Coronavirus, Meat Plants, U.F.O.s: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

Coronavirus, Meat Plants, U.F.O.s: Your Tuesday Evening
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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Credit…Marian Carrasquero for The New York Times

1. One million and rising.

The U.S. surpassed one million known cases of the coronavirus today, a bleak milestone in an outbreak that began with a small trickle of cases in January.

That means roughly one in every 330 people in the U.S. has tested positive for the virus. Some researchers estimate that the true number may be around 10 times that figure, as the one million does not include those who contracted the coronavirus but were not tested. Above, ambulances at a New York City hospital.

Parts of rural America are now experiencing the most alarming rates of growth in cases. In Cass County, Ind., the number of known cases has jumped to 1,025 from 52 over 10 days. In Dakota County, Neb., where there were no known cases until April 12, there are now more than 600.

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2. President Trump plans to sign an order to secure the nation’s meat supply.

The executive order is meant to prevent shortages of pork, chicken and other products by ensuring that meat processing facilities remain open despite a risk of coronavirus outbreaks. Mr. Trump said meat producers were facing liability that was “unfair to them.”

But unions and labor advocates said the administration needed to do more to protect workers at processing plants. Outbreaks at the plants have now shuttered much of the nation’s slaughtering capacity, causing food companies to warn of shortages. Above, a shopper looking at a Washington, D.C., store’s meat selection today.

Mr. Trump did not clarify how his executive order would protect the industry but said his administration was working with Tyson Foods, one of the nation’s largest meat processors.

Lobbyists for other businesses are pushing the Trump administration and Congress to shield companies from a wide range of lawsuits related to reopening the economy.

3. The backlash grows over big companies taking relief loans while small businesses are left out.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said companies that got more than $2 million in small-business loans would be audited and could face “criminal liability” if it turned out they were not eligible. Above, the secretary, right, with Jovita Carranza, head of the Small Business Administration, today.

The loan program has suffered from Treasury’s lack of clear guidance about who is qualified to receive the $660 billion available.

Several companies have returned their loan money, including the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, which said it had given back $4.6 million. “The purpose of this program was not social welfare for big business,” Mr. Mnuchin said.

4. Hillary Clinton endorsed Joe Biden for the presidency.

The announcement by the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, in an online appearance, above, follows those from Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as the party tries to show unity.

Mrs. Clinton retains a loyal and powerful constituency of female supporters. But her relationship with Mr. Biden has been marked by awkward rivalries. After her loss, Mr. Biden criticized her for failing to talk to middle-class voters.

Separately, Democratic leaders scrapped a plan to call the House back into session in Washington next week, abruptly reversing themselves after some rank-and-file lawmakers complained that doing so constituted an unnecessary risk.

5. Remote schooling will be here for a while.

A growing impatience to send children back to school has taken hold among many parents.

But only a few states are considering that possibility, including Montana and Idaho, while others have said that remote learning will continue indefinitely. Above, a classroom in Kentfield, Calif., where schools may resume in July.

In New Jersey, the governor has said there is “a chance” that schools may reopen before the end of June, but the mayor of New York City, which has the nation’s largest school district, has said students will not return until September. In Illinois, state and local officials have warned that online learning may be extended to the fall.

6. As shoppers return in China, they bring lessons for the rest of the world.

The manufacturing giant is coming back to life. But job losses and pay cuts have left its people reluctant to spend — a problem the U.S. and Europe may soon face, too.

The shock of the coronavirus and accompanying lockdowns have prompted many Chinese consumers to review their spending priorities. Above, a near-empty mall in Guangzhou last month.

“When I find a job, I will start saving money, and I can’t live a wasteful life like before,” said Chloe Cao, an unemployed translator in Beijing.

7. The Pentagon released U.F.O. videos. Don’t hold your breath.

The three videos, captured by Navy aviators in late 2004 and early 2015 over the Pacific and off the East Coast, show objects hurtling through the sky. The pilots can be heard expressing confusion and awe.

When they first appeared online in 2017 and 2018, the clips breathed new life into the decades-long debate about whether interstellar visitors had ever come to Earth.

The release by the Pentagon was merely meant to confirm that the videos are real. The government has never made any assertion about their content, except to say that the objects are “unidentified.”

8. They’re dumping beer.

In a scene reminiscent of Prohibition, craft breweries are sending gallons of perfectly good beer down the drain.

With too much aging beer on their hands, brewers are also putting their drafts into cans, or even bags, to sell. Some are donating the brew to make hand sanitizer as their beers approach their freshness dates. Above, kegs at a Vermont distributor on their way to become sanitizer.

“Suddenly, 60,000 gallons of beer in my cooler are going out of code,” one distributor wrote.

9. LPs for sale, $400 each.

In London, the Electric Recording Co. assembles vinyl record albums with restored vintage equipment, down to glowing vacuum-tube amplifiers and mono tape systems that have not been used in more than half a century.

It then releases them in editions of 300 or fewer — at a cost of $400 to $600 for each LP. Above, the label’s founder inspects a master disc.

The goal is to ensure meticulous recreations of classical and jazz albums from the 1950s and ’60s. Even its record jackets are faithful reproductions, printed one by one on letterpress machines.

10. And finally, while sunlight is not a cure for the coronavirus, it does have general health benefits.

Some evidence shows that moderate exposure is capable of modulating the immune system, researchers say. Above, a juggler snagged some rays in Brooklyn today.

A daily dose of sunlight may be especially important now because it can help elevate our mood, improve the quality of our sleep and strengthen the body’s defenses against pathogens.

And sunshine helps our skin create vitamin D, which aids our body’s ability to fight infections. More than half of Americans do not produce enough vitamin D, a result of spending some 90 percent of their time indoors.

Have a bright night.

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