his res-
ignation the following year.)
And Professor Pinker has made high-
profile blunders, such as when he pro-
vided his expertise on language for the
2007 defense of the financier Jeffrey Ep-
stein on sex trafficking charges. He has
said that he did so free of charge and at
the request of a friend, the Harvard law
professor Alan Dershowitz, and regrets
The clash may also reflect the fact
that Professor Pinkers rosy outlook
he argues that the world is becoming a
better place, by almost any measure,
from poverty to literacy sounds dis-
cordant during this painful moment of
national reckoning with the still-ugly
scars of racism and inequality. The linguists society, like many aca-
demic and nonprofit organizations, re-
cently released a wide-ranging state-
ment calling for greater diversity in the
field. It also urged linguists to confront how their research might reproduce or
work against racism.
John McWhorter, a Columbia Univer-
sity professor of English and linguistics,
cast the Pinker controversy within a
moment when, he said, progressives
look suspiciously at anyone who does
not embrace the politics of racial and
cultural identity. Steve is too big for this
kerfuffle to affect him, Professor
McWhorter said. But its depressing
that an erudite and reasonable scholar
is seen by a lot of intelligent people as an
undercover monster. Because this is a fight involving lin-
guists, it features some expected ele-
ments: intense arguments about impre-
cise wording and sly intellectual put-
downs. Professor Pinker may have in-
flamed matters when he suggested in
response to the letter that its signers
lacked stature. I recognize only one
name among the signatories, he
tweeted. The linguists insisted they were not
attempting to censor Professor Pinker.
Rather, they were intent on showing that
he had been deceitful and used racial
dog whistles, and thus, was a disrep-
utable representative for linguistics.
Any resulting action from this letter
may make it clear to Black scholars that
the L.S.A. is sensitive to the impact that
tweets of this sort have on maintaining
structures that we should be attempting
to dismantle, Prof. David Adger of
Queen Mary University of London
wrote on his website. That line of argument left Professor
McWhorter, a signer of the letter in
Harpers, exasperated. Were in this moment thats like a col-
lective mic drop, he said, and civility
and common sense go out the window.
Its enough to cry racism or sexism, and
thats that.
The trouble lies not in scholarly tomes, but in tweets
Steven Pinker, left, in 2018 during a TED conference with Chris Anderson, the curator.
The world is a complex place we are trying to understand, Dr. Pinker recently said.
minimizing racial injustices.

Polar bears could become nearly extinct
by the end of the century as a result of
shrinking sea ice in the Arctic if global
warming continues unabated, scientists
said in a study released this week.
Nearly all of the 19 subpopulations of
polar bears, from the Beaufort Sea off
Alaska to the Siberian Arctic, would face
being wiped out because the loss of sea
ice would force the animals onto land
and away from their food supplies for
longer periods, the researchers said.
Prolonged fasting, and reduced nursing
of cubs by mothers, would lead to rapid
declines in reproduction and survival.
There is very little chance that polar
bears would persist anywhere in the
world, except perhaps in the very high
Arctic in one small subpopulation if
greenhouse gas emissions continue at
so-called business-as-usual levels, said
Peter K. Molnar, a researcher at the Uni-
versity of Toronto Scarborough and lead
author of the study, which was published
Monday in the journal Nature Climate
Change. Even if emissions were reduced to
more moderate levels, we still are un-
fortunately going to lose some, espe-
cially some of the southernmost popula-
tions, to sea-ice loss, Dr. Molnar said. The fate of polar bears has long been a
flash point in the debate over human-
caused climate change, used by scien-
tists and environmentalists as well as
deniers in their arguments. By rough estimates there are about
25,000 polar bears in the Arctic. Their
main habitat is sea ice, where they hunt
seals by waiting for them to surface at
holes in the ice. In some areas the bears
remain on the ice year round, but in oth-
ers the melting in spring and summer
forces them to come ashore. You need the sea ice to capture your
food, Dr. Molnar said. Theres not
enough food on land to sustain a polar
bear population. But bears can fast for
months, surviving on the energy from
the fat theyve built up thanks to their
seal diet. Arctic sea ice grows in the winter and
melts and retreats in spring and sum-
mer. As the region has warmed rapidly
in recent decades, ice extent in summer
has declined by about 13 percent per
decade compared with the 1981 to 2010
average. Some parts of the Arctic that
previously had ice year-round now have
ice-free periods in summer. Other parts
are now free of ice for a longer portion of
the year than in the past.
Dr. Molnar and his colleagues looked
at 13 of the subpopulations representing
about 80 percent of the total bear popu-
lation. They calculated the bears ener-
gy requirements in order to determine
how long they could survive or, in the
case of females, survive and nurse their
cubs while fasting. Combining that with climate-model
projections of ice-free days to 2100 if
present rates of warming continue, they
determined that, for almost all of the
subgroups, the time that the animals
would be forced to fast would eventually
exceed the time that they are capable of
fasting. In short, the animals would starve.
Theres going to be a time point when
you run out of energy, Dr. Molnar said. Compounding the problem is that a
longer fasting time also means a shorter
feeding period. Not only do the bears
have to fast for longer and need more
energy to get through this, they also
have a harder time to accumulate this
energy, he said. While fasting, bears move as little as
possible to conserve energy. But sea-ice
loss and population declines create new problems having to expend more en-
ergy searching for a mate, for example
that could further affect survival.
Even under more modest warming
projections, in which greenhouse gas
emissions peak by 2040 and then begin
to decline, many of the subgroups would
still be wiped out, the research showed. Over the years, polar bears have be-
come a symbol both for those who argue
that urgent action on global warming is
needed and for those who claim that cli-
mate change is not happening or, at best,
that the issue is overblown. Groups including the Cato Institute, a
libertarian research organization that
challenges aspects of climate change,
have called concerns about the bears
unwarranted, arguing that some re-
search shows that the animals have sur-
vived repeated warm periods. But sci- entists say during earlier warm periods
the bears probably had significant alter-
native food sources, notably whales,
that they do not have today.
The new research did not include pro-
jections in which emissions were re-
duced drastically, said Cecilia M. Bitz,
an atmospheric scientist at the Univer-
sity of Washington and an author of the
study. The researchers needed to be
able to determine, as precisely as possi-
ble, the periods when sea ice would be
gone from a particular region. If we had
wanted to look at many models we
wouldnt have been able to do that, Dr.
Bitz said.
Andrew Derocher, a polar bear re-
searcher at the University of Alberta
who was not involved in the study, said
the findings are very consistent with
what were seeing from, for instance, monitoring the animals in the wild. The
study shows clearly that polar bears are
going to do better with less warming,
he added. But no matter which sce-
nario you look at, there are serious con-
cerns about conservation of the
Of the 19 subpopulations, little is
known about some of them, particularly
those in the Russian Arctic. Of subpopu-
lations that have been studied, some
generally those in areas with less ice
loss have shown little population de- cline so far. But others, notably in the
southern Beaufort Sea off northeastern
Alaska, and in the western Hudson Bay
in Canada, have been severely affected
by loss of sea ice.
One analysis found that the Southern
Beaufort Sea subpopulation declined by
40 percent, to about 900 bears, in the
first decade of this century.
Dr. Derocher said that one drawback
with studies like these is that, while they
can show the long-term trends, it be-
comes very difficult to model what is
happening from year to year. Polar bear populations can be very
susceptible to drastic year-to-year
changes in conditions, he said. One of
the big conservation challenges is that
one or two bad years can take a popula-
tion that is healthy and push it to really
low levels.
Polar bears are facing a grim future
Climate change is driving
the predators toward
extinction, researchers say
Shrinking Arctic sea ice is a key contributor to the threat against polar bears. A shortage of ice forces the bears onto land and away from their food supplies for long periods. PETER BARRITT/SUPERSTOCK, VIA ALAMY
There is very little chance
that polar bears would persist
anywhere in the world, except
perhaps in the very high Arctic.
After spending several anxious days in
prison, Natasha Narwal, a student activ-
ist accused of rioting by the New Delhi
police, thought her ordeal was nearing
an end. A judge ruled that Ms. Narwal had
been exercising her democratic rights
when she participated earlier this year
in protests against a citizenship law that
led to unrest across India. But shortly after the judge approved
Ms. Narwals release, in late May, the po-
lice announced fresh charges: murder,
terrorism and organizing protests that
instigated deadly religious violence in
Indias capital. Ms. Narwal, 32, who has
said that she is innocent, was returned
to her cell.
I felt like crying, said her roommate,
Vikramaditya Sahai. We are grieving
the country we grew up in.
As India struggles to quell surging co-
ronavirus infections, lawyers accuse the
authorities of rounding up government
critics and keeping them in detention in
the middle of a pandemic. It is part of a
strategy, they say, to stifle activists who
are protesting what they see as iron-
fisted and discriminatory policies under
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In recent weeks, Ms. Narwal and
nearly a dozen other prominent activ-
ists along with potentially dozens of
other demonstrators, though police
records are unclear have been de-
tained. They are being held under strin-
gent sedition and antiterrorism laws
that have been used to criminalize activ-
ities like leading rallies and posting po-
litical messages on social media. Indias coronavirus restrictions, some
of which are still in effect, have blocked
pathways to justice, lawyers and rights
activists say. With courts closed for
weeks, lawyers have struggled to file
bail applications, and meeting privately
with prisoners has been nearly impossi-
ble. Law enforcement officials in New
Delhi, who are under the direct control
of the Ministry of Home Affairs, have de-
nied any impropriety. But rights groups
say the arrests have been arbitrary,
based on scant evidence and in line with
a broader deterioration of free speech. In a lengthy report released this
month, the Delhi Minorities Commis-
sion, a government body, accused the
police and politicians from Mr. Modis
party of inciting brutal attacks on pro-
testers and supporting a pogrom
against minority Muslims. Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia
director of Human Rights Watch, said
that cases against the activists ap-
peared to be politically motivated and
that the police had devised a formula for
keeping people like Ms. Narwal in jail:
When a judge orders the release of a
prisoner for lack of evidence, new
charges are introduced. The urgency to arrest rights activ-
ists and an obvious reluctance to act
against violent actions of the govern-
ments supporters show a complete
breakdown in the rule of law, she said. Before the pandemic hit, Mr. Modi
was in the throes of the most significant
challenge to his power since becoming
prime minister in 2014. After Parliament
passed a law last year that made it easi-
er for non-Muslim migrants to become
Indian citizens, millions protested
across the country. To critics, the citizenship law was
more evidence that Mr. Modis Hindu
nationalist government planned to strip
the countrys Muslims of their rights. Tensions peaked in February when
sectarian violence and rioting broke out
in New Delhi. The vast majority of peo-
ple killed, hurt or displaced were Mus-
lim, and the police were involved in
many of those cases. After Mr. Modi announced a nation-
wide lockdown in late March to contain
the coronavirus, shutting down busi-
nesses and ordering all 1.3 billion Indi-
ans inside, the protests disbanded. Law-
yers said the police then moved to de-
tain demonstrators while skirting com-
plaints against government allies. Among those in custody are a youth
activist who raised awareness about po-
lice brutality against Muslims; an aca-
demic who gave a speech opposing the
citizenship law; and Ms. Narwal, a grad-
uate student who co-founded Pinjra Tod,
or Break the Cage, a womens collective
that organized large rallies.
Nitika Khaitan, a criminal lawyer,
said the crackdown had also pushed be-
yond higher-profile critics to include or- dinary residents of riot-hit neighbor-
hoods. She recently challenged those ar-
rests in a jointly signed letter to the
Delhi High Court.
Lawyers have tracked a few dozen
such arrests under the lockdown,
though Ms. Khaitan said the true figure
could not be verified because police re-
ports had not been made public. Many
detentions were not in compliance with
constitutional mandates, she said. In a recent interview, Sachidanand
Shrivastava, the police chief in New
Delhi, said his officers were conducting
fair investigations.
In May, the authorities said they had
detained about 1,300 people for involve-
ment in the protests and riots, including an equal number of Hindus and Mus-
lims. Recently, the police arrested a
group of Hindus for forcing nine Muslim
men to chant Hail Lord Ram, a refer-
ence to a Hindu god, before killing them
and throwing their bodies into a drain.
It is very important that the police
force remain impartial, Mr. Shrivas-
tava said. And we are following this
principle from Day 1. But members of Indias judiciary have
questioned the official numbers, accus-
ing the police of withholding informa-
tion about the arrests under national se-
curity protections and singling out Mus-
lims for many of the harsher charges. In court proceeding notes reviewed
by The Times, a judge hearing a case against a Muslim protester wrote that
the police appeared to be targeting only
one end without probing the rival fac-
tion. During the riots, the police were
accused of abetting Hindus and, in some
cases, torturing Muslims.
Khalid Saifi, a member of United
Against Hate, a group that works with
victims of hate crimes, was arrested af-
ter he tried to mediate between the po-
lice and protesters, according to his law-
yers. The police charged him with being a
key conspirator of the riots. His wife,
Nargis Saifi, said he was tortured in cus-
His only crime is he is a Muslim, she
M.S. Randhawa, a police spokesman,
denied that Mr. Saifi had been tortured,
adding that he has regular opportunities
to speak to a judge if abuse occurs. These are just allegations, Mr.
Randhawa said. He would have told the
magistrate if he had been tortured. But rights advocates accuse Mr.
Modis government of shielding party
officials and more broadly, of Hindus
involved in the violence. Ms. Narwal, who was detained in May,
could face at least several years in pris-
on for helping organize demonstrations
that blocked a busy road in northeast
Delhi, where Februarys bloodiest bat-
tles between Hindus and Muslims broke
out. The police have accused her of play-
ing a leading role in the riots, charging
her with murder, attempt to murder and
being part of a criminal conspiracy. At the same time, the police have been
accused of ignoring complaints against
Kapil Mishra, a local politician with Mr.
Modis Bharatiya Janata Party who
gave a fiery speech threatening to re-
move Ms. Narwal and other protesters
forcibly if the authorities did not take ac-
tion. Hours after the ultimatum, the streets
erupted. But charges were never filed
against Mr. Mishra, who has denied a
role in starting the riots.
India arrests critics with virus as cover, activists say
Karan Deep Singh contributed reporting.
A lockdown checkpoint in New Delhi. Lawyers say the authorities have seized on volatility from the pandemic to stifle activism.
Sedition and antiterrorism laws
have criminalized activities such
as leading rallies and posting
political messages online.

An article on Friday about the lobby-
ing efforts in Washington by the Chi-
nese-owned video app TikTok misstated
the name of the news program that
hosted Peter Navarros interview. It was
Fox News Channels Sunday Morning Futures, not Fox Business.

An article in the July 11-12 weekend
edition about the Dance on Camera fes-
tival misspelled the name of a dancer in
Bend. She is Troy Ogilvie, not Ogilive.
CORRECTIONS be little more than exercises in bureau-
cratic busy work. Officials in some coun-
tries barely consulted their plans; in
other countries, leaders ignored warn-
ings about how quickly a virus could
European Union checks of each coun-
trys readiness had become rituals of
self-congratulation. Mathematical mod-
els used to predict pandemic spreads
and to shape government policy fed a
false sense of security. National stockpiles of medical sup-
plies were revealed to exist mostly on
paper, consisting in large part of just in
time contracts with manufacturers in
China. European planners overlooked
the risk that a pandemic, by its global
nature, could disrupt those supply
chains. National wealth was powerless
against worldwide shortages. Belgium, by some measures, has the
worlds highest death rate. Italys
wealthiest region was shattered.
Frances much-praised health system
was reduced to relying on military heli-
copters to rescue patients from over-
crowded hospitals. Britain, though,
most embodies Europes miscalcula-
tions because of the countrys great
pride in its expertise and readiness. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was so
confident that Britains modelers could
forecast the epidemic with precision,
records and testimony show, that he de-
layed locking down the country for days
or weeks after most of Europe. He
waited until two weeks after British
emergency rooms began to buckle un-
der the strain, with the number of infec-
tions doubling every three days. Some
scientists now say that locking down a
week sooner might have saved 30,000
lives. Sir David King, a former British chief
science officer, said, The word arro-
gance comes to mind, I am afraid. He
added: What hubris.
Fear swept the region. It was spring of
2009 and a new virus that became
known as swine flu had infected hun-
dreds and killed dozens in Mexico. Euro-
pean vacationers swarmed airports to
get home. Experts recalled the flu pan-
demic of 1918, which killed as many as 50
million people around the world. European governments sprang into
action. France asked the E.U. to cut off
travel to Mexico and began buying
doses of vaccine for everyone in the
country. British hospitals enlisted re-
tired health workers and distributed
stockpiled masks, gloves and aprons. Every country in Europe had drawn
up and rehearsed its own detailed pan-
demic plan, often running into the hun-
dreds of pages. Britains plans read like
the script of a horror movie, if written in
the language of a bureaucrat. More than
1.3 million people could be hospitalized
and 800,000 could die. Trying to contain
the pandemic would be a waste of pub-
lic health resources.
These doomsday scenarios drew on a
new subspecialty of epidemiology pio-
neered by British scientists: using ab-
struse mathematical models to project
the path of a contagious disease. One early disciple, Neil Ferguson of
Imperial College London, had assumed
a pre-eminence in British health policy. An epidemic of foot-and-mouth dis-
ease among livestock in Britain in 2001
was the first time policymakers relied
on such modeling while addressing an
outbreak. Over the objections of veteri-
narians, Fergusons work guided policy-
makers to preventively slaughter more
than six million pigs, sheep and cattle. Later studies concluded most of the
killing had been needless. A review commissioned by the gov-
ernment urged that policymakers
must not rely on the model to make a
decision for them.
Yet when swine flu emerged, British
leaders again turned to Ferguson and
the large modeling department he had
built at Imperial College. He projected
that swine flu, in a reasonable worst
case, could kill nearly 70,000.
But the modelers reasonable worst
case was wildly off. Swine flu ended up
killing fewer than 500 people in Britain,
fewer than a seasonal flu.
Some experts now say Europe learned
the wrong lesson from the swine flu. It created some kind of compla-
cency, said Prof. Steven Van Gucht, a vi-
rologist involved in the Belgian re-
sponse. Oh, a pandemic again? We
have a good health system. We can cope
with this. It also coincided with Europes worst
economic slump in decades. French leg-
islators were furious at the cost of buy-
ing millions of doses of vaccines and
faulted the government for needlessly
stockpiling more than 1.7 billion protec-
tive masks. To cut costs, France, Britain and other
governments shifted more of their
stockpiles to just in time contracts.
Health officials assumed that even in a
crisis, they could buy what they needed
on the international market, typically
from China, which manufactures more
than half the worlds masks. By the start of 2020, Frances supply
of masks had fallen by more than 90 per-
cent, to just 150 million. On the surface, Europes defenses still
looked robust. E.U. reviews of each
countrys pandemic readiness seemed
to provide oversight. But the process
was misleading. National governments barred the Eu-
ropean Center for Disease Prevention and Control from setting benchmarks or
pointing out deficiencies. So the agen-
cys public remarks were almost unfail-
ingly positive.
Britain, Spain and Greece were
lauded for their highly motivated ex-
perts, trusted expert organizations
and confidence in the system. We couldnt say, You should have
this, said Arthur Bosman, a former
agency trainer. The advice and the as-
sessment had to be phrased in an obser-
On Jan. 28, British scientists raised an
The expanding epidemic was setting
off a global run on personal protective
equipment, specifically on the face-cov-
ering mechanical hoods that provide the
gold standard of safety.
A decision to stock up any later could
pose a risk in terms of availability,
warned the governments respiratory
virus advisory panel. It is unclear when Britain began in
earnest to try to augment its supplies of
protective equipment. The Doctors Association UK, an ad-
vocacy group, later said it had received
more than 1,300 complaints from doc-
tors at more than 260 hospitals about in-
adequate protective equipment. At least
300 British health workers eventually
died after contracting Covid-19. In Belgium, a shortage of masks be-
came so desperate that King Philippe
personally brokered a donation from the Chinese tech company Alibaba.
European and global health officials
had thoroughly reviewed Belgiums
pandemic plan over the years. But when
Covid-19 hit, Belgian officials did not
even consult it. It has never been used, said Dr. Em-
manuel André, who was drafted to help
lead the countrys coronavirus re-
sponse. In Britain, Mr. Johnson told the public
to stay confident and calm. But the
same day, Feb. 11, the governments Sci-
entific Advisory Group for Emergen-
cies, or SAGE, privately concluded that
the countrys diminished health system
was incapable of widespread Covid-19
testing, even by the end of the year. It is not possible, the groups min-
utes note. British scientists and officials none-
theless thought they knew better than
other countries, like China and South
Korea. Those countries were driving
down the infection rate by imposing
lockdowns. British science advisers
thought such restrictions were short-
sighted. Unless the restrictions were
permanent, any reduction of the epi-
demic would be lost to a second peak,
SAGE concluded, according to its min-
utes and three participants.
Britain reported its first death from
the virus on March 5. Across Europe, the
number of confirmed cases was dou-
bling every three days. Much of north-
ern Italy was already locked down. Testifying that day before a parlia-
mentary committee, Professor Whitty, the chief medical adviser, was steady
and comforting. Slightly hunched over a
table in a small hearing room, he told
lawmakers to place their trust in Brit-
ains modelers.
They were the best in the world, he
said. We will be able to model this out,
as it starts to accelerate, with a fair de-
gree of confidence.
But doctors in British hospitals were
already feeling rising pressure. Inten-
sive care wards were pushed to more
than double their capacity in Birming-
ham, London and elsewhere. It became clear that the pandemic
plan wasnt going to cut it, said Jona-
than Brotherton, chief operating officer
of University Hospitals Birmingham,
Englands largest health system.
Britain, Spain, Belgium, France and Ita-
ly have now reported some of the high-
est per capita death tolls in the world.
More than 30,000 people have died in
France, and President Emmanuel Ma-
cron has admitted his government was
unprepared. This moment, lets be honest, has re-
vealed cracks, shortages, he said.
After 44,000 coronavirus deaths in
Britain, officials continue to defend their
actions. The governments response al-
lowed us to protect the vulnerable and
ensured that the National Health Serv-
ice was not overwhelmed, even at the vi-
rus peak, a health department spokes-
man said. But Mr. Johnson has admitted that his
government had responded slug-
gishly, as in that recurring bad dream
when you are telling your feet to run and
your feet wont move. On Tuesday, after nearly five days of
intense haggling, European Union lead-
ers stepped up to confront one of the
gravest challenges in the blocs history,
agreeing to a landmark spending pack-
age to rescue their economies from the
ravages of the pandemic. The stimulus agreement worth 750
billion euros, or $857 billion, and spear-
headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel of
Germany and President Macron of
France sent a strong signal of solidar-
ity even as it exposed deep fault lines in
a bloc reshaped by Britains exit. A very special construct of 27 coun-
tries of different backgrounds is actu-
ally able to act together, Ms. Merkel
said in a news conference at dawn, and
it has proven it.
