Your Friday Briefing

Latin America’s Covid-19 crisis

As vaccinations march on in some of the world’s wealthiest countries, the crisis across Latin America — and in South America in particular — has taken an alarming turn for the worse, potentially threatening the progress made beyond its borders.

Problems stem from limited vaccine supplies and slow rollouts, weak health systems and fragile economies that make stay-at-home orders difficult to impose or maintain.

The death rate in Uruguay is now among the highest in the world, while the grim daily tallies of the dead have set records in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Even Venezuela, whose authoritarian government is notorious for hiding health statistics, says that coronavirus deaths are up 86 percent since January.

By the numbers: The region, which makes up just 8 percent of the global population, accounted for 35 percent of all Covid-19 deaths in the world last week.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other virus news:

New York’s mayor hopes to “fully reopen” the city on July 1, allowing restaurants, shops and stadiums to operate at full capacity.

President Emmanuel Macron outlined plans for France’s gradual reopening after waves of infections forced the country into three national lockdowns.

About 26 million people in India have been fully vaccinated, or 2 percent of the population, making it unlikely that the country will meet its goal of vaccinating 300 million people by the summer.

Nursing home residents in the U.S. are seeing their families for the first time in a year. See the emotional reunions here.

The U.S. economy rebounds

The U.S. economy shook off some of the lingering effects of the pandemic in the first three months of 2021, as consumer spending grew 2.6 percent and the first-quarter growth of gross domestic product reached 6.4 percent on an annualized basis. Economists predict overall economic activity could return to prepandemic levels in the current quarter.

The strong G.D.P. showing came one day after President Biden unveiled two large spending packages, including an infrastructure plan with an emphasis on moving semiconductor manufacturing back to the U.S. and focusing on 5G networks, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics. Here’s a breakdown.

International consequences: Biden is pitching his economic agenda as a way to outcompete China and contain Russia, The Times’s David Sanger explains.

Go deeper: Though the U.S. economy is recovering rapidly, it’s profoundly unequal across sectors and unbalanced in ways that have enormous long-term implications for businesses and workers.

A setback for Navalny’s movement

Aleksei Navalny’s 40 regional offices across Russia are to be disbanded amid the Kremlin’s latest efforts to stifle political dissent, his associates said, even as the imprisoned Russian opposition leader vowed to keep fighting President Vladimir Putin.

Prosecutors in Russia are seeking to have Navalny’s movement declared an extremist organization. A Moscow court this week ordered a halt on all public activities, including participating in political campaigns or referendums pending a final ruling in the extremism case.

It is the end of an era in Russian politics, in which Navalny controlled the country’s most formidable nationwide political infrastructure dedicated to toppling President Putin.

Public appearance: Navalny returned to public view in an online court appearance yesterday. “Your emperor with no clothes has stolen the banner of victory and is trying to fashion it into a thong for himself,” he said of Putin. “All your authorities are occupiers and traitors.”

Opinion: The protests that swept across Russia this week attest to the strength of Navalny’s appeal and to the depth of dissatisfaction with Putin, writes the Russian journalist Oleg Kashin.


News From Europe

Germany’s highest court ruled in favor of young climate activists, above, and ordered the government to step up plans to cut carbon emissions to nearly zero by 2050.

A forthcoming policy permitting vaccinated tourists from the U.S. to cross the Atlantic this summer has been met with skepticism in Europe, where inoculations are running far behind schedule and reopening is barely underway.

Vatican officials will be required to make detailed financial disclosures and decline most gifts, in an effort to fight corruption.

A Spanish company, Iberdrola, has quietly become the world leader in combined wind and solar power outside China.

Other Big Stories

Outraged by a long-ignored murder in Honduras, lawyers are urging a human rights court in Central America to force governments to better protect vulnerable transgender people.

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority announced yesterday that parliamentary elections, scheduled for May 22, would be delayed indefinitely.

At least 15 people died and dozens more were injured in northern Israel last night after a stampede at a religious festival drew tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews to the grave of a famous sage.

What Else Is Happening

Researchers in Germany reviewed more than 27,000 images to identify the world’s “most Instagrammable bird. ”The frogmouth, above, is native to Southeast Asia and Australia.

A shifting narrative around perimenopause has helped highlight a range of treatments, including hormone therapy and birth control pills.

Astronomers reconstructed an asteroid’s path before it exploded over southern Africa in 2018 and sprinkled the Kalahari with meteorites.

New sunny, digital artwork from David Hockney will soon adorn billboards in Tokyo, Seoul, London, New York and Los Angeles.

A Morning Read

Longevity scientists who favor the idea of living for centuries or longer tend to speak effusively of prosperity and possibility — while other experts argue that extending life span, even in the name of health, is a doomed pursuit.

Perhaps the most unpredictable consequence is how it would alter our future psychology. Could our minds easily accommodate this unparalleled scope of life, of 200 years or more? Or is our Pleistocene-era neural architecture inherently unsuited for such vast horizons?


Logging off

It’s time to put our extremely online year (and selves) behind us, suggests the writer and editor Foster Kamer, in this lightly edited excerpt. Read other plans and proposals for when we emerge from the pandemic.

During a pandemic, under several lockdowns, our worst online tendencies, in the immortal words of “Spinal Tap,” went to 11. We were trying to save ourselves.

There were some good things to come out of all that time online. But there were also some extremely bad things. And so, I am making a proclamation here for all to read: It’s time to put our extremely online year (and selves) behind us. It’s time to stigmatize the internet.

At least for the next year or two, let’s have some standards, some kind of unified code of etiquette that keeps us (and our conversations, and our passions) tied to a world that’s not so extremely online.

Yes, the internet is a part of our daily lives, inextricably linked from most of the things we do, now. But when not entirely necessary, the internet should be known as the place where work and procrastination get done, and that’s it.

After a year at home, we will have freedoms we didn’t have for the last year. We’ll gaze into new eyes, sit in public spaces; go to concerts; sweat on one another at gyms. And we’ll do it all without fear, hesitation, or strangeness, or reluctance. We’ll have prolonged silences with one another.

If you’ve got your phone out for any of this, or you’re talking about things that happen exclusively on your phone, let’s agree: You’re in the wrong. Unplug! Unfurl! Turn off, tune out and drop in: The world of proximity is soon available to you again. Don’t let the internet drag you out of it.


What to Cook

This gorgeous asparagus and goat cheese tart is so easy it almost feels like cheating.

What to Read

The universe is simpler than we think, argues the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku in “The God Equation.”

What to Watch

The animated series “Solar Opposites,” whose second season came out last month, is a fast, funny take on a group of aliens trapped on Earth.

What to Listen to

Four albums by young British composers from the label NMC show a wide-ranging, antic experimentalism.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Kind of diet that mimics cavemen (five letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next week. — Natasha

P.S. The American Association of People With Disabilities presented its Ally Award to The Times for a series of obituaries about advocates for disability rights.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about Biden’s address to Congress.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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