Europes great fall
Monika Pronczuk and Matina Stevis-
Gridneff contributed reporting from
Celebrating St Patricks Day in an Irish pub in Soho. The British government did not issue a mandatory lockdown until six days later, on March 23. Britain is among countries to have reported high per capita death tolls. MARY TURNER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Taking blood as part of a random sampling for antibodies in April. Germany, with a prime minister trained in physics, managed the contagion better than most; in some countries, detailed national pandemic plans were barely consulted.
Doctors helping a patient with swine flu-like symptoms in 2009.
Because that epidemic was less deadly than feared, Europe learned the wrong lesson.
Hong Kong once seemed like a model for
how to control the coronavirus. Schools
were open. Restaurants and malls
buzzed with crowds. Buses and trains
operated as usual, with residents duti-
fully wearing face masks on board.But a new wave of infections in recent
days has put the city on edge. Hospitals
are now seeing more cases a day than
they ever have during the pandemic.
More important, health officials are un-
able to determine the origin of many of
these cases, despite having a robust
contact-tracing system in place. The government reported a record-
high 108 new cases on Sunday, and 73
cases on Monday, among the highest to-
tals for a single day since the coro-
navirus emerged nearly seven months
ago in mainland China. The virus has
spread across the city in short order re-
cently, infecting clerical staff at a gov-
ernment-run eye clinic, residents at a
senior center and cleaning workers at
the airport. The situation is very serious, and
there is no sign of it coming under con-
trol, Carrie Lam, the chief executive of
Hong Kong, said on Sunday as she an-
nounced new restrictions aimed at slow-
ing the spread of the virus.
As governments around the world
look to relax rules put in place to combat
the virus, Hong Kongs experience pro-
vides a cautionary tale. Lifting social-distancing restrictions
too swiftly, experts say, can open the
door to fresh outbreaks. And with a vac-
cine still many months away, they say,
even the most vigilant countries are sus-
ceptible to sudden surges in cases.
China, Japan, South Korea and Australia
are all grappling with outbreaks. Its really, really alarming, Dr. David
Hui, the director of the Stanley Ho Cen-
ter for Emerging Infectious Diseases at
the Chinese University of Hong Kong,
said of the recent outbreak. Once you
loosen the restrictions too much, you
face a rebound. The city had been widely praised by
international experts for its response to
the pandemic. It moved quickly to
tighten its borders and impose quaran-
tine rules, containing outbreaks traced
first to travelers from mainland China
and then to Hong Kong residents return-
ing from Europe and the United States. But the latest outbreak has puzzled
top health experts. Officials have so far
been unable to trace how a significant
number of people caught the virus, a
worrisome sign, epidemiologists say,
that makes it more difficult to break the
chain of transmission. Most people who
tested positive for the virus have not
traveled and have not been linked to
known clusters. Dr. Hui said that previous outbreaks
in Hong Kong were effectively con-
tained before they could spread in the
community unchecked. You could just
isolate close contacts, quarantine them
and stop the outbreak, he said. This time, he said, its quite difficult because
we had a lot of silent transmission that
has entered Hong Kong already.
Many residents have attributed the
outbreak to people who have entered
Hong Kong recently without undergo-
ing the standard 14-day quarantine.
They have urged the government to
stop granting exemptions to some busi-
ness travelers and airplane pilots, but
the government, which is struggling
with a recession, has defended the ex-
emptions as necessary.
After easing restrictions on daily life
in recent weeks, Hong Kong officials are
once again imposing tough measures
aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
Masks are required indoors in public
spaces, and dining at restaurants after 6
p.m. is banned. The government has or-
dered gyms, movie theaters and swim-
ming pools to close once again. About 40
percent of government workers have
been asked to stay home. Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, a top health
official, did not rule out the possibility of
imposing a curfew or a lockdown if the
number of cases grew exponentially. Of
course, we hope the situation wouldnt
reach that stage, Dr. Chuang said at a
news conference on Monday. The government is expanding its test-
ing of residents, especially of those con-
sidered to be at a high risk of contracting
the virus, including older adults, taxi
drivers and restaurant workers. Offi-
cials say they are processing about
10,000 tests a day, and health workers
have distributed testing kits in resi-
dential compounds where clusters have
Medical workers say they worry that
an influx of coronavirus patients could
overwhelm the citys crowded hospitals.
Health officials said on Monday that 71
percent of the 1,700 beds in isolation
wards in the citys hospitals were al-
ready in use. Most coronavirus patients,
however, are in stable condition, with
only 36 considered to be seriously or
critically ill. A dozen people have died
from the virus during the pandemic. Mrs. Lam, Hong Kongs leader, said
Sunday that the authorities were plan-
ning to use some 300 beds at a resort to
isolate patients with mild symptoms.
The government has said it would build
a large quarantine center by the end of
the year to accommodate 2,000 people. As hospitals move swiftly to convert
facilities to treat only people with the co-
ronavirus, a further surge in such cases
could leave patients with other condi-
tions suffering, experts said. Dr. Arisina Ma, the president of the
Hong Kong Public Doctors Association,
said some patients with other conditions
have waited months for procedures and
might not be able to seek treatment if co-
ronavirus cases continue to rise.
We have quarantine facilities, but
the stress on our hospital services is still
tremendous, she said. It seems our
health care system has been paralyzed
by Covid.
A model citys defenses
felled by a virus surge
Infections in Hong Kong
have risen sharply again,
puzzling top health experts
Top, commuters in Hong Kong, where new measures to combat the spread of the coro-
navirus require masks to be worn indoors in all public spaces. Above, Hong Kong gov-
ernment workers disinfecting a wet market.
ANTHONY KWAN/GETTY IMAGESAfter easing restrictions on daily
life in recent weeks, Hong Kong
officials are once again imposing
tough measures.

For months, many of the residents at
one of Americas biggest retirement
communities went about their lives as if
the coronavirus barely existed. They
played bridge. They held dances.
And for months they appeared to
have avoided the worst of the pandemic.
From March through mid-June, there
were fewer than 100 cases in the Vil-
lages, a sprawling community in Central
Florida where about 120,000 people live,
most of them 55 and older. But now, as cases spike across Flor-
ida, the virus appears to have caught up
with the residents of the Villages. Since the beginning of July, hospital
admissions of residents from the Vil-
lages have quadrupled at University of
Florida Health The Villages, the hospi-
tals critical care doctors said. As of last
week, the hospital had admitted 29 Vil-
lages residents, all of them with the vi-
rus, said Dr. Anil Gogineni, a pulmonolo-
gist and critical care doctor there. The
numbers had been in the single digits
three weeks earlier. In Sumter County, the biggest of three
counties where most of the Villages is
concentrated, the number of cases bal- looned from 68 in the first week of June
to more than 270 last week, according to
the countys health department.
The Villages is a sprawling, palm-
tree-lined complex so big it has three
postal codes, 55 golf courses and multi-
ple libraries and movie theaters, draw-
ing affluent retirees from all over the
country. Now many residents are confronting
their new reality. Its seeping in, no
matter what, Rob Hannon, 64, said as
he sipped a beer, adding that friends
that would come down for years are say-
ing, Were not going to go.
The golf course is still crowded, he
said, as well as the hair salon where his
wife, Michelle, 53, works. The women
are still coming in but theyre a little
more anxious, Mr. Hannon said. You
cant stop living. But you can stop being
cavalier. In an email to residents last week,
Jeffrey Lowenkron, the chief medical of-
ficer of the Villages, said cases were in-
creasing; he urged them to take proac-
tive steps to reduce the risk of disease
They should consider postponing
participation in social events with more
than 10 people, particularly those events
held indoors, he wrote. The upward
trend is accelerating. That the Villages had initially seemed
to escape the worst of the virus had been
a point of pride for Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The governor, a Republican who has
strong support from the community,
brushed off concerns about the risks
during a visit in April. There were arti- cles written saying, Oh, the Villages is
going to crash and burn,
he said.
They have like a 2 percent or 2.5 per-
cent infection rate. But when he re-
turned early in July, the infection rate
had jumped to 9 percent.
More than a third of the cases in the
state, one of the worst hit in the nation,
have been among people ages 15
through 34, particularly in big cities, ac-
cording to the Florida Department of
Health. There have been serious out-
breaks in jails, nursing homes and farms
since the beginning of the pandemic. Now there are signs that the age of
Floridians getting the virus is shifting.
The Jackson Health System, Miami-
Dade Countys public hospitals, said last
week that 18 percent of its coronavirus
patients were 80 or older. Two weeks be-
fore, that figure had been 9 percent.
About 20 percent of Floridas popula-
tion is 65 or older, the highest percent-
age in the nation, alongside Maine, and
that age group has made up half of its
coronavirus hospitalizations and more
than 80 percent of deaths. As of Satur-
day, more than 45,000 of the states
350,000-plus cases were from that age
But doctors in the Villages say they
are prepared for an increase in patients.
The hospital has enough capacity and
antiviral drugs, Dr. Gogineni said. One area of concern, however, is the
four nursing homes in the community,
and a number of others on the outskirts
that also cater to residents. Early in the pandemic, Mr. DeSantis
took an aggressive approach to nursing homes, and the states outbreaks were
not as deadly as they were in places like
New York. Mr. DeSantis banned visits to
nursing homes, ordered them not to re-
admit residents who had not tested neg-
ative twice, and opened at least 14 coro-
navirus-only facilities.
That helped slow the spread, but now
health officials are concerned that nurs-
ing homes will not be able to avoid a
coming onslaught of cases. Lady Lake
Specialty Care, which sits just outside
the Villagess boundaries and cares for
some of its residents, reported 47 cases
last week, according to Greystone
Healthcare Management.
In the latest effort by the Florida gov-
ernment, the Agency for Health Care
Administration last week issued a pair
of emergency rules mandating that ev-
ery nursing home and assisted living fa-
cility in the state test staff members ev-
ery two weeks. (The rules do not apply
to long-term care facilities.) Mr. DeSantis last Wednesday said
that more than 120,000 staff members of
nursing homes and assisted living facili-
ties had been tested during the past
week, and about 2.8 percent of them
were positive. We are actually happy
with that, he said. He played down an
outbreak at an unnamed long-term care facility in north-central Florida where
50 staff members had tested positive.
Even with the spike, many residents
at the Villages say they are conflicted
about the virus and what to do now. Some steps have been taken to help
slow infections. Crowds around the faux
Spanish colonial buildings and foun-
tains are smaller, theaters are closed
and the bands have stopped playing. Yet, residents still congregate every
day without wearing masks. They turn
up the volume on a radio and dance in
the squares. They crowd bars where
songs by Elvis Presley and Bobby Sher-
man play. There are picnics and water
aerobics classes. Don Phillippi and his partner, Flo
Collins, both 79, sat watching in their
golf cart, which many in the Villages call
a golf car. Ms. Collins, a retired nurse, said the
couple wore masks when grocery shop-
ping, and mostly stayed indoors playing
card games. Im a nurse, so I know, she
said. The only time they socialize is when
they celebrate a birthday with friends at
a restaurant. But well have a private
room, Mr. Phillippi insisted. And we
take the temperature and all that kind of
stuff. To make sure everybody is OK. Even if they have had the virus, most
Villages residents are reluctant to talk
about it.
One resident declined to be inter-
viewed because he was embarrassed af-
ter getting infected at a party. People are being very secretive,
said Neil Craver, 66, who said he got the virus two weeks ago. Its like the plague
and they dont want to let anybody else
know that theyre sick.
Residents say they have not received
any directions about informing the man-
agement if they get sick. About two-thirds of the residents are
Republicans, according to local party
chiefs, and as is the case elsewhere,
some precautions are drawn politically. You can tell who is a Democrat, who
is a Republican by their masks, said
Chris Stanley, the leader of the Villages
Democratic Club. It makes no sense to me that there is
some sort of a magical umbrella keeping
the virus at bay, particularly because
people are having parties around, with
houses that have six, five golf cars
parked out front, she said. Amy Rose, a Villages resident, lost
her husband, Chad, a lab technician at
one of the Villages hospitals, to what she
believes was the coronavirus. His death,
however, was recorded as a heart attack.
She and her husband both had coro-
navirus-like symptoms in January after
visiting Disney World. In April, Mr.
Rose, 47, who had a heart condition, sud-
denly collapsed after exercising.
Mr. Roses cardiologist told her the co-
ronavirus had most likely contributed to
his heart attack by narrowing the arter-
ies. They said that because he had that
history of a heart attack they didnt do
the autopsy. They just declared it. His death was very violent, she said,
breaking down in tears. It was awful.
The spread of coronavirus at The Villages, a sprawling retiree complex with 55 golf courses, worries residents like Dr. Anil Gogineni, top right, a critical care doctor at the local hospital, and Chris Stanley, the leader of the Villages Democratic Club.
Outbreak catches up with Florida retirees THE VILLAGES, FLA.
Many cases in the state
involve young people,
but the pattern is shifting
Mitch Smith contributed reporting.People are being very secretive.
Its like the plague and they dont
want to let anybody else know
that theyre sick.
Angela Foster started showing up in the
early days of the protests here as one of
the novice activists standing off to the
side with no gear to protect herself. Roughly 40 demonstrations later, she
has moved toward the front, wearing a
mask, goggles and a helmet, and brac-
ing for law enforcement officers to
charge at her. Were not leaving, Ms. Foster said in
an interview this week. While President Trump on Sunday de-
scribed the unrest in Portland, Ore., as a
national threat involving anarchists
and agitators, the protests, which be-
gan in late May, have featured a wide ar-
ray of demonstrators, many now galva-
nized by federal officers exemplifying
the militarized enforcement that pro-
testers have long denounced. Gather-
ings over the past weekend grew to up-
ward of 1,000 people the largest
crowds in weeks. Some protesters have exhibited the
lawless behavior that federal officials
have cited to justify their crackdown:
Some have thrown cans and bottles,
shot fireworks or pointed lasers at offi-
cers. One was recently accused of hit-
ting a federal officer with a hammer. On
Saturday, protesters set a fire in the po-
lice union headquarters. But many others have demonstrated
in the streets through peaceful means,
appalled by the aggressive responses
by federal officers that have left some
protesters injured and the air inflamed
with tear gas. They have held signs and
marched. At times when people have
thrown bottles, other demonstrators
have rushed to try to stop them. On Sat-
urday, a group of women locked arms
and chanted: Feds stay clear. Moms
are here. Attending the protests for the first
time over the weekend was Christopher
J. David, 53, a former Navy civil engi-
neering corps officer and a 1988 gradu-
ate of the U.S. Naval Academy. I wasnt even paying attention to the
protests at all until the feds came in, Mr.
David said. When that video came out
of those two unmarked guys in camou-
flage abducting people and putting them
in minivans, thats when I became
He had taken a bus to the Portland
courthouse and was about to leave
around 10:45 p.m. when federal officers
emerged and began advancing on the
protesters. He said he felt the need to
ask the officers, Why were they vio-
lating their oath to the Constitution?
Instead of getting an answer on Satur-
day, Mr. David, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound for-
mer Navy varsity wrestler, found him-
self being beaten with a baton by a fed-
eral officer dressed in camouflage fa-
tigues as another doused him with
pepper spray, according to video of the
encounter. Mr. David was taken to a nearby hos-
pital, where a specialist said his right
hand was broken and would require
surgery to install pins, screws and
plates. Im appalled and disappointed at the
feds behavior that whoever led them
and trained them allowed them to be-
come this way, Mr. David said. This is a
failure of leadership more than it is a
failure of their own individual behavior
towards me. Luis Enrique Marquez, a self-de-
scribed anti-fascist who has been a fix-
ture at protests in Portland for years, said the purpose of the federal officers
arrival had appeared to be to scare the
protesters. But he said the officers had
instead galvanized them by displaying
the types of actions that have concerned
protesters for years.
With every act of violence they com-
mit, our numbers seem to grow, people
seem to get more angry, he said. Demonstrators in Portland, including
some who identify as antifa, the loose
coalition of self-described anti-fascist
activists, have had years of conflict with
law enforcement. But after the killing of
George Floyd in Minneapolis set off a
nationwide movement for racial justice
and police accountability, the protest in
Portland drew thousands to the streets. That created powerful scenes includ-
ing images of protesters blanketing the
Burnside Bridge, each lying face down
on the pavement for eight minutes and
46 seconds in remembrance of Mr.
Floyd. While those initial mass crowds have
waned, hundreds of protesters have
continued on with near-nightly con-
frontations with law enforcement.
Unlike demonstrators in Seattle at the
Capitol Hill Organized Protest, in which
they established a permanent location
that created tensions over how the po-
lice should handle unrest inside the
area, protesters in Portland have
brought the same feel of communal sup-
port throughout the downtown area.
Volunteers wearing red crosses hand
out ear plugs, eye wash and hand sani-
tizer. A mobile snack van provides
Gatorade and food. But protesters tactics have strained
the city. Business owners, already strug-
gling because of the coronavirus pan-
demic, have cited the protests as a rea-
son residents have been staying away
from downtown. Susan Landa, who for almost 31 years
has owned a business selling gems and
minerals downtown, said she supported
peaceful protests and even defunding and shifting funds from the police.
But she said some of the protesters
seemed like vandals and restless
young people who were taking out rage
because of the pandemic. She added: Most of downtown is
boarded up. We dont feel safe enough to
open up. Its killing our businesses. Some leaders in the Black community
have also questioned the tactics, sug-
gesting that some demonstrators have
seized the moment in the aftermath of
Mr. Floyds killing to advance their own
Last month, officers from the Port-
land Police Bureau repeatedly fired tear
gas and arrested protesters, who have
variously called for the abolishment or
defunding of the bureau, and for more
accountability for law enforcement offi-
cers. The citys officers now operate
with new limits on the use of tear gas af-
ter a judge ordered it to only be used if its needed to keep people safe.
Protesters have focused much of their
attention on Mayor Ted Wheeler, who
also serves as police commissioner.
Crowds have at times gathered at night
outside Mr. Wheelers condo building,
shining lights and chanting about the
perceived failures of his administration.
Local leaders have grown increas-
ingly vocal in opposition to the federal
presence after one protester appeared
to have been shot in the head with what
was described as a less-lethal munition,
severely injuring him in a bloody scene
that was captured on video.
Mr. Trump now plans to deploy fed-
eral law enforcement to Chicago and
threatened on Monday to send agents to
other major cities all controlled by
Democrats. Governors and other offi-
cials compared his actions to authoritar-
ianism and vowed to pursue legislation
or lawsuits to stop him. Im going to do something that, I
can tell you, Mr. Trump told reporters in
the Oval Office. Because were not go-
ing to let New York and Chicago and
Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore
and all of these Oakland is a mess.
Were not going to let this happen in our
country. All run by liberal Democrats. The Trump administration now plans
to deploy about 150 Homeland Security
Investigations special agents to Chicago
in the coming days, according to an offi-
cial directly involved in the operations.
The special agents, known for conduct-
ing long-term investigations into seri-
ous crimes like human trafficking and
terrorism, are expected to be in the city
for at least 60 days to help combat vio-
lence and would be under the direction
of the Justice Department.
In Portland, Joel B. Barker, who runs
a marketing agency, said that he had fre-
quently participated in protests during
the day near the Justice Center, which
includes the county jail, and that he usu-
ally left before 9 p.m. at the latest. He
said that the protests drew a diverse
crowd, reflecting a range of racial back-
grounds, age and socioeconomic sta-
tuses, and that there was a sense of
He lives about a mile away, and the
demonstrations have not had any reper-
cussions close to his home. The demon-
strators, he said, were largely peaceful
and not there to foment disorder. Mr. Barker said he felt rage that the
city was being used for what he believed
was a ploy for the president in an elec-
tion year. Its really terrible, he added, and I
want America to understand how terri-
ble it is to feel like a city you love is being
occupied by your own federal govern-
ment, because thats how it feels.
Diverse protesters challenge federal tactics in Oregon
Sergio Olmos reported from Portland,
Rick Rojas from Atlanta and Mike Baker
from Seattle. John Ismay contributed re-
porting from Arlington, Va.
A group of mothers at a demonstration in Portland, Ore., last weekend. The protests,
which have included some lawless behavior, have strained businesses in the city.
MASON TRINCA FOR THE NEW YORK TIMESMany have demonstrated in the
streets through peaceful means,
appalled by the aggressive
responses by federal officers.

President Trumps weak poll numbers
and a surge of Democratic cash flooding
key Senate races have jolted top Repub-
licans and intensified talk among party
donors and strategists about redirecting
money to protect their narrow Senate
Republican majority amid growing fear
of complete Democratic control of
Washington in 2021.
Almost no one is talking openly about
abandoning Mr. Trump at this point. A
total collapse at the top of the ticket, Re-
publican strategists and donors agree,
would only make holding the Senate
harder. But maintaining the Senate is an im-
perative for the Republican Party: A
Democratic Senate could offer a glide
path for liberal Supreme Court nomi-
nees from a President Biden, or block
Mr. Trumps judges if he won a second
term. And right now, Senate Republican
incumbents and candidates are losing
badly in the money chase, not just in the
top Senate battlegrounds states like
Maine, Arizona, Colorado and North
Carolina but also in conservative
states like Montana, where seats are
now increasingly up for grabs. Five of the most endangered Republi-
can senators up for re-election were out-
raised by a combined $18.5 million in the
second quarter by their Democratic
challengers, recent campaign filings
show. The private discussions about
whether to shift resources toward im-
periled Republican Senate candidates
reflect a mix of factors: a lack of confi-
dence that Mr. Trump will beat Joseph
R. Biden Jr.; fear that the president is al-
ready a drag on down-ballot candidates;
desire to maintain a Republican Party
firewall on Capitol Hill if Mr. Biden
prevails; and the belief that money is
not among Mr. Trumps myriad prob-
A series of national polls last week
showed Mr. Trump double digits behind
Mr. Biden, who now tops 50 percent in
many surveys. The president has more
than three months to rebound, of course,
and he is flush with cash and continues
to raise large sums online. But the trend
on the Republican political landscape is
toward erosion, not growth.
Mr. Biden himself told a group of jour-
nalists last week that he could see his
party winning enough Senate seats this
year that it would have 53 seats come
January. And on Friday, as the Republi-
can Senate candidates struggled to
raise money, the nonpartisan Cook Polit-
ical Report shifted its race ratings in 20
House seats all in favor of the Demo-
In interviews, more than two dozen
top Republican donors and strategists
said that Mr. Trumps political fate
would be far more contingent on his own
behavior and ability to navigate the
Covid-19 crisis and the struggling econ-
omy than on any additional infusion of
campaign cash. Yet any efforts by do-
nors to change their focus to the Senate
will be a delicate balance. Mr. Trump not
only maintains an iron grip on the Re-
publican base that every Republican
senator on the ballot will need to mobi-
lize, but he also has a penchant to lash
out at the first signs of disloyalty.
As Republicans get more and more in
tune, its hold the Senate at all costs,
said Dan K. Eberhart, an energy execu-
tive and a major Republican donor. The House is gone. And the White House is
looking increasingly like an uphill battle.
This is not a good picture for us.
Mr. Eberhart, who contributed
$100,000 to Mr. Trumps efforts in June,
is now focused on the Senate and pre-
paring an independent expenditure ra-
dio campaign in Montana to bolster the
fortunes of Senator Steve Daines, who
some private Republican polls show has
fallen behind his Democratic challenger,
Gov. Steve Bullock. On Monday, new campaign filings
showed that the billionaire casino mag- nate Sheldon Adelson and his wife had
contributed $25 million to a super PAC
dedicated to electing Senate Republi-
cans in June, his biggest contribution of
the 2020 cycle so far. Mr. Adelson has yet
to contribute to Mr. Trumps main super
A wave of Democratic challengers
raised more in the second quarter than
their Republican rivals in places like
Montana, according to campaign filings
made last week. In North Carolina, a rel-
atively unknown Democratic chal-
lenger, Cal Cunningham, nearly tripled Senator Thom Tilliss haul, raising $7.4
million to $2.6 million. In Maine, Senator
Susan Collins, the Republican, was sub-
stantially outraised by her Democratic
opponent, Sara Gideon more than $9
million to $3.6 million.
And in Arizona, Mark Kelly, a Demo-
crat who is a former astronaut and the
husband of former Representative Ga-
brielle Giffords, raised almost $12.8 mil-
lion. His nearly $24 million in the bank is
more than twice as much money as Sen-
ator Martha McSally, the Republican in-
cumbent, reported in a race a number of Republicans fear is slipping away.
Democrats must win a net of three
new seats and the White House to take
control of the Senate, or four seats if Mr.
Trump is re-elected, since the vice presi-
dent casts the deciding vote in case of an
even split. We could be in big trouble in the Sen-
ate, said Fred Zeidman, a Republican
fund-raiser in Texas. If we lose the
White House, then weve lost every-
thing. The Senate has to be the firewall. Senator Mitch McConnell of Ken-
tucky, the Republican majority leader, has been warning donors in dire terms
about permanent and systemic shifts
that could come about in a Washington
fully controlled by Democrats next
year: adding Puerto Rico and the Dis-
trict of Columbia as states, expanding
the Supreme Court and the end of the
legislative filibuster, which has previ-
ously served as an institutional brake on
congressional majorities, according to
people who have heard his pitch.
We recognize that the Senate is the
backstop, said Scott Reed, the chief
strategist for the United States Cham-
ber of Commerce, calling it the groups
top priority in 2020. Some of the partys most generous do-
nors, including the hedge fund manag-
ers Paul Singer and Kenneth C. Griffin,
have been notably absent from the rolls
of donors to Mr. Trumps campaign and
affiliated super PAC. But Mr. Griffin and
Mr. Singer gave a combined $7.5 million
in federal donations last month, includ-
ing $750,000 to a super PAC targeting a
Democratic-held Senate seat in Michi-
gan. Democrats are chiefly defending two
seats. One is in Alabama and the other is
in Michigan, where the Republican chal-
lenger, John James, who is seeking to
become the second Black Republican in
the current Senate, has proved a rare
fund-raising bright spot, regularly out-
pacing Senator Gary Peters. But Democrats are on offense and are
outraising their Republican counter-
parts across most of the map, in places
including some deeply Republican
states that are not typically considered
competitive, such as Alaska, South Car-
olina and Mr. McConnells home state,
Kentucky. His Democratic opponent,
Amy McGrath, narrowly survived a
June primary but has proved herself a
fund-raising phenomenon, raising more
than $47 million. Democratic candidates
also raised more money than Republi-
can incumbents in Georgia, Iowa and
Colorado in the second quarter. Democratic candidates have gained a
financial edge largely with a wave of on-
line donations that Republicans, other
than Mr. Trump, have struggled to
match. Key Republican officials are rallying
to defend the fragile Senate majority. Former President George W. Bush,
who has been cool to Mr. Trumps re-
election, headlined a virtual fund-raiser
at the end of June for the National Re-
publican Senatorial Committee. And for-
mer House Speaker Paul Ryan, who had
regular disagreements with Mr. Trump,
held a fund-raising call last week to raise
money for Representative Roger Mar-
shall, who is running for a Senate seat in
Kansas and faces a primary against Kris
Kobach, an anti-immigration crusader.
Mainstream Republicans warn that Mr.
Kobachs nomination could cost the
party the seat.
And last month, John Thune of South
Dakota, the No. 2 Senate Republican,
held a private call pitching the Republi-
can Jewish Coalition board, which
counts some of the partys most gener-
ous contributors as members. Its time to wake up and get off the
sidelines, Brad Todd, a Republican
strategist working on Senate races, said
of his partys donors, arguing there was
no need to redirect money away from
the White House. What needs to happen, Mr. Todd
said, is Republican donors need to give
Republicans scrambling to save Senate majority
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has warned Republican donors that permanent and systemic shifts could come about if the Democrats control Washington. ANNA MONEYMAKER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
John James, left, a Senate candidate in Michigan, has proved a rare fund-raising bright
spot for Republicans, regularly outpacing Gary Peters, the Democratic incumbent. SYLVIA JARRUS FOR THE NEW YORK TIMESSenator Susan Collins of Maine, the Republican incumbent, was substantially behind
her Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon, in fund-raising in the second quarter of 2020.
Joe Bidens commanding advantage in
the race for the White House shows no
sign of abating. He led by 15 percentage
points in an ABC News/Washington
Post survey of registered voters early
this week, and he has held a nearly dou-
ble-digit lead in an average of polls for
more than a month.
The last time a candidate sustained
such a large advantage for so long was
nearly 25 years ago, when Bill Clinton
led Bob Dole in 1996. After a quarter-century of closely
fought elections, it is easy to assume
that wide leads are unsustainable in to-
days deeply polarized United States.
Only Barack Obama in 2008 managed to
win the national vote by more than 3.9
percentage points. The other big leads
all proved short-lived. But as Mr. Bidens margin endures
well into its second month, it becomes
harder to assume that it is just another
fleeting shift in the polls. Perhaps the
lead is not just different in size and
length, but also in kind. Its possible the
nations political stalemate has been
broken, at least for now, by one issue:
the presidents handling of the coro-
navirus pandemic. With over three months to go, theres
still more than enough time for the race
to change in the presidents favor. The
race has already shifted quite a bit over
the past three. The possibility that the
president could enjoy a turnout advan-
tage or a relative advantage in the bat-
tleground states might mean that it
wouldnt take much to bring about a
more competitive race. But the race
may not inevitably revert to competi-
tiveness, as it has so many times since
1996, without deeper changes in the un-
derlying dynamics of the contest. After all, Mr. Obamas victory in 2008
was the exception for a reason. It was
underpinned by a huge change in the
fundamentals of the race: the economic collapse resulting from the financial cri-
sis. In other recent races, polling shifts
were usually the products of events,
whether it was a successful convention,
a cringe-worthy gaffe or a wave of un-
flattering news coverage. Once the
news environment returned to normal,
so did the polls.
Hillary Clinton, for instance, briefly
held fairly sizable leads, peaking at
around seven percentage points in early
August and mid-October 2016. In each
case, she benefited from favorable,
event-driven news coverage the
Democratic convention and her per- ceived victories in the presidential de-
bates and a wave of unfavorable, cov-
erage for Donald J. Trump, who had
feuded with the family of a Gold Star sol-
dier in late July and faced the Access
Hollywood revelations in early Octo-
ber. The news environment did not re-
main so favorable to Mrs. Clinton for
long. Neither did the polls. She wasnt
able to sustain a lead of more than six
points for a full month of polling.
It remains possible that President
Trumps current slump is just a larger
and more protracted version of the
news-driven shift that we have seen many times in recent years. Mr. Bidens
lead has lasted long enough to cast some
doubt on that interpretation, but not
necessarily so long to preclude it.
The president has faced a steady
stream of negative coverage, over is-
sues like the Bible photo op in Washing-
ton, his reluctance to wear a mask dur-
ing the pandemic, his administrations
spat with Dr. Anthony Fauci. For the
purpose of understanding the presi-
dents standing in the polls, perhaps
there is some similarity between his ad-
ministrations feud with Dr. Fauci and
Mr. Trumps attacks on Khizr Khan or the former Miss Universe pageant con-
testant Alicia Machado four years ago.
At the same time, Mr. Biden has
avoided the limelight. If Mr. Biden be-
comes the focal point of the race and the
string of bad news for Mr. Trump comes
to an end, perhaps the polls might revert
to where they were in April or May. The other possibility is that Mr. Bi-
dens lead is more like Mr. Obamas in
2008. If so, it is not the result of the vaga-
ries of the news cycle. Instead, Mr. Bi-
dens lead might follow from a funda-
mental change in the underlying dy-
namics of American politics, much as
the financial crisis reshaped the race in
2008. This time, it wouldnt be the econ-
omy, but the coronavirus.
Even more than the economy in 2008,
the coronavirus is the dominant issue in
American life. It poses an immediate health risk to
Americans, and the effort to contain it
has profound consequences for the
course of the American economy. It is
the rare issue that takes precedence
over the economy for voters, who have
told pollsters they would rather address
the coronavirus, even at the risk of hurt-
ing the economy, than reopen the econ-
omy at the risk of public health. In this sense, the fight against the vi-
rus has the potential to define American
politics the way an armed conflict
might: It poses a threat to the health and
safety of the public, and voters support
the effort to defeat it, even at a signifi-
cant economic cost.
Unlike a recession but again some-
what like a crisis or war the emer-
gence of the coronavirus was not neces-
sarily bad news for Mr. Trump. It offered
an opportunity for nonpartisan, presi-
dential leadership on a pressing issue
that transcends political divisions. Not even a high death toll was neces-
sarily a problem for the presidents po-
litical fortunes. Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to have
emerged with stronger ratings in New York despite tens of thousands of
deaths, just as Franklin D. Roosevelt
and George W. Bush emerged stronger
after the catastrophic Pearl Harbor and
Sept. 11 attacks. Winston Churchill pre-
sided over his troops defeat in France in
1940 and still claimed his place as a
prominent figure in world history in the
very same month.
For the same reasons, crisis, war and
the coronavirus offer as much downside
as upside for elected officials. They
eclipse the usual political fights, and if
voters lose confidence in their leaders
during crisis, it can be the end of their
careers, whether it be Lyndon Johnson
or Neville Chamberlain. The coronavirus is not war. Many
Americans, including those in the White
House, dispute the pandemics severity.
But the politics of coronavirus nonethe-
less seem simple: It has become the
dominant issue in American life, and
voters have reached an overwhelmingly
negative view of how the president has
handled it. Not surprisingly, Mr.
Trumps standing has suffered. His ap-
proval rating has fallen to around 40 per-
cent among registered voters. His posi-
tion against Mr. Biden has deteriorated
at a similar pace. As Harry Enten of CNN has pointed
out, poll after poll shows a tight relation-
ship between presidential vote choice,
approval of the presidents handling of
the coronavirus and judgments on
which candidate would do a better job on
the issue.
The relationship between attitudes
about the coronavirus and the presiden-
tial race is clearer than for any issue in
recent memory. Whether its realistic to expect the
public to revisit its attitude about the
presidents handling of coronavirus at
this stage is an open question. Whether
the coronavirus eventually becomes
less salient to voters is probably a ques-
tion for epidemiologists as much as any
political analyst.
Big polling leads tend to erode, but Bidens is holding up
THE NEW YORK TIMESBY NATE COHNAverage polling lead in presidential elections, by month
The last time a presidential candidate sustained a lead as large as Joe Biden’s was nearly 25 years ago,
when Bill Clinton led Bob Dole in 1996.
Sources: FiveThirtyEight, The Huffington Post and others.
+9 Rep. leadDem. lead
N o v.
N o v.
N o v.
N o v.
N o v.

With coronavirus cases around the
United States on the rise and states
rolling back their reopening plans,
many of the nations top business
leaders are steeling themselves for a
period of prolonged economic disrup-
tion and the prospect of a slow, halting
Im less optimistic today than I was
30 days ago, said Arne Sorenson, the
chief executive of Marriott Interna-
tional. The virus is in so many differ-
ent markets of the United States. Mr. Sorensons outlook, like those of
many chief executives, has worsened
in recent weeks as virus cases have
spiked in the American South and
West, leading some states to close
businesses that had previously been
allowed to open. He said that after bookings at Marri-
otts hotels rose in early July, they had
recently fallen again. The last week
was weaker than the week before, Mr.
Sorenson said. While retail sales have mostly re-
bounded to pre-crisis levels and the
stock markets remain buoyant, busi-
ness leaders and economists still see
serious cause for concern. Tens of
millions of Americans are out of work.
Important parts of the economy
including live sports, movie theaters
and many tourist attractions remain
mostly closed. Business districts are
still primarily empty as people contin-
ue working from home. And as the
virus spreads, new lockdowns could
cause further economic disruptions. Already, there are signs that the
recovery is losing momentum. Air travel had been on the rise, with
the Transportation Security Adminis-
tration reporting a steady increase in
passengers at American airports. But
Ed Bastian, the chief executive of Delta
Air Lines, said that momentum had
sputtered in recent days. I have a more cautious view than I
did four weeks ago, Mr. Bastian said.
While the T.S.A. numbers have contin-
ued to slowly tick up, the reality is that
the cash that people are willing to
commit to future travel decisions has
stalled. The fear that the virus has
created in the South has put people
more into a stay-at-home mentality
than wed seen before.
Many chief executives said they
were broadly in favor of reopening the
economy arguing that it was vital
for people to be at work. We will need to open up, but it has
to be done safely and properly, said
Jamie Dimon, chief executive of
JPMorgan Chase. And if we make
mistakes along the way or if situations
change, we should adapt and recali-
In the past week, companies and
states have continued to adjust. Last
week, California shut down indoor
dining, bars and movie theaters it had
previously allowed to reopen. And
Louisiana ordered its bars closed. And after Walmart announced that it
would require its customers to wear
masks, several other major retailers,
including Target, Walgreens and CVS,
made similar announcements. As individuals, we have that respon-
sibility, Larry Merlo, the chief execu-
tive of the pharmacy chain CVS, said
last week. My mask protects you, and
your mask protects me. Until the past week, Marriott had
stopped short of requiring guests to
wear masks in the public spaces of its
hotels. We have not gone that far yet,
Mr. Sorenson said in an interview last
Wednesday. That doesnt mean we
The next day, Mr. Sorenson joined
other hotel industry executives in
announcing that masks would be re-
Yet with the virus spreading widely
and rapidly around the country, there
is little hope that masks alone will
allow for a return to business as usual
anytime soon. Most C.E.O.s today believe that
until there is a more effective treat-
ment or a vaccine, that work and life
are not going to go back to normal,
said Julie Sweet, the chief executive of
Accenture. Ms. Sweet said that even in Europe,
where the virus is largely under con-
trol, business leaders were anticipating
flare-ups that could disrupt the econ-
omy again. In Europe, we have clients
saying, We want you back, and in the
next breath saying, Of course, that will
change, she said. Its going to be one step forward,
two steps back, said Julia Hartz, chief
executive of Eventbrite, the ticketing
Congress is set for an intense week
of debate over what would be a fourth
significant bailout package. On Mon-
day, Treasury Secretary Steven
Mnuchin said that Republicans envi-
sioned the next bit of economic relief
would cost $1 trillion and focus on
protecting children, strengthening
hiring and investing in the discovery of
a coronavirus vaccine. He hopes to
have it passed by the end of the month.
Mr. Mnuchin said he would brief Re-
publican senators on Tuesday and then
begin talks with Senate Democrats.
Business leaders had differing takes
on what actions would be most helpful
to the American economy. Rich Lesser, the chief executive of
the Boston Consulting Group, said it
was imperative for Congress to provide
more relief for the most vulnerable
members of society, particularly essen-
tial workers, the elderly and those with
compromised immune systems. Mr. Lesser said Congress should
consider a suite of measures, including distributing masks, increasing testing
and distributing food to the vulnerable.
He said these efforts could reduce
hospitalizations by as much as 40
percent to 70 percent and cost up to
$100 billion a month. But that huge
sum, he said, is small compared with
the roughly $1 trillion a month the
federal government spent on coro-
navirus relief efforts from March
through May.
Without the federal government
doing something, we will miss the
window, Mr. Lesser said. We need
the government to say we are focused
on protecting the vulnerable. If we wait
to September, it will be too late.
Mr. Sorenson of Marriott and Mr.
Bastian of Delta who both have
large workforces vulnerable to buy-
outs, furloughs or layoffs if the econ-
omy does not recover swiftly called
for the expansion of unemployment
coverage. The single most important feature
of the next package should be decent
personal unemployment insurance,
Mr. Sorenson said. Weve got tens of
millions of people who are still out of
work. As long as theyre out of work, we should make sure that theyre not
driven into a hole that is so deep that
theyre not going to be able to come
out of it.
And Ms. Hartz of Eventbrite said she
wanted to see more support for small
Something is going to have to give,
she said. If there is not federal relief
that is usable and tuned to the needs of
these small businesses, theyll go out
of business. More than anything, though, many
of the chief executives called on the
public to do its part in curbing the
spread of the virus by wearing masks
and following the recommendations of
health experts. The reality is the politicization of
masks and the virus has caused a lot of
frustrations, Mr. Bastian said, adding
that Delta had put a number of pas-
sengers on no-fly lists because they
had made political statements by
refusing to wear masks. The more stringent and compliant
we are, the faster well be through
this, Mr. Bastian said. Masks and
hygiene and distance are the keys. You
see it around the world. It really is about people taking care of each other.
Brian Niccol, the chief executive of
Chipotle, a restaurant chain, said there
had been some arguments at his com-
panys restaurants about masks, creat-
ing new headaches for his workers.
Its tough for the general managers.
Its tough for the employees, he said.
Theres already a higher level of
anxiety. Ms. Hartz said she hoped that as
events started to return, attendees
would use common sense and kindness
in their interactions with one another
and staff. If we are going to save lives,
we are going to have to be selfless,
Ms. Hartz said. We have to demon-
strate some care for each other. Failing to do so or letting the virus
spiral so far out of control that broad
lockdowns become commonplace once
again would only make a bad situa-
tion worse. Getting this wrong overreacting
or acting irresponsibly could be far
more devastating to the global econ-
omy and the health of Americans, Mr.
Dimon said. Open intelligently. Treat
your fellow Americans respectfully.
Start slow.
Executives fear agony is far from over
Back, left to right, Julie Sweet, Accenture; Brian Niccol, Chipotle; Larry Merlo, CVS Health; Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines. Front, left to right, Rich Lesser, Boston Consulting Group; Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase; Julia Hartz,
Eventbrite; Arne Sorenson, Marriott International. While these business leaders say retail sales have mostly rebounded to pre-pandemic levels and the stock markets remain buoyant, they still see serious cause for concern. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JESSICA WHITE. BACK, L-R, GREG KAHN FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES, BENJAMIN RASMUSSEN FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES, EVAN VUCCI/AP, ERIK TANNER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES. FRONT, L-R, TOMOHIRO OHSUMI/BLOOMBERG, JEENAH MOON/REUTERS, ERIK TANNER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES, ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP GETTY IMAGES.
When Google and Apple announced
plans in April for free software to help
alert people to their possible exposure to
the coronavirus, the companies pro-
moted it as privacy preserving and
said it would not track users locations.
Encouraged by those guarantees, Ger-
many, Switzerland and other countries
used the code to develop national virus
alert apps that have been downloaded
more than 20 million times. But for the apps to work on smart-
phones with Googles Android operating
system the most popular in the world
users must first turn on the device lo-
cation setting, which enables GPS and
may allow Google to determine their lo-
cations. Some government officials seemed
surprised that the company could detect
Android users locations. After learning
about it, Cecilie Lumbye Thorup, a
spokeswoman for the Danish Health
Ministry, said her agency intended to
start a dialogue with Google about how
they in general use location data. Switzerland said it had pushed
Google for weeks to alter the location
setting requirement. Users should be able to use such
proximity tracing apps without any
bindings with other services, said Dr.
Sang-Il Kim, the department head for
digital transformation at Switzerlands
Federal Office of Public Health, who
oversees the countrys virus-alert app. Latvia said it had pressed Google on
the issue as it was developing its virus
app. We dont like that the GPS must be
on, said Elina Dimina, head of the infec-
tious-disease surveillance unit at the
Latvian Center for Disease Prevention
and Control.
Googles location requirement adds to
the number of privacy and security con-
cerns with virus-tracing apps, many of
which were developed by governments
before the new Apple-Google software
became available. Government officials
and epidemiologists say the apps can be
a helpful complement to public health
efforts to stem the pandemic. But hu-
man rights groups and technologists
have warned that aggressive data col-
lection and security flaws in many apps
put hundreds of millions of people at risk
for stalking, scams, identity theft or op-
pressive government tracking. Now the Android location issue could
undermine the privacy promises that
governments made to the public. Pete Voss, a Google spokesman, said
the virus alert apps that use the compa-
nys software do not use device location,
even for people who test positive for the
virus and use the apps to notify other us-
ers. The apps use Bluetooth scanning
signals to detect smartphones that
come into close contact with one an-
other without needing to know the de-
vices locations at all. Since 2015, Googles Android system
has required users to enable location on
their phones to scan for other Bluetooth devices, Mr. Voss said, because some
apps may use Bluetooth to infer user lo-
cation. For instance, some apps use
Bluetooth beacons in stores to help mar-
keters understand which aisle a smart-
phone user may be in.
Once Android users turn on location,
however, Google may determine their
precise locations, using Wi-Fi, mobile
networks and Bluetooth beacons,
through a setting called Google Loca-
tion Accuracy, and use the data to im-
prove location services. Mr. Voss said
apps that did not have user permission
could not gain access to a persons An-
droid device location. Apple, which does not require iPhone
users of the virus apps to turn on loca-
tion, declined to comment on Googles
location practices. The Android location requirement un-
derscores a troubling power imbalance
between governments and two tech gi-
ants that dominate the mobile market,
some security and privacy experts said.
Countries using the software, they said,
have little recourse against the new
global standards that the companies are
setting for public health technology. Google and Apple, for instance, bar
government virus apps from using their
technology from tracking users loca-
tions. But Google may determine and
use the device locations of Android us-
ers of the apps, depending on their set-
tings. We are giving too much control to
two big companies, said Alexandra Dmitrienko, a professor of secure soft-
ware systems at the University of
Würzburg in Germany. They are mo-
nopolizing it.
The companies Bluetooth proximity
detection technology springs from ideas
developed by Singapore and academics.
It offers public health agencies an alter-
native to more invasive models that in-
volve tracking users fine-grained loca-
tions and sending private data like their
names to government servers.
The Apple-Google software uses ro-
tating ID codes to log close contact be-
tween app users to help prevent track-
ing, the companies say. It also pro-
cesses peoples data on their phones
where governments cannot gain access
to it. This is what we call privacy by de-
sign, said Dr. Kim, the Swiss health of-
ficial. That means no personal data,
that means no name, no phone number,
even no technical identification of the
hardware from email or smartphones
are collected by the apps. The privacy-focused design has made
the companies technology attractive to
government leaders. This app deserves your trust. It pro-
tects your privacy, Angela Merkel, the
chancellor of Germany, said in a recent
video address about her governments
Corona-Warn-App, which is based on
the Apple-Google model. But privacy and security experts said
they were troubled that Googles loca-
tion practices might deter some people
from using public health agency apps
during the pandemic.
The point of the Apple-Google expo-
sure notification design is to protect pri-
vacy and mitigate barriers to adoption,
said Jonathan Mayer, an assistant pro-
fessor of computer science and public
affairs at Princeton University. Some Android users in Europe say
they feel misled by their governments.
Instructions on many of the apps direct
Android users to turn on location, for in-
stance, but make no mention of Google
or that users can stop the company from
determining their precise locations by
turning off the accuracy feature within
the location setting. With this app, youre invited, by the
government strongly appealing to your sense of responsibility and morality, to
give away your live location to entities
that are getting a profit out of it, in order
to protect public health, said Massimo
Zannoni, an engineer in Zurich.
Health officials in Denmark, Ger-
many, Latvia and Switzerland said their
governments had deliberately designed
their national virus alert apps for maxi-
mum privacy. No government, no security agency
has any chance to misuse the technol-
ogy, Gottfried Ludewig, director gen-
eral for digitalization and innovation for
the German Ministry of Health, said of
the Corona-Warn-App, which has been
downloaded more than 15.5 million
times. He said more than 500 people
who tested positive for the virus had
used the app to notify other users of pos-
sible virus exposure. He added that if Google used location
data for any other purpose than en-
abling the Bluetooth services in the app,
it would need legal grounds to do so un-
der European data protection law. Others involved in the German app
said it was Googles issue, not theirs. You need to ask Google about the
specs of their operating system, Mar-
cus Winkler, a spokesman for SAP,
which helped develop Germanys app,
said in an email. If you turn on location
tracking you get a message from the op-
erating system this has nothing to do
with the app.
Despite assurances, virus apps can give Google data
Aaron Krolik contributed reporting.BY NATASHA SINGER Switzerland said it had pushed Google for
weeks to alter the location-setting re-
quirement for a virus-tracing app.

Those hotel amenities you took for
granted, like throw pillows, turndown
service and free coffee in the lobby?
Theyre gone. Housekeeping is by re-
quest or eliminated during your stay.
And dont even think of finding a self-
serve breakfast buffet.
The coronavirus pandemic shell-
shocked hotels, said Chekitan Dev, a
professor of marketing at the School of
Hotel Administration at Cornell Univer-
sity in Ithaca N.Y. They initially pulled
everything out of rooms and off proper-
ties that seemed as if it could accelerate
the spread of the virus. Now, the hospi-
tality industry is trying to figure out how
to create a new normal, he said. Hotel occupancy rates in the United
States have been devastated by the pan-
demic, dipping to a low of 22 percent in
April. Travelers have slowly begun re-
turning, but the rapidly rising number of
coronavirus cases in many states clouds
the industrys near-term future. In the
meantime, hotels are doing what they
can to attract travelers and address
their concerns.
The first priority is delivering a feel-
ing of safety. Thats why guests arriving
at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in
Farmington, Pa., over the last few
months received a mask, a 10-ounce bot-
tle of hand sanitizer and prepackaged
snacks and drinks. The Vinoy Renais-
sance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf
Club in St. Petersburg, Fla., asks for res-
ervations at the main pool to limit the
number of people there. Guests at Citi-
zenM hotels can use the hotels phone
app to control lights, blinds and room
temperature so they dont have to touch
the rooms controls. Some hotels are removing bed-
spreads or washing them after each
stay. Some are removing carpeting to
make rooms easier to clean and to ap-
pear more sanitary, Professor Dev said. Hotels are also rethinking what
guests value most. Its a once-in-a-life-
time opportunity to reimagine every
single amenity, and everything is up for
grabs, Professor Dev said. The hospi-
tality business has to be taken apart like
a puzzle and put together in a new way. Free breakfast had long been a popu-
lar perk, especially buffets, available at
hotels in all price ranges. But they have
been eliminated as potential germ
spreaders. At some hotels, staff mem-
bers dish out food from behind plexi-
glass barriers, but that makes it hard to
serve a large number of guests effi-
ciently, Professor Dev said, especially
when they need to be six feet apart.
At Sesuit Harbor House on Cape Cod
in Massachusetts, guests complete a
questionnaire before they arrive about
which breakfast items they prefer, and a
personalized picnic basket is delivered
each morning.
Before the pandemic, hotel beds had
begun to resemble decorative pillow
forts, with bed scarves and coverlets.
The beds have now been reduced to a set
of essentials that can be washed after
each guest. A crisp white bed with sheets that look as if they can handle a
scalding hot laundry cycle is in vogue,
according to T-Y Group and Harbor Lin-
en, which supplies hotel linens.
Nightly turndown service and mints
on pillows have been eliminated to re-
duce interaction between guests and
staff members. Some hotels send house-
keepers only when they are requested,
and some wont send them at all during a stay. The Wilson Hotel, a Marriott prop-
erty in Big Sky Montana, moves guests
to a new room if they want clean accom-
modations. The housekeeping staff
waits 24 hours after guests leave a room
to clean it.
Some environmental initiatives, like
replacing small shampoo bottles with
larger pump dispensers, will probably
pause. Items like bathrobes and pens will come wrapped in plastic.
In the lobby, free coffee has disap-
peared and plexiglass barriers are being
built. Instead of removing furniture to
decrease capacity, some hotel restau-
rants are decorating unused tables. The
Inn at Little Washington in Washington,
Va., has seated jauntily dressed man-
nequins at some of its restaurant tables
to hold seats and comply with new ca- pacity limits. One mannequin is down on
one knee and looks as if its proposing to
Before the pandemic, hotels were try-
ing to one-up one anothers offerings
with small touches like a slightly nicer
free breakfast or better quality coffee in
the room, said Jeanne Casey, a princi-
pal at the venture capital firm MetaProp
who analyzes investments in the real es- tate and hospitality sectors. Now that
hotels are paring back those extras, she
said, they can use it as an opportunity to
rein in costs and reinvest in priority ar-
Many hotels had already turned to
mobile apps for things like check-in and
ordering additional towels or toiletries.
Voice-activated assistants were starting
to show up in rooms, to control tempera-
ture and order room service, and some
hotels had installed sensors to monitor
how many people were in public spaces.
These systems are now seen as critical,
rather than just convenient, Ms. Casey
said. Amenities are also being aimed at a
more local clientele. Global travel re-
strictions and concerns about air travel
mean that guests are more likely to ar-
rive in their own cars from within a few
hundred miles, said John Niser, director
of the International School of Hospital-
ity and Tourism at Fairleigh Dickinson
University. Hoteliers need to recognize
that these guests will have different
needs, he said.
Rather than early check-in available
for those arriving from the airport, for
example, he said, a more important
amenity may be free car detailing. Ho-
tels may say, Hey we already have this
great sanitizing team; we can use it on
your car, he said.
Hotels in the United States have an
opportunity to convert these drive
market travelers, who had been hoping
to go to Europe, into guests who choose
to return even after restrictions are
lifted, Dr. Niser said. They will try to
show guests they can have a great expe-
rience without having to deal with air-
port queues, time zone differences and
all the other hassles of long-distance
travel, he said. Over the past decade, hotels have fo-
cused on increasing guest interaction.
Lobbies featured comfortable couches
and mini meeting pods; bars held guest
happy hours. Now, guests are changing
their preferences from hyper-social to
hyper-solo, Professor Dev said. The
luxury Lotte New York Palace is offer-
ing frequent guests staying from August
through the end of 2020 the option of a
specific room assignment that no one
else can book between their stays. The
traveler can even store belongings there
between trips. Hotels are looking for ways to help
guests have a safe experience, by
themselves, Professor Dev said. The
Inns of Aurora in Aurora, N.Y., acceler-
ated the creation of hiking trails, a fish-
ing dock and archery facilities for guests
who want to spend time outside in more
private settings. The Confidante Miami
Beach hotel advertises in-room virtual
fitness classes, including yoga and kick-
Hotel offerings of gym equipment to
borrow havent been popular in the past,
but that may change, Professor Dev
said. There is opportunity buried in this
crisis, he added. This is a time for hotels
to experiment.
A time for hotels to reinvent themselves
Clockwise from top: To limit crowding, the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club in Florida asks for reservations at its main pool; the Sesuit Harbor House in
Massachusetts delivers a picnic basket with breakfast each morning; the Confidante Miami Beach hotel advertises in-room virtual fitness classes, including yoga and kickboxing. VIA THE CONFIDANTE MIAMI BEACH JESSICA SCRANTONSafety, rather than luxury,
is the goal as the industry
adjusts to an altered reality
The hospitality business has to
be taken apart like a puzzle and
put together in a new way.
Cities are remarkably resilient. They
have risen from the ashes after being
carpet-bombed and hit with nuclear
weapons. If you think about pandemics
in the past, the Princeton University
economist Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
noted, they didnt destroy cities. Thats because cities are valuable.
The New York metropolitan area gener-
ates more economic output than Aus-
tralia or Spain. The San Francisco re-
gion produced nearly one of five patents
registered in the United States in 2015.
Altogether, 10 cities, home to less than a
quarter of the American population, ac-
count for almost half of the countrys
patents and a third of its economic pro-
So even as the Covid-19 death toll
rises in the nations most dense urban
cores, economists still mostly expect
them to bounce back, once there is a vac-
cine, a treatment or a successful strat-
egy to contain the viruss spread. I end
up being optimistic, said the Harvard
economist Edward Glaeser. Because
the downside of a nonurban world is so
terrible that we are going to spend what-
ever it takes to prevent that. And yet there is a lingering sense that
this time might be different. The pandemic threatens the assets
that make Americas most successful
cities so dynamic not only their bars,
museums and theaters, but also their
dense networks of innovative busi-
nesses and highly skilled workers,
jumping among employers, bumping
into one another, sharing ideas, power-
ing innovation and lifting productivity. Compelled by the imperative of social
distancing, the cutting-edge businesses
that flocked to cities to exploit their bun-
dles of talent have been experimenting
with technologies that allow them to replicate their social interactions, even
if everybody is working from home.
As Mr. Rossi-Hansberg put it,
Theres a little bit of a realization that
we can still do things, even when we all
stay home. Covid-19 is not the deadliest disease to
have ravaged cities through the ages.
But it is showing us that the cities might
not be as essential as they once were.
Cities are more in danger than in the
19th century, even though this plague is
less severe, Mr. Glaeser said, because
we are rich enough to imagine a deur-
banized world. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebooks chief
executive, has said he wants to reconfig-
ure the company so half of its employees
could work from home within the next
decade. Twitter has said it will allow em-
ployees to work from home indefinitely.
Jonathan Dingel and Brent Neiman of
the University of Chicago estimate that
almost 40 percent of the nations jobs
can be done from home. If this model
catches on, it could reconfigure the ge-
ography of Americas tech industries.
A survey by the market research firm
Reach Advisors found that companies
facing high real estate and labor costs
were the most interested in pursuing re-
mote work into the future. The biggest
shift away from density will likely be in
markets such as the Bay Area and New
York City, said the companys presi-
dent, James Chung. By shifting to re-
mote work, they can dramatically wid-
en their labor pool and evade the labor-
wage trap that they are in. Paradoxically, Americas big cities are
becoming more valuable, churning out
an increasing share of the nations eco-
nomic output. They have benefited from the rise of
economic complexity and the explosive
growth of technologies that reward the
most highly educated workers. Complex
industries like information technology,
biotechnology and finance concentrate
in large cities where they can find the
most skilled employees. These cutting-edge businesses dont
mind paying top dollar for the talent, not least because research has found
highly skilled workers tend to be more
productive and innovative when they
are surrounded by others like them.
Despite the stratospheric rents,
which have been pushing low-wage
workers out, highly educated workers
have continued to flock to the nations
megalopolises in search of the high pay
and urban amenities that have emerged
to serve this affluent clientele. From 1980 to 2018, the income per per-
son in New Yorks metropolitan area
rose from 118 percent of the national av-
erage to 141 percent, according to gov-
ernment data. Bostons rose from 109 to
144 percent, San Franciscos from 137 to 183 percent, and Seattles from 120 to 137
But if big-city businesses find that
work from home doesnt hit their pro-
ductivity too hard, they might reassess
the need to pay top dollar to keep em-
ployees in, say, Seattle or the Bay Area.
Workers cooped up in a two-bedroom in
Long Island City, Queens, might prefer
moving to the suburbs or even farther
away and save on rent. Mr. Glaeser and colleagues from Har-
vard and the University of Illinois stud-
ied surveys tracking companies that al-
lowed their employees to work from
home at least part of the time since
March. Over one-half of large busi-
nesses and over one-third of small ones
didnt detect any productivity loss. More
than one in four reported a productivity
increase. Moreover, the researchers found that
about four in 10 companies expect that
40 percent of their employees who
switched to remote work during the pandemic will keep doing so after the
crisis, at least in part. Thats 16 percent
of the work force. Most of these workers
are among the more highly educated
and well paid.
Will they stay in the city if they dont
need to go to the office more than a cou-
ple of times a week? Erik Hurst, an
economist at the University of Chicago,
argues that people will always seek the
kind of social contact that cities provide.
But what if their employers stop paying
enough to support the urban lifestyle?
Young families might flee to the suburbs
sooner, especially if a more austere new
urban economy can no longer support
the ecosystem of restaurants and the-
aters that made city life attractive. The overall economy might be less
productive, having lost some of the
benefits of social connection. But as long
as the hit is not too severe, employers
might be better off, paying lower wages
and saving on office space. And workers
might prefer a state of the world with
somewhat lower wages and no com-
mute. Municipal governments in superstar
cities might have a tough time doing
their jobs as their tax bases shrink. The
survival of brick-and-mortar retailers
will be threatened as social distancing
accelerates the shift to online shopping.
Smaller cities might benefit. If they
dont have to go into the office more than
a couple of times a year, highly skilled
workers in places like Seattle or Los An-
geles might prefer places like Colorados
Boulder or Vail. Everybody agrees on what are the
key forces, said Gilles Duranton, an
economist at the Wharton School of the
University of Pennsylvania. The ques-
tion is which will play out, and where are
the tipping points? One of the big remaining questions is
whether remote work will prove sus-
tainable. The productivity increases
captured in the surveys examined by
Mr. Glaesers team might prove fleeting. In the more likely state of the world,
we realize that we can carry on a project
remotely for one or two days, but ulti- mately we do need face-to-face interac-
tion, said Enrico Moretti, an expert in
urban economics at the University of
California, Berkeley. Remote education
has proved inferior. In the long run, peo-
ple may still need to live close to where
they work.
And yet, technology continues to im-
prove. There are more incentives to in-
vest in more technologies to stay at
home, Mr. Rossi-Hansberg said. So what would the post-Covid city
look like?
Mr. Rossi-Hansberg suggests that a
reconfigured urban America could look
a bit more like the 1980s, before technol-
ogy set in motion the forces that
produced the current superstars, leav-
ing other places behind. This would
flatten the distribution of cities and re-
duce the occupational polarization of cit-
ies, he said. It would be a different world. But it
might not be too terrible for urban liv-
ing. Consider life in a reconfigured New
York. Rents are lower, after the depar-
ture of many of its bankers and lawyers.
There are fewer fancy restaurants, but
probably still many cheaper ones. Peo-
ple with lower incomes, including the
young, can again afford to live in town.
City services may be reduced, but if a
fifth or more of workers arent going to
the office on any given day it will be easi-
er to get around. Mr. Duranton argues that the cities
that will be devastated by Covid-19 are
the ones that have been falling for a long
time: Places like the New York State cit-
ies of Rochester and Binghamton, which
lost their sustenance once the manufac-
turing industries that supported them
through much of the 20th century closed
or moved away. But for a city like New York, he said,
Covid-19 offers an opportunity for re-
demption. New York was running into
a dead end, turning into a paradise for
the rich, he said. Culturally dead.
Moving back to a cheaper, messier, more
diverse equilibrium may carry a silver
Star cities may dim if remote work becomes the norm
A survey found that companies facing high real estate and labor costs in major U.S.
cities, like San Francisco, above, were the most interested in pursuing remote work in
the future, partly because it would widen their labor pool.
workers, and their jobs,
away from urban areas
The downside of a nonurban
world is so terrible that we are
going to spend whatever it takes
to prevent that.

Mount Rainier bobbed in the
rearview mirror as Corinna Olsen drove
north. In the passenger seat, I felt a soft
bump against my back whenever she
pumped the brakes. It came from a
human head. Behind me, wrapped in
opaque plastic, was a dead body. Ms. Olsen is an embalmer, and her
Dodge minivan is retrofitted for her job
instead of seats, the back holds two
gurneys. She had picked up this particu-
lar body from a county coroners office
for transport to a funeral home. I was
along for the ride because I was writing
a book about hate in America, and Ms.
Olsen used to be a white nationalist. Ive been trying to decide which is
the lesser of two evils, blacks or Mexi-
cans, she wrote in a post on Stormfront,
the hate movements oldest online
forum, in 2008. She went on to describe
racist stereotypes, tarring Black people
as criminals and saying Mexicans have
too many kids. Her language was cruel but familiar,
drawing from Americas communal well
of white supremacy. Many white Ameri-
cans are quick to distinguish between
everyday prejudice and radical bigotry,
but its a false distinction. White nation-
alists make explicit ideas that are al-
ready coded or veiled in the wider white
imagination. Hate is what many people
would see if they looked in a fun-house
mirror: a distorted but still recogniz-
able reflection. It is important to acknowledge this
ugly truth if we hope to understand
events now unfolding across the coun-
try. Thousands of white people are joining
protests against police brutality. Polls
show a surge of support for the Black
Lives Matter movement, and three-
quarters of Americans believe racial
discrimination is a serious problem, a
25-point jump from five years ago.
These developments are heartening in
a country that has refused a meaningful
reckoning with racism for the last 400
It would be a mistake, however, to
assume that this moment heralds a
future of unprecedented harmony.
There are questions about whether
white lip service will translate into
sustained anti-racist action, and about
what the same people who condemn
unlawful killings of Black Americans
might have to say about less violent
manifestations of racism, ones that
benefit them. There is also the inevita-
bility of backlash: History shows that
there are always people who turn to
hate in the very moments that others
find hope. There are nearly 1,000 hate groups in
America, according to the Southern
Poverty Law Center, and the distribu-
tion of white-supremacist propaganda
is ever widening. We know little about
how to combat hate effectively; the
federal government has cut funding for
programs to counter right-wing ex-
tremism and blocked the dissemination
of data on the subject. Only last year did
the Department of Homeland Security
acknowledge that white supremacy is a
national security threat. The gaps in knowledge mean that
journalists and politicians often rely on
flawed assumptions for instance, that
white nationalism is the sole province of
angry men. Men are the far rights most
recognizable evangelists, and bomb- ings, shootings and rallies are the most
obvious manifestations of the move-
ments strength. But there is other work
keeping the flames of hate alive, and it is
often done by women. Women like
Corinna Olsen.
Ms. Olsen became an embalmer in her
late 20s because, in a way, she had to.
Divorced with two kids, she needed to
make money. She had never finished
college and did not have any demon-
strable professional skills. But she had
always been fascinated by rituals and
what she calls the misunderstood
subjects that are taboo or macabre.
Embalming fit the bill.
Ms. Olsen also had a personal connec-
tion to the profession because of her
younger brother, Harley. He was fun,
outgoing, well-liked everything she
was not. Ms. Olsen had always strug-
gled to connect with other people and to
be understood. At 20, Harley drowned in a boating
accident on Oregons Crescent Lake.
Ms. Olsen was never able to look at his
body. It took the authorities more than a
year to recover it, and then he was
cremated. As an embalmer, Ms. Olsen
decided to specialize in difficult cases
gunshot victims, bodies charred in fires,
corpses with battered and broken faces
to give families one last chance to see,
maybe even to recognize, their loved
ones. Harley also inadvertently introduced
Ms. Olsen to white nationalism. On what
would have been his 27th birthday, in
2008, she found herself wanting to know
more about her brother and the things
that had mattered to him. He had been
an anarchist who listened to punk mu-
sic, wore black combat boots and hung
out with skinheads in studded leather
jackets. So Ms. Olsen went online and
typed in, What are skinheads? She told me that she had no idea at the
time that some skinheads were neo-
Nazis. Thats hard to believe, but similar
explanations came up often in our
conversations about her time in the hate
movement. When she said that she
hadnt known any better, I didnt get the
impression that she hoped I would feel
sorry for her. (I didnt.) Rather, she
seemed to be saying that she knew
shed been an idiot. She should have
known better and could have, if shed
cared to think more critically. Ms. Olsen had never thought too hard
about being white. Like many white
Americans, she never had to. She grew
up in a largely white school district in
Eugene, Ore., and she did not interact
meaningfully with people of other races
until her late 20s, when she moved to
Portland for her embalming career. She
had paid such little mind to race as a
concept that there was a flatness to her
understanding of it, a one-dimensional-
ity susceptible to simplified reasoning.
When her search for information
about skinheads led straight to Storm-
front, the racist bowels of the internet,
Ms. Olsen wasnt fazed. Some Storm-
front users said vile and violent things,
but others talked about white pride and
And that didnt seem bad to her. Black
people could celebrate their roots,
Hispanic people, too. It stood to reason,
Ms. Olsen thought, that white people
should be able to do the same. Storm-
front users presented this as if it were a
mathematical proof, not a notion
freighted with a racist, violent history. Ms. Olsen wrote a post introducing
herself and asking, Is there something
wrong with being a white supremacist?
I dont outwardly profess hatred for
other races; I have to work with them
and also serve clients of other races in
my industry, and I am very good at what
I do. I dont advocate violence toward
other races. She continued, What is
wrong with seeing our race as superior
to that of the blacks? Dont we all?
The responses were plentiful and
affirming. There is nothing wrong with
having a personal opinion, one read. A
commenter with the handle Thoughtful
Patriot wrote, Lets face reality: Peo-
ple self-segregate by race. Race, the
person added, is an intrinsic part of
who we are. To Ms. Olsen, these people seemed
smart. Just as important, she told me,
they seemed immensely interested in
me and my life, and they wanted to be
my friend. To someone who grew up
without friends, that was very appeal-
ing. It made me feel like I must be doing
something right. She wasnt always sure that she
believed what she said when she echoed
her new friends views, but what mat-
tered was that they wanted to keep
talking to her; all she had to do was log
in and start typing. If playing a part
graduated to instinct, maybe they
would like her even more.
The most basic definition of hate is
personal animus, but there is a more
useful, and frightening, description:
Hate is a social bond a shared cur-
rency and it abhors a vacuum.
Kathleen Blee, a sociologist and
expert in racist activism, writes that
social camaraderie, a desire for simple
answers to complex political problems,
or even the opportunity to take action
against formidable social forces can
coexist with, even substitute for, hatred
as the reason for participation in orga- nized racist activities.
So can a need for validation, visibility
and purpose. For someone like Ms.
Olsen, hate becomes a cure for loneli-
ness. People who are drawn to the hate
movement have an acute desire to make
sense of their place in the world. Theres
a gap between who they are and who
they think they should be, what they
have and what they want. They want to seize or regain what
they believe is a
rightful status. They
want empowerment,
with minimal effort.
Hate promises them
that.The movements
appeal goes some-
thing like this: Amer-
ica is a white country,
built by white people,
that is under attack from the enemies of
the white race. The time is now or never
to forestall racial annihilation. Anyone
can do that by embracing white pride,
standing up for the well-being of white
people and securing Americas future
by having white children. Whoever
joins the movement will be part of some-
thing greater than themselves, a right-
eous cause.
Who doesnt want to lead people to
victory? Ms. Olsen asked me. Hate always exists, but it surges
during periods of social upheaval, offer-
ing racist explanations for seismic
change. The Ku Klux Klan formed after the
Civil War and reached its zenith in the
1920s, in an expanding, diversifying
country. Its allures were manifold, the
historian Linda Gordon writes of the
Klan. They included the rewards of
being an insider, of belonging to a com-
munity, of expressing and acting on
resentments, of participating in drama,
of feeling religiously and morally right-
eous, of turning a profit. White Citizens Councils and other
organs of resistance emerged in reac-
tion to the civil rights movement. Hate
fed on opposition to second- and third-
wave feminism, the expansion of
L.G.B.T.Q. rights, and shifting racial
Then came the election of President
Barack Obama. Right-wing extremists
are harnessing this historical election
as a recruitment tool, a Homeland
Security report noted in 2009. The first
year of Mr. Obamas presidency, Storm-
front registered nearly 100,000 new
Ms. Olsen was part of this wave,
which also found fuel in the xenophobia
of the post-Sept. 11 era and public dis-
gust with the financial crisis. Her in-
volvement accelerated quickly. Some of
her online friends asked to meet in real
life, and by 2009, she was the head of
Portlands chapter of the National
Socialist Movement. She read Mein
Kampf, donned a uniform with Nazi
insignia for meetings, and placed re-
cruitment fliers with phrases like Jew-
ish people are ruining America on windshields in parking lots.
In November 2009, she traveled with
fellow neo-Nazis to Phoenix to attend a
rally demanding a halt to the immigra-
tion of anyone who was not white. Par-
ticipants also wanted to expel nonwhite
people already in America. The rallys
theme was America First, a slogan
once used by isolationist politicians and
the Klan that, several years later, Mr.
Trump would invoke in his campaign for
the White House. Ms. Olsens embalming career fal-
tered and she all but lost contact with
her children as she went deeper into the
movement. In 2010, she left Portland for
Montana, where she moved in with a
white nationalist named April Gaede,
best known as the stage mom of Prus-
sian Blue, blond twin girls who made
national headlines for playing racist
music. The duos name was a reference
to the color of the residue left or not
left, according to Holocaust deniers
by Zyklon B in Nazi gas chambers. After a few months, Ms. Olsen had a
falling out with Ms. Gaede and relocated
to Seattle, where she started working
for the Northwest Front, a group that
promoted the establishment of a white
homeland in the Pacific Northwest. She
soon gained notoriety as the co-host of
Radio Free Northwest, a weekly broad-
cast, under the name Axis Sally. It was
a reference to Mildred Gillars, an Amer-
ican woman living in Germany who was
handpicked by Joseph Goebbels to
spread propaganda on Nazi radio to
Allied troops in Europe. Gillars was
later convicted of treason. Being Axis Sally gave Gillars, a strug-
gling actress, a platform, popularity and
power. It did the same for Ms. Olsen. She
became briefly famous enough for a
Gawker profile in 2010: The internet is
full of strange people, it read. Ms. Olsen
may be the strangest.
Many people rationalize their racism
or even refuse to call it that by insist-
ing that it isnt as bad as someone elses.
They could spit on immigrants instead
of complaining in private about foreign-
ers stealing American jobs. They could
put Jewish people in camps instead of
muttering about how they have too
much power. Bigotry has many branches, some
bigger and stronger than others, but
they all derive from the same trunk. No
wonder, then, that when somebody
said he didnt like Black people, or he
we have
to under-
stand it. Seyward Darby
One womans descent into white supremacy
The move-
ment is
poised to
exploit white
and fears.
A man outside the location where Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist, was
delivering a speech on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, in 2017.
Corinna Olsen at her home in Federal Way, Wash.
Corinna Olsen at 15 with her younger
brother, Harley, who drowned at age 20. Opinion

10 |W EDNESDAY, JULY 22, 2020 THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL EDITION The month after Donald Trumps inau-
guration, the Yale historian Timothy
Snyder published the best-selling book
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the
Twentieth Century. It was part of a
small flood of titles meant to help Ameri-
cans find their bearings as the new
president laid siege to liberal democra-
One of Snyders lessons was, Be
wary of paramilitaries. He wrote,
When the pro-leader paramilitary and
the official police and military intermin-
gle, the end has come. In 2017, the idea
of unidentified agents in camouflage
snatching leftists off the streets without
warrants might have seemed like a
febrile Resistance fantasy. Now its
According to a lawsuit filed by Ore-
gons attorney general, Ellen Rosen-
blum, on Friday, federal agents have
been using unmarked vehicles to drive
around downtown Portland, detain
protesters, and place them into the
officers unmarked vehicles since at
least last Tuesday. The protesters are
neither arrested nor told why theyre
being held.
Theres no way to know the affiliation of all the agents theyve been wearing
military fatigues with patches that just
say Police but The Times reported
that some of them are part of a special-
ized Border Patrol group that normally
is tasked with investigating drug smug-
gling organizations.
The Trump administration has an-
nounced that it intends to send a similar
force to other cities; on Monday, The
Chicago Tribune reported on plans to
deploy about 150 federal agents to Chi-
cago. I dont need invitations by the
state, Chad Wolf, acting secretary of
the Department of Homeland Security,
said on Fox News Monday, adding,
Were going to do that whether they
like us there or not. In Portland, we see what such an
occupation looks like. Oregon Public
Broadcasting reported on 29-year-old
Mark Pettibone, who early last Wednes-
day was grabbed off the street by un-
identified men, hustled into an un-
marked minivan and taken to a holding
cell in the federal courthouse. He was
eventually released without learning
who had abducted him. A federal agent shot 26-year-old
Donavan La Bella in the head with an
impact munition; he was hospitalized
and needed reconstructive surgery. In a
widely circulated video, a 53-year-old
Navy veteran was pepper sprayed and
beaten after approaching federal agents
to ask them about their oaths to the
Constitution, leaving him with two
broken bones.
Theres something particularly terri-
fying in the use of Border Patrol agents
against American dissidents. After the
attack on protesters near the White House last month, the military pushed
back on Trumps attempts to turn it
against the citizenry. Police officers in
many cities are willing to brutalize
demonstrators, but theyre under local
control. U.S. Customs and Border Pro-
tection, however, is under federal au-
thority, has leadership thats fanatically
devoted to Trump and is saturated with
far-right politics.
It doesnt surprise me that Donald
Trump picked C.B.P. to be the ones to go
over to Portland and do this, Repre-
sentative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of
Texas, told me. It
has been a very
problematic agency
in terms of respect-
ing human rights
and in terms of
respecting the law.It is true that
C.B.P. is not an
militia, and so might
not fit precisely into
Snyders On Tyranny schema. But
when I spoke to Snyder on Monday, he
suggested the distinction isnt that
significant. The state is allowed to use
force, but the state is allowed to use
force according to rules, he said. These
agents, operating outside their normal
roles, are by all appearances behaving
Snyder pointed out that the history of
autocracy offers several examples of
border agents being used against re-
gime enemies. This is a classic way that violence
happens in authoritarian regimes,
whether its Francos Spain or whether its the Russian Empire, said Snyder.
The people who are getting used to
committing violence on the border are
then brought in to commit violence
against people in the interior.
Castro worries that since the agents
are unidentified, far-right groups could
easily masquerade as them to go after
their enemies on the left. It becomes
more likely the more that this tactic is
used, he said. I think its unconstitu-
tional and dangerous and heading
towards fascism. On Friday, the House speaker, Nancy
Pelosi, tweeted about whats happening
in Portland: Trump and his storm
troopers must be stopped. She didnt
mention what Congress plans to do to
stop them, but the House will soon vote
on a homeland security appropriations
bill. People outraged about the adminis-
trations police-state tactics should
demand, at a minimum, that Congress
hold up the departments funding until
those tactics are halted. Through the Trump years, theres
been a debate about whether the presi-
dents authoritarianism is tempered by
his incompetence. Those who think
concern about fascism is overblown can
cite several instances when the admin-
istration has been beaten back after
overreaching. But all too often the
White House has persevered, deform-
ing American life until what once
seemed like worst-case scenarios be-
come the status quo.
Trump has already established that
his allies, like Michael Flynn and Roger
Stone, are above the law. What happens
now will tell us how many of us are
below it.
Trumps occupation of American cities has begun
Federal agents confronting Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Ore., on Monday. NOAH BERGER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Protesters are
being snatched
from the
streets without
Can we call
it fascism yet?Michelle Goldberg
Researchers have responded to the
challenge of the coronavirus with a
commitment to speed and cooperation,
featuring the rapid sharing of prelimi-
nary findings through preprints,
scientific manuscripts that have not yet
undergone formal peer review.We are thrilled that researchers have
embraced preprints, which are making
new ideas, data and discoveries about
the pandemic available to scientists and
the public in almost real time. An exam-
ple is the work of Bhramar Mukherjee
and her team at the University of Michi-
gan, whose research modeling the
Covid-19 outbreak in India helped guide
that governments lockdown policies. But the open dissemination of early
versions of papers has created a chal-
lenge: how to ensure that policymakers
and the public do not act too hastily on
early studies that are soon shown to
have serious errors. A case in point occurred in April when
a group of scientists from Stanford
University posted the results of a study
of previous exposure to the coronavirus
in 3,300 residents of Santa Clara, Calif.
Their paper, published on the preprint
server medRxiv, concluded that the
number of infections is 50- to 85-fold
larger than the number of cases de-
tected, suggesting that the fatality
rates due to the coronavirus were much
lower than previously thought.
Given the policy implications of such
a result, it is no surprise that the study
received immediate attention on social
media, and in the local and national
press. But the methods and results of
the study were quickly questioned by
scientists, who used Twitter, blogs and online comments on medRxiv to air
concerns about the studys design, the
reliability of the antibody tests and the
statistical methodology, including
important errors in the basic mathemat-
ical formulas.
This coupling of rapid dissemination
with an informal, crowdsourced form of
peer review reflects a new and poten-
tially transformative way to do science.
But the speed of modern journalism,
and the lack of familiarity of the press
and public with preprints, meant that
despite being largely debunked, the
results were pretty much taken at face value.
It has always
been a challenge for
science journalists
to balance the re-
sults of individual
studies against the
complex and often
contentious process
by which science
converges on a
better understand-
ing of reality. In the
past, because they
were generally
reporting on studies that had been
through peer review at a scholarly
journal, journalists could be confident
that the work they were describing had
received at least some scrutiny from
independent scientists, even if that did
not guarantee its accuracy.
But the slow and staid system of
journal peer review in its current form
offers little help to journalists in the
rapid-fire world of preprints, especially
amid a pandemic when there are strong
forces aligned against patience. The
best initial reporting on the Stanford
study incorporated the concerns raised
by scientists on Twitter. But we realize
that we cannot rely on this as the sole
means of guarding against the overly hasty application of science reported in
That is why we and a group of over
100 scientists are calling for American
scientists and journalists to join forces
to create a rapid-review service for
preprints of broad public interest. It
would corral a diverse contingent of
scientists ready to comment on new
preprints and to be responsive to report-
ers on deadline. This would provide
journalists reliable access to independ-
ent scientists to help deal with todays
growing stream of preprints. Such a service would collaborate with
journals and other respected organiza-
tions working at the interface between
science and journalism. For example,
SciLine a philanthropically sup-
ported free service for journalists based
at the American Association for the
Advancement of Science mediates
hundreds of media interviews with scientists every year, and similar orga-
nizations exist in Britain, Germany,
Australia and New Zealand. The service
would also collaborate with professional
organizations, such as the American
Statistical Association, to recruit a team
of volunteers with the expertise needed
to assess new preprints on journalists
We hope that scientists will step up to
this need and provide journalists with
the tools they need to better understand
the research and convey its practical
message. The public and policymakers
must demand this kind of scrutiny
before they turn the latest science on
Covid-19 or anything else into policy or
individual action.
Michael Eisen
Robert Tibshirani
MICHAEL EISENis a biologist at the Uni-
versity of California, Berkeley. ROBERT
TIBSHIRANI is a statistician at Stanford
How to identify flawed research
and journ-
alists need
to establish
a service
to review
research thats
before it is
peer reviewed.
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92 01, Commission Paritaire No. 0523 C83099. Printed in France by Paris Offset Print 30 Rue Raspail 93120 La Courneuve Representative John Lewis, who died Friday at age 80,
will be remembered as a principal hero of the blood-
drenched era not so long ago when Black people in the
South were being shot, blown up or driven from their
homes for seeking basic human rights. The moral
authority Mr. Lewis exercised in the House of Repre-
sentatives while representing Georgias Fifth Con-
gressional District for more than 30 years found its
headwaters in the aggressive yet self-sacrificial style
of protests that he and his compatriots in the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee deployed in the
early 1960s as part of the campaign that overthrew
Southern apartheid.
These young demonstrators chose to underscore the
barbaric nature of racism by placing themselves at
risk of being shot, gassed or clubbed to death during
protests that challenged the Southern practice of shut-
ting Black people out of the polls and white only
restaurants, and confining them to colored only
seating on public conveyances. When arrested,
S.N.C.C. members sometimes refused bail, dramatiz-
ing injustice and withholding financial support from a
racist criminal justice system.
This young cohort conspicuously ignored members
of the civil rights establishment who urged them to
patiently pursue remedies through the courts. Among
the out-of-touch elder statesmen was the distinguished
civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who was sev-
eral years away from becoming the nations first Black
Supreme Court justice when he argued that young
activists were wrong
to continue the dan-
gerous Freedom Rides
of early 1961, in which
interracial groups
rode buses into the
Deep South to test a
Supreme Court ruling
that had outlawed
segregation in inter-
state transport.Mr. Marshall con-
demned the Freedom
Rides as a wasted
effort that would only
get people killed. But
in the mind of Mr. Lewis, the depreda-
tions that Black Amer-
icans were experienc-
ing at the time were
too pressing a matter to be left to a slow judicial
process and a handful of attorneys in a closed court-
room. By attacking Jim Crow publicly in the heart of
the Deep South, the young activists in particular were
animating a broad mass movement in a bid to awaken
Americans to the inhumanity of Southern apartheid.
Mr. Lewis came away from the encounter with Mr.
Marshall understanding that the mass revolt brewing
in the South was as much a battle against the compla-
cency of the civil rights establishment as against rac-
ism itself.
By his early 20s, Mr. Lewis had embraced a form of
nonviolent protest grounded in the principle of re-
demptive suffering a term he learned from the Rev.
James Lawson, who had studied the style of nonvio-
lent resistance that the Indian leader Mahatma Gan-
dhi had put into play during British colonial rule. The
principle reminded Mr. Lewis of his religious upbring-
ing and of a prayer his mother had often recited. The essence of the nonviolent life, he wrote, is the
capacity to forgive even as a person is cursing you
to your face, even as he is spitting on you, or pushing a
lit cigarette into your neck and to understand that
your attacker is as much a victim as you are. At bot-
tom, this philosophy rested upon the belief that people
of good will the Beloved Community, as Mr. Lewis
called them would rouse themselves to combat evil
and injustice. Mr. Lewis carried these beliefs into the Freedom
Rides. The travelers described their departing meal at
a Chinese restaurant in Washington as The Last Sup-
per. Several of the participants had actually written
out wills, consistent with the realization that they
might never make it home. No one wanted to die, but
it was understood that a willingness to do so was es-
sential to the quest for justice. The passing of John Lewis deprives the United
States of its foremost warrior in a battle for racial
justice that stretches back into the 19th century and
the passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments. Ameri-
cans and particularly his colleagues in Congress
can best honor his memory by picking up where he
left off. John Lewiss
to do so was
to the quest
for civil rights
in America.
DEAN BAQUET, Executive Editor
JOSEPH KAHN, Managing Editor
TOM BODKIN, Creative Director
SUZANNE DALEY, Associate Editor
Chief Executive Officer
STEPHEN DUNBAR-JOHNSON, President, International
CHARLOTTE GORDON, V.P., International Consumer Marketing
HELEN KONSTANTOPOULOS, V.P., International Circulation
HELENA PHUA, Executive V.P., Asia-Pacific
SUZANNE YVERNÈS, International Chief Financial Officer

tures and that they face a particularly
formidable set of obstacles. The regions
deep political fissures make it difficult
for outsiders to avoid taking sides in its
many conflicts. This poses a risk for a
China that aims to be a friend of every-
one Iran, Israel and Arab states alike
to maximize the benefits of its re-
gional engagement while minimizing its
commitments. Consistent with this
balancing act, the leak of the China-Iran
agreement roughly coincided with the
biannual China-Arab States Coopera-
tion Forum early this month, which
prompted numerous proclamations of
Chinese friendship with Irans Arab
rivals.Even more daunting is the outsize
role played by the United States in the
region, one that ironically benefits
Beijing as it expands its economic ven-
tures without being able to provide
adequate security for its capital and
citizens deployed to the region. For all
its wolf warrior bluster, China contin-
ues to pick its battles with Washington.
So far, it largely has chosen not to wage
them in the Middle East for example,
doing little beyond diplomatic finger-
wagging to shelter Iran from American
secondary sanctions. So even as China
seeks to make strategic gains in the
Middle East, it does so sotto voce
bolstering its own role and challenging
Washingtons without fanfare. Iran, Chinas foremost regional part-
ner, faces a conundrum of its own.
Squeezed by Americas maximum
pressure campaign, Tehran needs
whatever friends it can find. And China,
which beside being rich and powerful
shares Irans revisionist inclination to
challenge the United Statess role in the
international order, would seem to be a
perfect match. Yet Irans history has made it suspi-
cious of external powers, and Chinas
help in recent years buying Iranian
oil in small quantities at a steep discount
and crowding out Iranian domestic producers with low-cost imports
seems not to have engendered affection
among the Iranian populace. What
Iranians seem to desire is to be no ones
junior partner, but to be self-sufficient
and stand among the likes of Russia and
China as equals.
What amount to challenges for China
and Iran in further developing their ties
constitute opportunities for an America
worried about the partnership between
them. The United States should, at
every step, aim to exacerbate the co-
nundrums each faces. It should, for
example, emphasize that Iranian de-
pendence on China besides being
costly is a policy choice and that the
door remains open to the rest of the
international community if Tehran is
willing to compromise on its nuclear
ambitions and regional policies. And
Washington should enlist regional
partners who may otherwise prefer
to enjoy the benefits of good relations
with Beijing while leaving it up to the
United States to confront China when it
empowers Iran through arms sales or
investment. Make no mistake: The China-Iran
relationship has long been important for
both countries, contributing for exam-
ple to Irans nuclear and missile ad-
vancements. And whether in the form of
formal partnership agreements or
simply ad hoc cooperation, those rela-
tions are very likely to grow closer yet in
coming years, as China tries to project
power westward and Iran seeks to
insulate itself from the debilitating
effects of American power and enhance
its own regional influence. But while the deepening of the Iran-
China relationship may be inevitable,
the United States shouldnt let it be easy
for either Tehran or Beijing.
When China met Iran
President Xi Jinping of China, left, and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran in 2016.
for Middle East affairs at the National
Security Council, is the managing direc-
tor of the Washington Institute for Near
East Policy.
The real Afghan story:
The need to get out
Re Trump Knew What Russia Was
Doing, and He Did Nothing (Opin-
ion, July 15):Douglas London is right to raise
questions about what President
Trump knew about U.S. intelligence
reports describing possible Russian
bounty payments to the Taliban. But
as troubling and confusing as this
entire story is, its hardly the most
important subject. If competitors and adversaries like
Russia, Iran and Pakistan are deliber-
ately encouraging Taliban fighters to
target U.S. troops, its because doing
so is an easy way of keeping Ameri-
cans mired in a decades-long civil
war with no end in sight. All three are
taking advantage of the situation. If President Trump wants to de-
prive the Russians of this opportuni-
ty, he should extricate the United
States from the conflict. The tempta-
tion in Washington will be to escalate
in Afghanistan and complicate
Moscows own plans in the country.
But this would translate only into
more U.S. investment for little gain. Mr. Trump should instead do the
sensible thing and finally pull the
roughly 8,000 U.S. troops out of an
unwinnable war. A withdrawal would
not be a favor to Russia; it would be a
favor to ourselves and a belated
acknowledgment that long military
deployments very often have nega-
tive, unforeseen consequences.
The writer is a fellow at Defense Priori-
ties, a foreign policy think tank.
Creating an equitable economy
In The Jobs We Need, (editorial,
June 29) you compare the economy
to a pirate ship whose owners have
gradually claimed a larger share of
the booty at the expense of the crew.
If only the economy were like a pirate
ship! Pirate crews collectively ran
their ships and elected their captains.
If American businesses had such a
democratic structure, the $1 trillion a
year plunder of workers wages by
the captains of business, described in
the editorial, would not have hap-
The writer is a professor of economics
at the University of New Brunswick.F ROM READERS
To submit a letter to the editor, email
nytiletters@nytimes.comtold a racist joke, or he said illegal immi-
gration is wrong, Ms. Olsen recalled,
she assumed he might be interested in
becoming a neo-Nazi, too.
There were, however, lines Ms. Olsen
said she wouldnt cross. In 2011, she
decided she was done with white nation-
alism. That January, the police in
Spokane disarmed a pipe bomb left on a
bench along the route of a parade for
Martin Luther Kings Birthday. The
bomb contained 128 fishing weights
coated with rat poison, which impedes
blood clotting, and human feces, which
teem with infection-causing bacteria.
The engineer was Kevin Harpham, an
Army veteran and neo-Nazi who fre-
quented the same kinds of online for-
ums Ms. Olsen did. Mr. Harpham would plead guilty to
attempted use of a weapon of mass
destruction and to a hate crime. He said
in court that he had intended for the
bomb to be a protest against multicul-
turalism. It was also a gesture to fellow
white nationalists. When people plant
bombs, burn crosses, or run their cars
into crowds of peaceful protesters, they
are reinforcing their place in a commu-
nity by inflicting terror. In her telling, Ms. Olsen decided to
leave the hate movement because she
realized that she could not tolerate
violence. That may have been part of it,
but when I spoke to her, it was clear that
she also exited because the movement
stopped giving her the meaning and
camaraderie she wanted. She had clashed with people like Ms.
Gaede and felt judged for her personal
choices, namely her decision not to have
more children. She wanted to restart her
embalming career, and she had discov-
ered that she had a knack for bodybuild-
ing, winning amateur competitions and
finding community at the gym. People dont leave the hate movement
because a veil lifts and they are sud-
denly able to see hate for what it is. The
truth is more disappointing. They leave
because it makes sense for them, be-
cause the value hate once gave them
has diminished or evaporated. Ms.
Olsen seemed to know this, writing once
on a blog, The reality is, people rarely
change their personality or ideals dur-
ing adulthood, and if they do, it needs to
be something they do on their own, for
themselves. When the F.B.I. offered to pay her to
inform on the Northwest Front, Ms.
Olsen agreed. She worked as an inform-
ant for a few months, then cut ties with
hate for good in late 2012. Shortly after, in an interview with the Southern Pov-
erty Law Center, she said, I realized
much too late that this entire movement
is a huge waste of life.
Just as Ms. Olsen was leaving the hate
movement, it found a new source of
energy. The resulting wave would wash
over America, helping usher in the
Trump presidency, the terrible events in
Charlottesville, Va., and, in 2018, the
highest number of killings attributed to
right-wing extremists since the year of
the Oklahoma City bombing.
But first, it inspired Dylann Roof to
commit mass murder. In the manifesto
he wrote before killing nine people at
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal
Church in Charleston, S.C., Mr. Roof
described the shooting of Trayvon
Martin as the event that truly awak-
ened his racism. I read the Wikipedia article and right
away I was unable to understand what
the big deal was, Mr. Roof wrote in 2015.
How could the news be blowing up the
Trayvon Martin case, he asked, while
hundreds of these Black-on-white mur-
ders got ignored?
The shooting death of an unarmed
Black teenager and the authorities
initial decision not to arrest the gunman,
George Zimmerman, spurred protests.
President Obama said, If I had a son,
hed look like Trayvon. Mr. Zimmerman was ultimately
charged with second-degree murder
and acquitted in 2013. Three activists on Twitter created the hashtag #Black-
LivesMatter. A movement was born.
Backlash followed in the form of the
#WhiteLivesMatter and #AllLivesMat-
ter campaigns, and in unfounded accu-
sations that Black Lives Matter was a
radical, violent organization.
Some prominent white supremacists
now point to the birth of Black Lives
Matter as a pivotal moment in their
radicalization. Lana Lokteff, a white
nationalist who runs the popular alt-
news platform Red Ice with her hus-
band, told me that period was when she
realized the truth was pointing to-
ward there being an attack on white
people. Ms. Lokteff produces videos
with titles like Why They Want to
Replace White People and peddles
false narratives about Black-on-white
crime. This rhetoric is not confined to the
internets most shadowy corners. In late
June, as protests against police brutal-
ity and systemic racism entered their
fourth week, President Trump re-
tweeted videos that seemed to show
Black men attacking white people.
Sounding eerily like Ms. Lokteff, Mr.
Roof and other extremists, he de-
manded public outrage. Soon after,
when New York City announced a plan
to paint Black Lives Matter in yellow
letters on Fifth Avenue, where Trump
Tower sits, the president called it a
symbol of hate. All this suggests that the uprisings in
the name of Black liberation are cause
for optimism, but also for vigilance. Digital networks and the White
House shovel disinformation into
peoples brains every minute of every
day. Conspiracy theories run rampant.
A pandemic is reshaping the social
landscape, isolating people from one
another and entrenching the worst
unemployment crisis in nearly a cen-
tury. The presidential election looms. Perhaps more people than ever will
emerge from 2020 on the side of justice.
Still, there are those who will turn to
hate, finding it perversely to be a
kind of balm.
Research shows that a shared sense
of racial identity is hardening among
white Americans. The political scientist
Ashley Jardina has found that some 20
percent of white Americans, roughly 40
million people, now have strong levels
of group consciousness, meaning they
feel a sense of discontent over the
status of their group. Having group
consciousness does not automatically
translate into prejudice, but the hate
movement is poised to exploit white
peoples grievances and fears.
What can we do to stop it? There arent
easy answers. Tech companies should
identify and ban hate speech, but this
process inevitably becomes a game of
Whac-a-Mole. Similarly, bringing the
law to bear on hate speech and crimes is
necessary but remedial; levying penal-
ties for individual acts of wrongdoing
wont vaccinate America against far-
right extremism. I will confess to being a pessimist by
nature, and while reporting on the hate
movement, I found it difficult not to feel
despondent. Magnifying my gloom
were encounters with white liberals
who made statements that I recognized
as precisely the kind of bait white na-
tionalists use to make their case to the
mainstream. Standing in a breakfast buffet line, a
middle-aged writer told me that I
needed to be very careful with the book I
was writing lest it hurt women (white
ones, presumably). Of course, she said,
what white-nationalist women support
is wrong, but everyone is complicit in
something, right? Lowering her voice,
she added that America never would
have had slavery if Africans hadnt sold
their own people to European traders.
In a tweet on July 4, Ms. Lokteff ex-
pressed the same idea more or less
verbatim. The least Americans can ask of one
another is to have frank conversations
about whiteness, no matter how uncom-
fortable. People concerned about the
tide of hate can also work to empower
minority populations, tackle inequality,
foster dialogue about prejudice and root
discriminatory ideas out of American
life. They can vote bigots out of office.
They can support the work of groups
like Life After Hate, which helps people
leave far-right groups.
First, though, combating hate re-
quires understanding it. Not what it
seems to be, but what it actually is. That
includes who embraces it, and why. So much of history is made up of
small moves. Hope, too, dwells in
increments. There is hope if white
Americans can confront the true face of
hate and their own complicity in big-
otry. There is hope if we can see white
nationalism as a crisis of individual and
collective responsibility.
Ms. Olsen knows how hate works,
because it worked on her. These days,
she likes sticking it to the racists she
once considered friends. She has
bragged on Twitter about ordering a
Black Lives Matter T-shirt to wear to
the gym so that she could offend
multiple people. She had also ordered a Nike hijab.
Once a seeker, always one: In 2018, Ms.
Olsen decided to become a Muslim. She liked how the religion gave
structure to her days. She liked that
Islam was a topic she could learn about
from books. Keeping her body covered
meant that it was hers and no one
elses. It is freeing, actually, to feel like
Im taking something away from men,
she told me. At her mosque, the other
worshipers didnt want anything from
her; they just seemed glad she was
there, practicing Islam alongside them.
When she was done transporting
bodies for the day, we visited the
mosque. Sister Corinna! I heard
several Black and brown women crow
happily when they saw her. She had
friends here who cared about her.
Sometimes she led exercise classes in
the mosques gym, cuing women
through rounds of lunges and push-
ups. Once in a class, a call to prayer ema-
nated from a loudspeaker. The women
rushed to the middle of the gyms floor.
They left their shoes in a pile and stood
in a line. One used her cellphone to find
the direction of Mecca. A little to the
left! she instructed her classmates,
and the group edged that way. The prayer began. Silent, the women
stood hip to hip all except Ms. Olsen.
She was at one end of the line, where
she had left a gap between her body
and the rest of the group. The woman
closest to her glanced over. She was tall
and willowy, an immigrant from Niger.
She extended a hand, sending a ripple
through her abaya. She grasped Ms.
Olsens arm and tugged her close.
White supremacy was her world. And then she left.
is the editor in chief of
The Atavist Magazine and the author of
the forthcoming Sisters in Hate: Amer-
ican Women on the Front Lines of White
Nationalism, from which this essay is
An alt-right torch march at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.
White supremacists in downtown Phoenix. NICK OZAUn
prec ed ent edtimes .
Un parallele dcoverag e.
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ny tional

Wasps get a bad rap. And sometimes,
they deserve it. Bumblebees dont
swarm your barbecue the moment you
pour the lemonade. Butterflies wont
nest by the hundreds in your rafters,
then sting you for the crime of walking
But theyre not all murder hornets,
and theres another side to these so-
called pests. Wasps have a place in the
whirl of summer life. They raise fam-
ilies, stage complex battle royals and
make paper with their own spit. Some
even help us by hunting caterpillars and
other crop-munching bugs. Theyre also your neighbors. As
youre mowing, gardening or dining al-
fresco this summer, youll probably
meet some of them. Heres how to appre-
ciate and not tick off these crea-
tures we share the season with.
Uninvited guests have arrived at your
picnic. Theyre striped and kind of
stocky, with black dots on their faces.
Theyre German yellowjackets, and
they will not leave you alone. There is
method in their madness. Are they hov-
ering around your ham sandwich?
Theyre looking for protein to take to lar-
vae back at the nest. Trying to hijack
your soda can? They want to slurp up
the sugar, which powers their surpris-
ingly zippy flight. Beer or wine is even
more tempting, because it reminds
them of their favorite treat, fermenting
fruit. They seem like theyre trying to ruin
our day, said Jennifer Jandt, a zoologist
at the University of Otago in New Zea-
land who has studied the species for
years. In actuality, theyre just forag-
ing. Why are there so many of them at this
time of year? Like ants and honeybees,
German yellowjackets are social in-
sects. Each colony is founded by a single
queen, who starts laying eggs in late
spring and doesnt stop until her death,
in autumn. Most of these eggs become
workers, who spend the summer feed-
ing their proliferating population of
younger siblings: grabbing live caterpil-
lars, bits of roadkill or your tuna salad,
then chewing it into mincemeat for the
next generation. German yellowjackets make short
work of carcasses and rotting produce,
Dr. Jandt said: Theyre really impor-
tant decomposers. An invasive species
in the United States, which first estab-
lished itself on the East Coast about 50
years ago, it is now found across much of
the country and is the dominant yellow-
jacket in many states.
If one is trying to dominate your pic-
nic as well, Dr. Jandt suggests playing
along. Let it land, let it do its thing, she
said. When she collected data for her
masters thesis at the University of Wis-
consin-Madison, she shared a peanut
butter and jelly sandwich with her re-
search subjects every day, an experi-
ence she said helped her learn to appre-
ciate the insects personalities, and re-
ally forced me to be calm all the time.
But if, instead of a few foragers, you
find yourself dealing with an endless,
vengeful stream of yellowjackets, you
might have accidentally disturbed a
nest. These are hidden underground, or
in attics, ceilings or walls and can be
home to thousands of insects. Vibrating
a nest is the insect equivalent of setting
off a security alarm: Now youre the un-
invited guest, and its time to leave. Odds are pretty good that if you
stumble across a wasp nest, youre go-
ing to get stung at least about 10 times
while running away, said Dr. Jandt,
whose research now focuses on why
some wasp colonies are more ag-
gressive than others.
A tan mass in the shape of an amphora is
hanging from a tree. It brings to mind
Winnie the Pooh, who in cartoons often
seeks out such structures, assuming
theyre filled with honey.
Winnie the Pooh gets it wrong, said
Norman Patterson, a wasp removal spe-
cialist based in Connecticut. They dont
have honey. If the Hundred Acre Wood
were the real world, Pooh Bear would
reach into the nest and instead scoop out
a pawful of bald-faced hornets. Bald-faced hornets, which are techni-
cally yellowjackets. They nest above
ground and are found in much of the
United States. Theyre named for the
black and white patches on their heads.
While you might find their summer
homes in a tree in your yard, some tuck
them under the eaves of houses or hide
them cheekily in ornamental hedges.
Construction begins in late spring, when
a queen builds a small core nest and lays
a batch of eggs. By early summer, these
eggs have hatched into workers. The
workers scrape up wood pulp, some-
times from nearby decks or fences, and
chew it to form long ribbons. They then
add these strips to the nest one at a time
a collaborative, midair papier-mâché
A single bald-faced hornet dwelling
may grow to the size of a rugby ball. It
can house hundreds of workers, includ-
ing a cadre of guards primed to defend
it. Mr. Patterson is regularly called to re- move these nests, which he said people
often come upon the hard way, when
theyre trimming their bushes.
Mr. Patterson supplies these and
other wasps to medical labs, which har-
vest their venom and use it to create im-
munizations for people who are allergic
to stings. So he captures the bugs alive,
usually with a vacuum. If he finds a nest
full of larvae, he will take them home
and raise them before shipping them off. Hes not alone in seeing the good in
bald-faced hornets. Farmers often like a
nest or two around, because bald-faced
hornets like most wasps are good
at pest control. (Mr. Patterson has seen
one pluck a fly straight from a cows
Its perfect barbecue weather. You flip
the grill open for the first time all sum-
mer. As it turns out, others have been us-
ing it: a colony of paper wasps. Longer and skinnier than yellowjack-
ets, paper wasps are distinguished by
their back legs, which hang down when
they fly like a pair of pants, said Megan Asche, an entomology Ph.D. can-
didate at Washington State University.
There are a number of paper wasp
species native to particular areas of the
United States, as well as an invasive
one, a European variety that has spread
nationwide since its arrival in the 1970s.
Paper wasps have complex social
lives. While some colonies are founded
by one wasp, many start out with a few
queens, who brawl to establish domi-
nance. The winner lays most of the eggs,
and the others shoulder most of the for-
aging, maintenance and child care. Eliz-
abeth Tibbetts, a biologist at the Univer-
sity of Michigan who studies paper
wasp behavior, is investigating how the
insects form these hierarchies. She has
found that Northern paper wasps can
recognize one another, thanks to distinct
markings on their faces.
More recently, Dr. Tibbetts found that
Northern paper wasps can also keep
track of a social network of interaction,
she said: Even if they havent fought a
particular queen, they have an idea of
her strength from watching her fight
others and will treat her accordingly. You have to be pretty smart to be able
to do that, she said.
The males have their own rituals.
Each fall, male European paper wasps
in the Southern United States gather in
huge swarms at the tallest point they
can find to wait for potential mates. This
could be a high-rise building, a granary
or an amusement-park ride. On military
bases or at airports, its often an air traf-
fic control tower. Male wasps cant sting. But this be-
havior is understandably distressing to
people who witness it, including those
working inside the control towers.
They really freak people out, Ms. As-
che said.
So Ms. Asche, whose research is
funded by the United States Air Force, is
also doing behavioral studies, testing
whether the wasps can learn to associ-
ate a particular scent with a reward. (If
they can, the scent could be used to trap
them or to lure them away.) In the lab,
without a home to defend or larvae to
raise, they are a pleasure to work with,
she said, and spend most days lounging
in the sun like little tiny cats. Outside the lab, they arent so bad, ei-
ther. Theyre pretty uninterested in pic-
nic food, and you have to try hard to be
stung, Dr. Tibbetts said. But they are
very, very comfortable around human
dwellings and like to build their small
nests in places like porch rafters, Ms.
Asche said. If you dont want European paper
wasps near your house, you dont need a
military-style intervention, just some
forethought. In the springtime, if a small
nest with just a few paper wasps ap-
pears in your eaves, wait for a cool
morning below 60 degrees and
just take a stick and knock it down, she
said. The queens, who dont fly in cold
weather, will fall down with it. Then they
will build a home somewhere else. But if
its summertime, best to call a profes-
An enormous wasp is investigating your
flowerbed. It is black with caution-yel-
low markings, and its the size of a USB
stick. You are picking up the phone to
call your local bug expert. Whomever you plan to ring will be
ready for you. Your new friend is a fe-
male cicada killer. She and her peers are
about to emerge en masse throughout
the Eastern half of the United States to
hunt cicadas and to worry people. Ill
be getting lots of calls very shortly, said
Michael J. Raupp, a professor emeritus
of entomology at the University of
Maryland who does insect outreach
through his blog and YouTube channel,
both called Bug of the Week.
Cicada killers are solitary wasps:
They build nests, have offspring and
gather food all on their own. At the be-
ginning of July, the smaller male cicada
killers establish territories, often in peo-
ples yards. Females come out of the
ground a few weeks later.
When they do, many people become
concerned, Dr. Raupp said. Some are
put off by their size. Others confuse
them with other large wasp species, like
the Asian giant hornet, which kill hon-
eybees and have a very painful sting. (In
the United States, Asian giant hornets
have not been found outside Washing-
ton State. Yet.)
Cicada killers arent aggressive and
can be fun to watch, Dr. Raupp said. But
their lifestyle is a bit unusual. After mat-
ing with a male, a female will dig a bur-
row, called a gallery, in soft dirt, perhaps
a flower bed. She will then head up to the
treetops. When the wasp finds a cicada, she will
sting it, paralyzing it. She will then carry
it home. If you wait patiently near her
hole, you can see her fly back with this
ginormous cicada, often as big as she is,
Dr. Raupp said. You wonder how in the
world they can even lift this thing.
The wasp will drag her prey into her
gallery and lay an egg. She seems to
know the sex of the egg ahead of time
and apportions cicadas appropriately:
one or two for males, and two or three
for the much larger females. When the
egg hatches, the larva will eat the still-
living lunch. After its meal, the larva spins a co-
coon and stays put, staying under-
ground for the remainder of the sum-
mer, autumn, winter and spring until its
re-emergence as an adult next year, Dr.
Raupp said. As summer wanes, colony
life for German yellowjackets, bald-
faced hornets and paper wasps also
starts to slow down. In the fall, you may
notice a rush of workers fending for
themselves, seeking sugar where they
can. By the time winter comes, the
queens will be hibernating; the males
and workers dead; and the old nests
But if you missed them, dont be sad.
Theyll all come back next year.
Menacing winged intruders in the garden
Wasps can be a nuisance.
Sometimes they sting.
Better get used to them.
SYLVIE BOUCHARD/ALAMYClockwise from top: Wasps swarming
about the jam on a table in the Peak
District in England; a German yellow-
jacket with a chunk of salmon to take back
to the nest; bald-faced hornets entering
their nest.
They stage complex battles and
make paper with their own spit.
On May 25, conservationists were flying
over Botswanas Okavango Panhandle
when they counted something disturb-
ing: 169 dead elephants. A second flight
in June revealed more carcasses, bring-
ing the total to 356. Some of the animals
appeared to have died suddenly, collaps-
ing chest-first while walking or running.
No tusks had been removed, suggesting
that poaching for ivory might not be to
blame. But experts are left with few clues as
to whether the cause is something sinis-
ter, such as poisonings, or a naturally oc-
curring disease from which the areas el-
ephants will bounce back.
As elephant populations grow, it is
more likely that you will get mass die-
offs, probably on a bigger scale than
this, said Chris Thouless, the head of re-
search at Save the Elephants, a Kenya-
based conservation organization.
Death is no fun, but it comes to all living
things. But other conservationists expressed
more concern. In Botswana, there is a huge crisis
for elephants unfolding, said Mark Hi-
ley, the director of rescue operations at
National Park Rescue, a nonprofit orga-
nization based in Britain that combats
poaching in Africa. The most important
thing now is for an independent team to visit the area sample multiple car-
casses, the soil and waterways and
identify what is causing the deaths.
Researchers from Elephants Without
Borders, the conservation group in
Botswana that conducted the flights
documenting the problem, observed
some live elephants that appeared to be
disoriented, including one that was
walking in circles. Others were drag-
ging their hind legs, as though para-
lyzed, and still others appeared lethar-
gic and emaciated. Males and females,
young and old, all seem equally affected.
Botswana is home to around 130,000
savanna elephants, or about one-third of
the worlds remaining population. Al-
though there are some signs that ele-
phant and rhino poaching may be pick-
ing up there, many conservationists still
consider the country a critical haven for
elephants. In a report submitted to government
officials, Elephants Without Borders es-
timated that the spate of mysterious
deaths began at least as far back as
March. The total number of dead ele-
phants almost certainly exceeds 356,
the authors write, because their flights
did not cover the entire affected area.
Some conservationists say the coun-
trys government is not taking the
deaths seriously enough. Officials col-
lected samples from dead elephants for
testing in May, but they have not yet re-
leased results.
The delays in testing could literally
be killing elephants, Mr. Hiley added. Dr. Mmadi Reuben, the principal vet-
erinary officer at Botswanas Depart-
ment of Wildlife and National Parks, said the government was taking the
deaths seriously and had responded
swiftly, adequately and responsibly
as soon as we received this informa-
He said that some testing had ruled out common causes like anthrax, which
is caused by bacteria that occur natu-
rally in soil. He and his colleagues are
now working with labs in Zimbabwe,
South Africa and Canada to perform fur-
ther testing. There is still no evidence that the
deaths are foul play by humans, he add-
ed. Cyanide, which poachers sometimes
use to poison elephants, seems unlikely,
because in such cases, carcasses tend to be clumped together near where the poi-
son was deployed. It also tends to kill
other animals, but no other species
seem to be affected in this case. Howev-
er, its possible that other poisons could
be used against elephants, and Mr. Hiley
says some of them can dissipate quickly.
Dr. Thouless suspects that a naturally
occurring disease is the most likely cul-
prit. One leading candidate is encepha-
lomyocarditis, a viral infection that can
be transmitted by rodents and can cause
neurological symptoms. It killed around
60 elephants in South Africas Kruger
National Park in the mid-1990s.
Botswana also recently emerged from a
drought, which could have left some ele-
phants stressed and more vulnerable to
disease, Dr. Thouless said.
At this point, he continued, the deaths
do not constitute a conservation crisis,
because the numbers documented so far
represent a small percentage of the
15,000 to 20,000 elephants that live in
the Okavango Panhandle. This is dis-
tressing, but its currently trivial in pop-
ulation terms, he said. Past examples also show that when
conditions are favorable, elephants can
quickly rebound. For example, in 1970 and 1971, a
drought in Tsavo East National Park in
Kenya killed an estimated 5,900 of the
parks 35,000 elephants. By 1973, the
population was back to 35,000. Theres a limit to how much interfer-
ing with nature is worth doing, Dr.
Thouless said. You can go to an enor-
mous amount of effort without actually
achieving anything different in conser-
vation terms.
No clear cause found for deaths of 356 elephants
BY RACHEL NUWER An aerial view of the carcass of one of the elephants found dead for unknown reasons in Botswana.

On the sideline at the
Elland Road stadium, a member of the
coaching staff had leapt into the arms
of the defender Stuart Dallas and was
hanging onto him for dear life. Andrea
Radrizzani, the team owner, was stand-
ing by the tunnel, embracing every
player who approached him. In the
stands, Victor Orta, the technical direc-
tor, was pumping his arms and scream-
ing into the sky. Leeds United was almost there. For
16 years, the club has been yearning to
regain its place in the Premier League:
a decade and a half of humiliation,
chaos, false dawns and even falser
prophets in the perpetual sunsets of
English soccers second and third tiers.
And now, a fraught, narrow victory
against Barnsley on Thursday had
brought it to the cusp: not mathemati-
cally, not officially, not quite, not yet,
but spiritually, nearly. Amid all the emotion, the architect of
its exodus from the wilderness, the
eccentric Argentine coach Marcelo
Bielsa, walked across to his Barnsley
counterpart, Gerhard Struber. Bielsa
wanted to tell Struber, with that
slightly awkward, studious air he has,
how impressed he had been by his
team, how much he admired his work.
He found the right words for me,
Struber said. Bielsa was not concerned with what
came next. If either of Leeds closest
rivals, West Bromwich Albion and
Brentford, dropped so much as a point
over the weekend, that would be it, and
Leeds would be promoted. Bielsa did
not, he said, intend to watch either
match. He did not find daydreaming, hoping
for others to stutter so that he might be
a Premier League manager, conven-
ient. The situation is not resolved,
he said. He would instead do what he
always does: pore over opposition
analysis and scouting reports and
prepare training programs. Barely 24 hours later, the spiritual became mathematical. West Brom lost
at Huddersfield. Leeds United, after 16
long years, was up. Thousands of fans
quickly descended on Elland Road,
congregating on Bremner Square,
burning flares and setting off fireworks
and draping scarves over the statue of
Billy Bremner, the clubs greatest idol.
In one of the stadium suites high
above, the team gathered together
to watch their moment of ascension
danced and sang with them. Bielsa was
at home in Wetherby, a quiet market
town 20 minutes outside the city. A few
of his neighbors turned up to congratu-
late him. Thank you, he said. I dont
speak English, but thank you. They
smiled. You are God, one replied. As a teenager, in those long, hard
years of training and sparring and
hoping for a chance, the featherweight
world champion Josh Warrington
looked on with envy at Liverpool,
Manchester and Sheffield, northern
cities with a good tradition of boxing. Leeds, his hometown, was not like that.
It would, he realized, be his responsi-
bility to put it on the map.
Leeds has plenty of sporting tradi-
tions. If anything, it has too many. In
Warringtons eyes, it is first and fore-
most a soccer city. If you read the
back page of the paper, the football
always dominates, he said. But it is
also a rugby city: the sport predates
soccer in Leeds by several decades. It
is a cricket city, too: Headingley, the
local stadium, has produced at least
two of the finest moments in English
cricket history.
And in recent years, Leeds athletes
have won fame in a host of Olympic
disciplines. Through the 1990s and early 2000s,
Leeds variously rebranded itself as the
Barcelona of the north, based around
a cafe culture and urban living; as a
financial boomtown, complete with the
first-ever branch of the luxury depart-
ment store Harvey Nichols outside London, and, later, one of the twin
poles of the Conservative govern-
ments promised Northern Power-
It is a city with a proud musical back
catalog Soft Cell, Sisters of Mercy,
Utah Saints that did not have a
major music venue until 2013; a cultur-
al hot spot Alan Bennett, Keith
Waterhouse, Northern Ballet, Opera
North that built its cultural offer
around passive, mass consumption
experiences, according to a paper
published in 2004 by academics at the
University of Leeds. It has long been a city in search of a
defining identity, some sort of calling
card. At times, the soccer team has pro-
vided it. In the 1960s and 70s, the
title-winning era before The Damned
United days of Brian Cloughs disas-
trous (and brief ) tenure; and again at
the turn of the century, when its
thrilling team, fueled by youth and debt, reached the semifinals of the
Champions League.
More recently, for much of the coun-
try, the association of Leeds and soccer
has been a negative one. Doing a
Leeds has entered the sports lexicon,
a cautionary tale about the dangers of
spending more than you earn, of living
beyond your means, of the hubris that
comes from excess. For a decade and a
half, that has been Leedss sporting
identity. A couple of years ago, Warrington
achieved his ambition. In 2018, nine
years after turning professional, he
fought the Welshman Lee Selby for the
I.B.F. world featherweight title. The
fight was scheduled for Elland Road. In
front of a crowd of 25,000, the boyhood
Leeds United fan won a split decision.
It made him the first male world cham-
pion boxer the city had produced. It
put Leeds, as he had always wanted,
on the boxing map, creating another
aspect of its identity. That season had been a disaster for
Leeds United, Warrington remem-
bered. I had fans coming up to me
saying I had given them something to
cheer about. I had brought a bit of
glory back to the city. They said they
hoped it would push the team on a bit.
A few weeks later, Bielsa joined. The
phoenix started rising. Andy McVeigh, a street artist who
became the center of a local cause
célèbre when Leeds-themed murals he
had painted were defaced but then
recommissioned by the club, did not
watch the West Brom game that ended
his teams wait.
Instead, he followed the match,
vicariously, through his son, Danny.
Hes 17, McVeigh said. Hes never
seen them in the Premier League.
Danny spent Friday evening glued to
his phone, waiting for updates. He is
holding his Leeds shirt in his hand,
McVeigh said. Like a comfort blan-
Out of the wilderness
On Soccer
Leeds United won the last English title before the birth of the Premier League, but it hasnt played in the top division since 2004. Right, Leeds fans outside the Elland Road stadium after the clubs promotion was clinched. ED SYKES/ACTION IMAGES PAUL ELLIS/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE GETTY IMAGESNON SEQUITUR PEANUTS
Answers to Previous Puzzles
Created by Peter Ritmeester/Presented by Will Shortz
SUDOKU No. 2207
Fill the grid so
that every row,
column 3x3 box
and shaded 3x3
box contains
each of the
1 to 9 exactly
Fill the grids with digits so as not
to repeat a digit in any row or
column, and so that the digits
within each heavily outlined box
will produce the target number
shown, by using addition,
subtraction, multiplication or
division, as indicated in the box.
A 4x4 grid will use the digits
1-4. A 6x6 grid will use 1-6.
For solving tips and more KenKen
kenken. For Feedback: nytimes@
For solving tips
and more puzzles:
KenKen® is a registered trademark of Nextoy, LLC.
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved.
(c) Distributed by The New York Times syndicate
Solution No. 2107 CROSSWORD | Edited by Will Shortz
Across 1 Accumulated, with “up” 6 Asked earnestly10 ___ War (1899-1902)14 Muscat resident15 Org. that supported the Lovings in Loving v. Virginia 16 Humerus attachment17 Six-time All-Star for the Arizona Diamondbacks (2013-18) 20 Shut up!,” in a text 21 Java, for one: Abbr.22 Flummoxed23 Taraji P. ___, star of Hidden Figures
tongue 27 Moonbeam, for a flashlight, e.g.
32 Compound containing an NH 2 group, informally
33 Shirts and blouses
34 Yule quaff
36 Some hosp. workers
37 Circe turned Odysseus’ men into these, in the “Odyssey”
39 “Little” fellow of old comics
40 Spike in movie rentals?
41 Part of a wineglass
42 Kingdom of horsemen in “The Lord of the Rings”
Albuquerque Isotopes
53 ___ Records (British label)
54 Univ. paper graders, maybe
57 People are protected when they’re in it
60 Aide: Abbr.
61 Man of the cloth?
62 Rich dessert
63 Some sorority chapters
64 Yemen’s capital
65 Start
1 Cops, in slang
2 One leading the faithful in prayer
3 Some creases on the face
4 Photo blowup: Abbr.
5 Start, as a meal
6 Ghostly shade
7 Like some TV screens, for short
8 Who sings “Let It Go” in “Frozen”
11 Mixture
12 Some rushers, in football
13 “Dagnabbit!”
of Olympus
19 Bits of forensic evidence
24 Start of a German count
25 WSJ competitor
27 Shopping ___
28 Louvre Pyramid architect
29 Rocker Bon Jovi
30 Bob Feller and Nolan Ryan each pitched 12 of these
31 For whom “time and tide wait,” in a saying
35 Pagoda instrument
37 Per diem payments, e.g.
38 Like the monsoon season
39 “Me? Uh-uh!”
41 Crept quietly
42 Castigate
44 Apartment restriction
45 Onetime Nissan S.U.V. 46 Spanish for “how”49 Ivan or Peter, e.g.50 Overly hasty51 “Given that …”
55 Pay (up)56 Leave in58 B+, e.g.59 Part of many a three-day weekend: Abbr.
PUZZLE BY PETER A. COLLINS Solution to July 21 Puzzle
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16
17 18 19
20 21 22
23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
32 33 34 35
36 37 38 39
40 41 42
43 44 45 46
47 48
49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56
57 58 59
60 61 62
63 64 65

The Rhinemaidens lament their lost
gold on asphalt. Tristan savors doomed
love in a stately 17th-century garden. A
motley crew of playboys and deposed
royalty are set adrift in an industrial
This is what opera in Germany looks
like in the midst of a pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak has dis-
rupted live performance around the
world. And of all art forms, opera is
particularly ill suited to limitations on
large gatherings, by dint of its size,
complexity and cost. But nearly three months after the
virus scuttled the remainder of its
season, the Deutsche Oper here in
Berlin became the first company to
perform grand opera while complying
with hygiene and distancing regula-
tions. In a nod to the canceled start of
its much-anticipated new Ring di-
rected by Stefan Herheim, the com-
pany mounted an alternative Das
Rheingold in an unexpected outdoor
location last month. Youve heard of Shakespeare in the
Park. How about Wagner in the Park-
ing Lot? In an opera-rich city starved of the
art form for months, interest was pre-
dictably high, and the company said
the performances, each with about 200
seats for five euros (less than $6), sold
out online in minutes.
The Deutsche Oper used Jonathan
Doves 1990 reduction of the score for
22 musicians and 12 singers, which
shaves about 40 minutes off the two-
and-a-half-hour running time. Many of
the singers scheduled to sing in Mr.
Herheims production still appeared,
and Donald Runnicles, the companys
music director, remained on hand to
conduct the diminished musical forces
with a muscular conviction and dra-
matic flair that made this chamber
version sound remarkably full. As a preamble to the Ring, Rhein-
gold is fast-paced and witty, some-
thing of a punchy political cartoon. The
director, Neil Barry Moss, did a clever
job of working around both virus regu-
lations the singers needed to main-
tain five feet of distance from one an-
other and the peculiarities of a
makeshift outdoor stage made up of
little more than a few rows of stadium
The orchestra (which was amplified)
played from behind the singers (who
were not), below an overhang that
protected them from the threat of rain.
The parking lot, surrounded on all
sides by the opera house and its admin-
istrative buildings, had remarkably
good acoustics.
The singers entered and exited
through a central aisle between the
rows of plastic chairs on which the
physically distanced audience sat.
There was a special thrill in having the
cast breeze past at regular intervals.
(The audience was required to wear
masks except during the performance.)
In his metatheatrical production, Mr.
Moss cast Wotan the god who uses
stolen gold to pay for his new castle,
Valhalla in the role of a stage direc-
tor, and the bass-baritone Derek Wel-
ton played him as a high-strung cre-
ative type overseeing rehearsals. Loge,
the fire god (the tenor Thomas Blon- delle), zoomed around with large Star-
bucks cups, personalized with the
names of the gods, as Wotans put-
upon personal assistant.
Other touches were equally cheeky
and effective: Assorted props repre-
sented the gold; a bound copy of the
score stood in for the ring; and, in a
climactic reveal, Valhalla was the
opera house itself. Stripped-down and irreverent, the
production highlighted the intimate
qualities of Das Rheingold within the
epic cosmos of the Ring. It never felt
like a compromise. While the Deutsche Oper did its best
to adapt Wagner to these extraordi- nary circumstances, the Hanover State
Opera, in northern Germany, inaugu-
rated a virus-friendly summer pro-
gram with a work that was ideally
suited to the new restrictions: Frank
Martins Le Vin Herbé.
First performed in 1942, Le Vin
Herbé is a haunting, difficult-to-char-
acterize work inspired by the Tristan
myth. Martin called it a secular ora-
torio, but theres a long tradition of
staging it as an opera. Scored for seven
strings, piano and 12 singers (six men
and six women) who chant a libretto
that offers little in the way of conven-
tional dramatic development, it can
feel like a rebuttal to the lush Romanti- cism of Wagners Tristan und Isolde.
Martins austere musical language,
hovering on the threshold of tonality, is
The performances, beginning June
19, took place in the Baroque Gar-
tentheater of the magnificent Herren-
häuser Gardens, which belonged to the
kings of Hanover. There was special
significance in the fact that this was
the site of the first opera performance
in Germany after the end of World War
II in Europe: Cavalleria Rusticana
and Pagliacci, on July 11, 1945. The stately setting was an unexpect-
edly apt complement to the music and
Wolfgang Nägeles simple, mournful production. The sides of the deep stage
were flanked by golden statues and
hedges. Flocks of birds soared over-
head. Even in the midst of a persistent
drizzle, most of the roughly 200 specta-
tors remained to the end.
Stephan Zilias, the companys in-
coming music director, stood at a podi-
um halfway between the musicians,
who were protected by a tent, and the
singers onstage, who were not. Despite
the rain, all soldiered on with unbroken
concentration. The result was a per-
formance whose steely excellence
helped make up for some discomfort
caused by the inclement weather. Water was also central, though intentionally so, in the Stuttgart State
Operas production of Paul Abrahams
1931 jazz operetta Die Blume von
Hawaii, staged at that southern Ger-
man citys harbor. Performed over the
first weekend of July, Hawaii was the
first of two harbor productions created
under unusual constraints: They
couldnt exceed 70 minutes, five cast
members or 10 days of rehearsal. (The
second was Leonard Bernsteins Trou-
ble in Tahiti.)
Arriving at the harbor, the audience
put on wireless headphones and sat on
wooden shipping pallets. A couple of
hundred feet below, in the middle of
the waterway built along the Neckar
River, the singers and musicians occu-
pied separate rafts while bringing to
life this widely forgotten Weimar-era
work, with its infectiously tuneful score
and firecracker lyrics.
Sebastian Schwabs reduction for an
eclectic variety of instruments
including banjo, violin, saxophone,
vibraphone and, briefly, steel guitar
was skillful, even if the opulence of
Abrahams original orchestrations was
lost. Marco Stormans sparse produc-
tion jettisoned the convoluted plot in
favor of a quick-and-dirty staging that
winked at the works exoticizing tend-
encies and its stereotypes about Pa-
cific Islanders. (I was amazed to find
that quite a number of people in the
audience had worn Hawaiian-print
shirts for the occasion.)
The image that has remained with
me after sampling some of Germanys
intrepid efforts to make opera in a
fraught time is the closing tableau of
Das Rheingold. The gods prying
open the massive door that services
the stage of the Deutsche Oper power-
fully symbolized the deep wish for this
countrys and the worlds curtains
to rise once again. The blaring chords
that accompany the gods entrance to
Valhalla had never sounded so joyous.
Wagner in the parking lot
BY A.J. GOLDMANNThree German productions
demonstrate operas efforts
to perform in person, safely
BERND UHLIGTop, Frank Martins Le Vin Herbé, by
Hanover State Opera in the Herrenhäuser
Gardens. Left, Deutsche Oper staged a
chamber version of Wagners Das Rhein-
gold in a parking lot. Above, Annika
Schlicht and Derek Welton in that show.
At lunchtime one day last week, a steady
trickle of people wandered into the gift
shop of the National Gallery in the
British capital, browsing souvenirs to
punctuate their first visit to a museum
since Britain started emerging from
lockdown. Staying socially distanced, visitors
glanced around the racks that held Na-
tional Gallery umbrellas, National
Gallery gin and National Gallery pencil
cases. But many were quickly drawn to
the museums range of face masks.
Theyre really cool, said Jessica
Macdonald, a 16-year-old student, as
she grabbed one featuring Vincent van
Goghs Sunflowers, on sale for 9.50
pounds, about $12. My mums been try-
ing to find nice ones for ages so we dont
have to wear these, she added, pointing
at the blue medical mask she was wear-
ing. Lorna May Wadsworth, 40, an artist,
also bought a mask, featuring a floral
painting by Ambrosius Bosschaert the
Elder, despite saying that with her highly patterned outfit it made her look
like a Christmas tree.
The masks have been some of the gift
shops biggest sellers since the museum
reopened on July 8, said Yumi Naka-
jima, a store assistant. Not everyone
was impressed, though; Alison Ripley,
66, said she thought that the floral
choices were tame. Why not that? she said, pointing at
a postcard of Diego Velázquezs The
Toilet of Venus, which shows the god-
dess lying naked on a bed. Youve got to
make masks funky if you want young-
sters to wear them. As museums start to reopen in Eu-
rope and the United States, and many
countries require people to wear masks
to halt the further spread of the coro-
navirus, masks on sale at gift shops are
likely to become a frequent sight. The
British government said July 14 that
masks would have to be worn in shops in
England, with fines handed out to those
who refuse. (Museums were not ex-
pressly included in the new mask regu-
lations. The National Gallery has asked
visitors to wear them but is not enforc-
ing the rule.) The same day, in France,
President Emmanuel Macron said that
masks would soon have to be worn in all
enclosed public spaces.
In the United States, many states
have face-covering orders in effect that,
in general, require people to wear masks
in public places where distance cannot
be maintained. Judith Mather, the National Gallerys
buying director, said in a telephone in-
terview that the decision to sell masks
was quite a last-minute decision. In
June, she said, she was in a supermar-
ket, and I was looking around at people
and their masks looked so surgical and
so ugly, she said. I just thought some
art would be really different and strik-
For the Metropolitan Museum of Art
in New York, theres also been a finan-
cial incentive. Leanne Graeff, a senior
manager in the museums product de-
velopment team, said in a telephone in- terview that masks were an easy way
for people to give money to museums.
The Met is already selling four masks
online, featuring impressionist paint-
ings and New York scenes, and a larger
range is expected when the museum re-
opens in late August.
Mask designs at museums vary
widely. The Uffizi in Florence has
stamped its logo all over its masks, remi-
niscent of the way Italian fashion houses
do on handbags. The Tate, which runs
several museums in Britain, has pre-
pared a range of masks that feature
paintings such as Joseph Mallord William Turners Lagoon Near Venice,
at Sunset.
The museum that has arguably had
the most success in selling face masks
so far is the Klimt Villa in Vienna, a mu-
seum housed in one of Gustav Klimts
former studios. In March, the museum
had to close when Austria went into
lockdown, said Baris Alakus, the muse-
ums director, and it was soon in desper-
ate need of money. Were a private museum, so we dont
get any support from the government,
Mr. Alakus said. It was a very critical
Then Brigitte Huber, a fashion de-
signer and Klimts great-granddaugh-
ter, suggested making masks to help
raise funds. She came up with a simple
navy design with a touch of white em-
broidery reminiscent of Klimts paint-
ings, and made them out of the same
material used to make his painting over-
The museum, which reopened in May,
has sold over 6,000 so far, at 20 euros
each, about $23. With the money, weve paid all the
bills, Mr. Alakus said. The Stedelijk art museum in Amster-
dam is selling masks designed by Carlos
Amorales, a Mexican artist whose exhi-
bition at the museum was suspended by
the pandemic. The masks feature a
mothlike creature that moves when the
wearer breathes in or talks, and the
profits are being used by Mr. Amorales to make masks for Mexican street work-
The Stedelijk might commission more
artists to design masks, said Rein Wolfs,
the museums director, in a telephone in-
terview. Its a perfect opportunity
when artists are struggling, he said. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has
also teamed up with a charity for its face
masks, which somewhat bizarrely
feature a wide-eyed self-portrait by
Rembrandt. Since this is a face mask,
we thought we should put a face on it,
Philine Hofman, the head of the muse-
ums shop, said in a telephone interview.
We thought, If you have to wear it, lets
at least have some humor to it.
In the National Gallery in London on
last week, several visitors said they
liked the idea of more unusual mask de-
signs. Sue Bucknell, 72, said that she and her
husband had seen a good potential im-
age for a mask while touring the mu-
seum: Gerrit van Honthorsts 17th-cen-
tury painting of St. Sebastian pierced by
arrows. Hes meant to prevent plague,
so I thought thatd be appropriate, Ms.
Bucknell said, laughing. Its like say-
ing, Keep away!
Despite that idea, she bought the
Sunflowers mask. It was better than
her existing boring masks, she said.
And it supports the gallery, which
clearly needs it right now, she added,
waving her hand in the direction of the
museums half-empty rooms.
The new must-have museum souvenir: Face masks
Stately or silly, theyre
helping the cash flow
at cultural institutions
BY ALEX MARSHALL Clockwise from top left, a mask for sale at the Klimt Villa in Vienna, two from the Met-
ropolitan Museum of Art in New York and one from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Deep down, Rayvon Owen already knew
he was gay when a classmate intro-
duced him to the Sims back in 2003,
when they were in sixth grade in Rich-
mond, Va.
I grew up in a very conservative, reli-
gious home; my mom was super strict
and over my shoulder a lot, and when I
started playing the Sims I would show
her this happy typical family with a
white picket fence, he said in an inter-
view last week. And she was like: Oh,
good, I like this game. You get a job, you
manage money, get a wife and kids.
Owen laughed. One of the most popu-
lar games in the world, the Sims has for
two decades provided young people a
virtual social sandbox to explore the
joys, terrors and mysteries of adult life
for the first time. While puerile toxicity
does characterize some precincts of
gaming, the Sims has long been at the
vanguard of mainstream entertainment
inclusion simply by giving players
choices. So I had one neighborhood in the
game for when my mom was watching,
Owen continued. But little did she
know that then I had my real neighbor-
hood where I was married to a guy and
living in a home with a man or several
men and doing all these promiscuous
things that were totally unthinkable in
the real world I was living in, growing up
in the church and all that.
Owen, 29, a singer now living in Los
Angeles, did not discuss his sexuality
publicly until 2016, after appearing as a
finalist on American Idol. Last week
he had his debut as the host of a different
reality television competition: The
Sims Sparkd, a new show based on the
game, airing on TBS. New installments
of the four-episode season will premiere
on Fridays as part of Turners ELeague
brand and will arrive on Buzzfeeds Mul-
tiplayer YouTube channel the following
Mondays. While competitive e-sports have long
been broadcast around the globe,
Sparkd is poised to become the first
mainstream reality show based on an
electronic game. And as a reality show, it
hews closely to the tried-and-true for-
mula popularized by hits like Project
Runway, with 12 contestants competing
in various in-game challenges De-
sign two rival families from different
neighborhoods, for example while
vying to win $100,000.
For contestants 10 women, two
men the series draws mainly from
Sims content creators with significant
followings on YouTube and Twitch.
While there are some relatively minor
conflicts, Sparkd is not heavy on in-
terpersonal drama. The cameras dont
follow the contestants back to their ho-
tel, and the overall vibe of the show is
wholesome rather than salacious. Instead, the show focuses on allowing
the contestants to tell stories in the
game that reflect their own lives and ex-
periences. Issues of gender, sexuality,
race and class figure heavily. In that sense, the true narrative
emerges from the personal meaning the
game seems to hold for both contestants
and judges, almost all in their 20s. The theme of the show and the game
is you come as you are and play however
represents you, said Tayla Parx, 26, a
singer and songwriter who is one of the judges. For me as a bisexual Black
woman, I always found the game really
Being able to play with family dy-
namics and sexual dynamics, its made
to explore the boundaries of you in a
way thats really beautiful. The worst
that can happen is you rebuild again if
you dont like it. Will Wright, already an acclaimed
game designer as the creator of the pop-
ular and influential SimCity, first con-
ceived the Sims after his family lost its
home to fires in Oakland, Calif., in 1991.
In its planning stage, the project was
called simply Dollhouse. In the years since the first version of
the game was released, in 2000, the ba-
sic premise has remained the same:
Give players the ability to create some
fantasy rendition of real family life.
Players create various characters,
known as Sims, and homes and then di-
rect them as they desire.
Its all about, how do we make the
game reflect the world we live in? said
Lyndsay Pearson, the general manager
of the Sims for the video game company
that publishes it, Electronic Arts. The
world we live in changes and the stories
our players want to tell change, and we
embrace that. For the show, thats really
what we want to come through. The game series has allowed players
to pursue same-sex relationships since
its inception, but did not allow all cou-
ples to marry until the Sims 3 was re-
leased in 2009. Four years ago, Electronic Arts up-
dated the game in its latest version, the
Sims 4, to include more flexible gender
customization options. In addition to let-
ting players create digital characters
with independent gender options for
clothing preference and physical frame,
the game now allows players to choose
whether a particular Sim can become
pregnant, can impregnate other Sims or
neither, regardless of gender. The game
also lets players decide whether a par-
ticular Sim, regardless of gender, can use the bathroom standing up.
Within the game, individual comput-
er-controlled characters interact with
one another without regard to gender or
racial appearance until they are
prompted by a human player. I was in early middle school when I
first played, and now Im in my late 20s,
and here we are on TV, said Kelsey
Impicciche, a judge on Sparkd, best
known to Sims fans for her Buzzfeed
YouTube series on the games unofficial
100 Baby Challenge. (The challenge re-
lies on extremes of fertility possible only
in a video game.) Over the years, the
core of the game has stayed the same,
but the big difference is that the commu-
nity itself is more diverse and the Sims
are more inclusive. The game series has sold more than
200 million copies, and more than 10 mil-
lion people play every month, according
to Electronic Arts. About two-thirds of
players are girls and women between 13
and 30, the company said. Craig Barry,
the chief content officer for Turner
Sports, said the show was a good fit for
TBSs ELeague Friday night program-
ming window as the network tries to ex-
pand its coverage of gaming culture be-
yond hard-core e-sports. While a reality show based on the vir-
tual world of a computer game might
seem tailor-made for the quarantine era,
Electronic Arts developed and filmed
the series last year at the companys
Bay Area headquarters.
In early 2019, multiple teams at the
company coalesced around the concept
of creating a structured contest based
on the Sims in an effort to both energize
existing players and recruit new ones.
The company settled on a traditional re-
ality competition format after enlisting
established reality producers, including
Allison Tom and Richard Hall (The
Amazing Race, Ex on the Beach)
each now an executive producer on
Sparkd. While the Buzzfeed online
distribution deal seemed clear once
Impicciche signed on as a judge last
year, the television deal with Turner did-
nt come together until early June, Pear-
son said. Electronic Arts executives said that
the TBS slot was meant to showcase the
Sims for nonplayers and hard-core
gamers while the Buzzfeed YouTube
window is aimed at the games core au-
dience of young women and adolescent
girls. Many designers and experts be-
lieve that women gravitate to simulation
games like the Sims because the sense
of control players have over their virtual
worlds may provide respite from the
challenges women often face in a male-
dominated society. Jeanette Wall, a 28-year-old music ex-
ecutive in Brooklyn who identifies as
queer, began playing the Sims when she
was in elementary school in Oklahoma.
She said that it is the only electronic
game she still plays regularly and that
her latest project in the game is a lesbi-
an commune.
I didnt have any dolls to play with,
and the Sims was this total digital doll-
house for me, and I guess it still is, she
said. The elements of control over the
environment are so important espe-
cially for queer people and women be-
cause at various points you feel like your
life is so totally out of your control, espe-
cially right now when the world we live
in is in shambles. Hearing about the show," she added,
its like you didnt really realize how
many people were playing the game all
this time for the exact same reasons you
were. Owen, the host, welled with tears as
he discussed the program. Honestly, the game was always a
therapeutic experience, he said. The
show is fun and its exciting to host, but
there is a deeper meaning that relates to
this whole journey of coming out and
getting into a place of self-acceptance,
not just for me but for a lot of people.
A virtual playground comes to TV
Players vie for money
in a Sims reality show, but
many see deeper meaning
The Sims game, above, is made to ex-
plore the boundaries of you, said Tayla
Parx, far left, with fellow judges and
Rayvon Owen, the Sims Sparkd host,
near left. Below left, the 12 contestants. The theme of the show
and the game is you come
as you are and play
however represents you.
In the years that it took the journalist
Catherine Belton to research and write
Putins People, her voluminous yet
elegant account of money and power in
the Kremlin, a number of her interview
subjects tried various tactics to under-
mine her work. One of them, a close
Putin ally apparently alarmed by her
questions about the activities of the
Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin,
as a K.G.B. agent in Dresden in the
1980s, emphatically insisted that any
rumored links between the K.G.B. and
terrorist organizations had never been
proved: And you should not try to do
so! he warned.
Another source, defending Putins
tenure as the deputy mayor of St.
Petersburg, took a cooler approach.
Asked about a local politician named
Marina Salye who found evidence of
corruption in the so-called oil-for-food
scheme that Putin oversaw in the early
90s, he didnt bother to deny her find- ings; he just rejected the very idea that
her findings mattered. This all hap-
pened, he smugly acknowledged. But
this is absolutely normal trading opera-
tions. How can you explain this to a
menopausal woman like that?
Belton suggests that this is the kind
of two-pronged strategy the Kremlin
has used to pursue its interests at home
and abroad: Deploy threats, disinfor-
mation and violence to prevent damag-
ing secrets from getting out, or resort
to a chilling cynicism that derides
everything as meaningless anyway. The dauntless Belton, currently an
investigative reporter for Reuters who
previously served as the Moscow cor-
respondent for The Financial Times,
allowed neither approach to deter her,
talking to figures with disparate inter-
ests on all sides, tracking down docu-
ments, following the money. The result
is a meticulously assembled portrait of
Putins circle, and of the emergence of
what she calls K.G.B. capitalism a
form of ruthless wealth accumulation
designed to serve the interests of a
Russian state that she calls relentless
in its reach. As central as Putin is to the narra-
tive, he mostly appears as a shadowy
figure not particularly creative or
charismatic, but cannily able, like the
K.G.B. agent he once was, to mirror
peoples expectations back to them. The people who facilitated his rise
didnt do so for particularly idealistic
reasons. An ailing Boris Yeltsin and the
oligarchs who thrived in the chaos
after the collapse of the Soviet Union
were looking for someone to preserve
their wealth and protect them from
corruption charges. Putin presented
himself as someone who would honor
the bargain, but then replaced any
Yeltsin-era players who dared to chal-
lenge his tightening grip on power with
loyalists he could call his own.
Putins People tells the story of a
number of figures who eventually ran
afoul of the presidents regime. Media
moguls like Boris Berezovsky and
Vladimir Gusinsky were stripped of
their empires and fled the country.
Belton says the real turning point was
the 2004 trial that sent Mikhail
Khodorkovsky at one point Russias
richest man, with a controlling stake in
the oil producer Yukos to a Siberian
prison camp for 10 years. Putin has
since presided over the country and its
resources like a czar, Belton writes,
bolstered by a cadre of friendly oli-
garchs and secret service agents.
Russias legal system was turned into a
weapon and a fig leaf.
Putin allowed and even encouraged
the oligarchs to accrue vast personal
fortunes, but they were also expected
to siphon some money from their business ventures into the
obschak, a
collective kitty whose slush funds,
Belton says, have been useful in pro-
jecting the image of a powerful Russia
on the world stage. The Kremlins
abiding definition of power was
cramped and zero-sum; the resources
were plowed into undermining other
countries on the relative cheap, by
funding troll farms, election meddling
and extremist movements.
It was an old K.G.B. model adapted
for the new era, with Putin pursuing a
nationalist agenda that embraced the
countrys pre-revolutionary imperial past. Putins people had even figured
out a way to turn Londons High Court
into a tool for their own interests,
freezing the assets of rival oligarchs
while British lawyers took fat fees
from both sides.
As much as the West has been a
target for the Kremlins active meas-
ures, Belton argues that the West has
also been complacent and even com-
plicit. The complacency has taken the
form of a blithe belief in the power of
globalization and liberal democracy, a
persistent faith that once Russia
opened itself up to international capital
and ideas, it would never look back. But more mercenary motives were
at play, too. Western business interests
recognized how much profit could be
made off of Russian oil behemoths and
the giant sums of money sloshing
around. (Unsurprisingly, Deutsche
Bank an institution at the center of
many scandals has occupied a cru-
cial role.) Even when Putin was the
beneficiary of such arrangements, he
was contemptuous of them; his ability
to use Western companies to Russias
advantage only confirmed his long-
held view that anyone in the West
could be bought.
Putins People ends with a chapter
on Donald Trump, and what Belton
calls the network of Russian intelli-
gence operatives, tycoons and orga- nized-crime associates that has encir-
cled him since the early 90s. The fact
that Trump was frequently over-
whelmed by debt provided an opportu-
nity to those who had the cash he
desperately needed. Belton documents
how the network used high-end real
estate deals to launder money while
evading stricter banking regulations
after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11,
2001. Shes agnostic on whether Trump
was a witting accomplice who was
aware of how he was being used. As
one former executive from the Trump
Organization put it, Donald doesnt do
due diligence.
But Belton does. And while the
president may not read much ne-
glecting even those intelligence brief-
ings about Russian bounty payments
to Taliban militants there are pre-
sumably any number of people in the
White House and his party who do.
Still, to read this book is to wonder
whether a cynicism has embedded
itself so deeply into the Anglo-Ameri-
can political classes that even the
incriminating information it docu-
ments wont make an actionable differ-
ence. A person familiar with Russias
billionaires told Belton that once corro-
sion sets in, its devilishly hard to
reverse: They always have three or
four different stories, and then it all
just gets lost in the noise.
The relentless rise of K.G.B. capitalism
Putins People:
How the KGB Took Back Russia and
Then Took On the West
By Catherine Belton. Illustrated. 624 pp.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $35.
BY JENNIFER SZALAI Catherine Belton.

I like people. I sort of like cooking. His-
torically, this has all added up to an in-
terest in entertaining that would not be
called passionate but could certainly
pass for healthy.
When people start talking about what
we miss, what we want to add back
when everything returns to normal, I
think to myself: movies, getting a drink
in a crowded bar, going places for fun,
yes, all that, assuming theres a world
left. But when I imagine entertaining
having people inside my house and
telling them things, listening as they tell
me things, conversation, I believe its
called, taking care of their needs, im-
pressing them, getting jokes, making
jokes, saying stuff like, Wow, are these
. . . ice cubes? it seems to involve
more financial and emotional security
than I plan on being able to project, well,
possibly ever again. This is not about not cooking. I actu-
ally cooked so much during the last four
months that, perversely, I started to like
it more and more rather than less and
less. Cooking sincere apology to peo-
ple who have children has been one of
the few ways for those of us who are un-
derscheduled and underemployed to
put punctuation into our days. Whereas if entertaining were to get
dressed it would actually, I have no
idea what it would wear, because its just
taking too long to decide, not that I dont
have the time, but just who cares what
entertaining wears. The last time someone came over for
dinner was March 8. It was a close
friend, and he comes over all the time. It
wasnt a high-pressure situation. I put
some premade rub on a pork loin and
cooked it with some extremely small po-
tatoes, all food, zero showing off.
I was very anxious about the coro-
navirus at the time. I was probably in
the midst of reading an 1,800-word arti-
cle about how some doctors thought you
could get the coronavirus from passing
someone on the freeway if your window
was down and you sucked in a breath of
surprise at the same time the other
driver coughed as you were driving
three to five miles per hour faster. Or
maybe I was reading the article that
came out the next day refuting this
claim but saying maybe dont do it any-
way, just to be safe. I cooked the pork way too long, and it
was edible but far from delicious. Also
my boyfriend hadnt told me our friend
was coming over, and the only exciting
thing about the meal were the potatoes,
which were truly minuscule and every-
one maybe got three. The salad was
probably fine. But other than that the
meal was terrible, and I felt deeply sad
about this. In retrospect, this was the night
where I was really starting to compre-
hend not only that no one was coming
over for dinner for a long, long time, but
also that something huge and terrible
was about to happen, with no end in sight. I put all this sadness and terror
into the ruined pork, which, in retro-
spect, was not the worst place for it.
I cried while both men just stared at
me with that expression you know the
one! that says both, I truly feel sorry
for you and: If I stare at you long
enough, will you just stop crying? That
would be amazing. And so then there were many weeks
when basically no one came by at all,
and if people came over they stood on a piece of tape on the stairs indicating
where we were comfortable having
them stand while wearing a mask while
we stood in the doorway wearing a
(Yes, there was a piece of tape on our
stairs. Its because one night a friend of
ours came over with his girlfriend and
my boyfriend went out to meet them and
stood in the doorway and I thought they
were too close and I screamed at him, I
am not going to die just because youre too nice to ask anyone to stand on the
lower stair, and then we screamed at
each other and didnt speak for several
days. The tape was there to ensure that
this incident would just be a one-off.)
I knew the facts: that my chances of
dying from Covid-19 were statistically
low. But when I heard the news about
overflowing waiting rooms in Spain and
Italy, and patients not much older than I
was (Im 50) left untreated because of
lack of resources, along with the news, more staggering every day, that the
United States was wholly unprepared
for all this, I went into a weekslong
Meanwhile, cases in our rural, mostly
white county of about 100,000 were hov-
ering near 40, with one death. I was
forced to admit the terror I felt for my
safety was perhaps overblown and even
selfish. The people getting sick were, for the
most part, people who had to go to their jobs, or were in nursing homes, or were
in jails and prisons and did not have the
luxury of cowering in their bedrooms
like me. Obviously I was at risk of get-
ting Covid-19. We all are. But I couldnt
go on like this.
So we started having people over,
outside. A friend came and brought her own
drinks and her own food. We did not go
near each other. She relieved herself in a
cozy grove of cedars that we named the
facil itrees. It was just like having some-
one over except that I didnt do anything
for her at all, unless you call spraying
down a chair with Lysol and putting it
outside doing something. It was nice not to worry about any-
thing other than just hanging out. I was
glad I didnt have to go to the store with
my mask and see some fellow
customers exercising their freedom not
to wear them, and I was glad I didnt
have to clean the bathroom or the house
or continually ask her if she needed any-
thing. I didnt have to worry if she liked
her own food. I just had to sit there. Is this boring? she said after talking
about some guy for an hour. Please, I
said. Not in the least. What could be
less boring than hearing someone other
than myself complain, especially a
young person, with problems I remem-
bered having but was relieved to not
have anymore. Usually Id be like, Get
rid of that guy, now. Instead I said: Oh
well. Guys. As long as were throwing
hospitality in the dustbin, why not throw
advice in too?
We also did a lot of staring into space.
By the middle of May, my boyfriend
and I had branched out a little from total
self-service, giving people seltzer or
beer in a can if they wanted it, and the
porch was generally open for business,
for two people, max (the tape fell off
when it rained, and any screaming
events have been because of other
things), who could just text and show
up. Now there have been just around 140
cases in our county. Not too long ago, our
governor was like, Please dont have
parties, to which my response was:
Dude. You do not have to worry about
me having a party; I assure you I wont
feel like having a party for at least 10
years. But I still like people. So if anyone at
all wants to swing by and sit in a chair on
my unmowed lawn, Im flattered. I cant
promise to be any fun, and in fact theres
a good chance I will be tedious verging
on huge bummer. That said, I like to bring a friend a beer
or a seltzer wrapped in an antiseptic
wipe and sit six feet away, and I like, as
much as I like anything right now, to
stay there for as long as they can stand
Sure, come over for dinner ... in 10 years
BRUCIE ROSCH Not too long ago, our governor
was like, Please dont have
parties, to which my response
was: Dude. You do not have to
worry about me having a party.
The coronavirus or not, one thing is cer-
tain: People will find each other, they
will fall in love, and somehow, they will
say their vows.Love is going to survive this, said
Kate Edmonds, a wedding and event
planner in New York. I dont think its
emotionally sound to keep postponing
weddings. There needs to be something
to celebrate. And celebrate they will. It just may
take some finessing and extra planning.
According to a May survey by the
Knot, 66 percent of 6,253 respondents
across eight countries are rescheduling
to a later date. Of these, 40 percent are
postponing to later in 2020, 52 percent to
2021 and 8 percent arent sure of their
new date. (The study was conducted
among users of the Knots brands, in-
cluding WeddingWire, Bodas and
Hitched.) But how people marry will evolve,
and many of the adjustments that weve
seen over the last few months are here
to stay. Kristen Maxwell, the Knots edi-
tor in chief, expects 2021 to have a great-
er focus on health and safety. Masks and
gloves will become de rigueur, as will
hand-sanitizing stations (and sanitizers
as party favors), numerous dance areas
and bars, several smaller celebrations,
and the rise of the minimony, or micro-
ceremony. There will be more room for
standing, socially distanced seating and
a gesture line, rather than a receiving
line, where guests wave or nod instead
of hug or kiss. With a longing to connect more with
friends and family following months of
separation, we anticipate couples look-
ing for more ways to involve their clos-
est friends and family members into
their weddings, Ms. Maxwell said.
Whether inviting guests to join in on
the ceremony vows or sharing favorite
memories of each guest in a unique seat-
ing arrangement display, we wont be
surprised to see guest interaction and
the honoring of loved ones increase in
the near future at weddings. What else can you expect from wed- ding celebrations next year? Here are
some expert predictions.
Livestreaming is here to stay, whether
its via Zoom, Facebook Live or Face-
Time. And why not? Its cheaper and
more accessible to a worldwide audi-
Depending on where you live, the cer-
emony might be done virtually, which is
legal in certain places. But couples
might choose to go with a video ceremo-
ny thats not legally binding and then do
the official service later.
This is the way to go for couples who
chose a specific date that had a lot of sig-
nificance to them an anniversary, for
example or those who may not have
been planning something elaborate to
start with and didnt feel compelled to
postpone their nuptials in favor of an in-
person wedding, said Lindsay Land-
man, a wedding planner in New York. Keep in mind, these wont be home-
made videos. Rather, videographers
and photographers will expand their
repertoire to include livestreaming
services. While some couples have
tried to FaceTime or use their mobile
phone apps, these are not 100 percent
reliable, said Tori Rogers, the owner of
Hawaii Weddings by Tori Rogers.
When professionally done, the couple
and the officiant are miced up so that
they can be heard over the waves, wind,
birds and other people.
Amy Shey Jacobs, the founder and
creative director of Chandelier Events
in New York, recently started a new di-
vision of her company called Dont Let
the Day Go By, which merges virtual
events with real life experiences. You
can now drop ship beautiful flowers
from the nations best florists right to
your living room, have virtual photo
booths, send wedding cake to all of your
guests and dance your first dance with
live musicians, she said. It is certainly
not one that will replace the dream wed-
dings we are planning for our couples.
But for the couple who wants to say I do
now and celebrate later this can be a
truly special way to do it. SMALL IS THE NEW BIG
Intimate and cozy is how wedding ex-
perts are describing coming events.
This, too, has an upside. With a smaller
event, couples wont feel bad aboutsplurging on a more expensive meal,
top-shelf liquor or entertainment.
The guest list will also be meticu-
lously curated. Quarantine made a lot
of people realize how much they want to be around certain people in their lives
and how much they appreciate time
away from home, Ms. Rogers said. I
see an increase in destination weddings
and many activities planned together.BYE BYE, BUFFETS
Ms. Edmonds is bidding farewell to the
buffet dinner and focusing on plated
She also expects to eliminate hors
doeuvres, or, at least change the kinds
she serves. Maybe individual plates
with a few hors doeuvres, maybe a cou-
ple of bite-size hors doeuvres mixed
with prosciutto, tomatoes and basil and
a cocktail fork so youre not dipping,
she said. Shes also adding hand-sanitiz-
ing stations with a timed 20-second jin-
Many couples will have multipart, or se-
quel weddings, where they make ap-
pearances at several smaller events, ei-
ther in different hometowns or even
elaborate dinner parties with different
sets of friends and family, said Sara
Fried, the owner of Fête Nashville Lux-
ury Weddings. Another iteration is the so-called shift
wedding, in which guests show up at
staggered times.
This gives the venue time to sanitize
the space between groups and also lets
the couple spend more time with guests.
The big party-till-the-cows-come-home
will return eventually. And when it
does, it will be grander than ever. Eventually we will get back to busi-
ness when crowds of up to 100 are al-
lowed, but we will still have to be ex-
tremely inventive about seating, crowd
control, food and beverage service and
which staff is absolutely essential to the
event, Ms. Fried said.
Neil Brown, the chief executive of
Amsale, a luxury bridal house, sees a re-
turn to big celebrations after the pan-
demic has ended. While some couples may eschew
conspicuous celebration out of respect
for the suffering caused by the pan-
demic, others may go bigger than be-
fore, he said. As we saw after the 1918 Spanish flu
pandemic, there may be another Roar-
ing 20s era.
Future of weddings: Less kissing and more sanitizer