The State of Covid in the U.S.

The U.S. has reached another potential turning point in the pandemic. But this is also a moment when the Covid-19 data is unusually tricky to read. In today’s newsletter, I’ll try to make sense of it, with help from four charts created by my colleague Ashley Wu.

On the one hand, the country may be on the verge of a virtuous cycle of declining cases. Although scientists don’t understand why, Covid has often followed a two-month cycle: When cases begin rising in a country, they often do so for about two months, before starting to decline. In the U.S., the

‘The Crown,’ ‘Ted Lasso’ and ‘Mare of Easttown’ win early Emmys

Cedric the Entertainer hosts the 73rd Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 19, in Los Angeles.
Cedric the Entertainer hosts the 73rd Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 19, in Los Angeles. (Cliff Lipson/CBS/Getty Images)

First off, Cedric the Entertainer should host the Emmys every year. Heck, I nominate him right now to host the Oscars. He was just the right bit of funny, snarky and the skits were smart. I think it’s safe to say that the opening number put us all in a good mood.

Now, although the show felt an hour too long — most of us have leaned on television during the Covid-19 pandemic. So it feels like this year especially, we’ve all …

Madrid to Remove Most of its Restrictions on Monday

Madrid will remove most of its pandemic restrictions on Monday amid a general easing of lockdown rules in Spain after the country’s coronavirus infection rate fell to its lowest level in more than a year.

Restaurants and bars in Spain’s capital region will be allowed to stay open as late as their licenses allow, while shopping malls, cinemas and theaters will no longer have to apply capacity limits. Only a few restrictions will remain in Madrid, including limits on party sizes at restaurants — 10 per outdoor table, up from eight — and a 75 percent capacity limit at nightclubs.

Israel Captures Last 2 Palestinian Inmates Still Free After Prison Break

JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday captured the last of the six Palestinian inmates who escaped a maximum-security prison nearly two weeks ago, ending an episode that Israelis saw as a humiliation of their security establishment and Palestinians celebrated as a rare black eye for the Israeli occupation.

The Israeli Army said in a statement that it had captured Munadil Nafayat and Eham Kamamji in Jenin, their hometown in the occupied West Bank, in an early-morning operation conducted jointly with a police special forces unit and the Israeli domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet.

Of the six prisoners who broke out

The Scientist and the A.I.-Assisted, Remote-Control Killing Machine

If Israel was going to kill a top Iranian official, an act that had the potential to start a war, it needed the assent and protection of the United States. That meant acting before Mr. Biden could take office. In Mr. Netanyahu’s best-case scenario, the assassination would derail any chance of resurrecting the nuclear agreement even if Mr. Biden won.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh grew up in a conservative family in the holy city of Qom, the theological heart of Shia Islam. He was 18 when the Islamic revolution toppled Iran’s monarchy, a historical reckoning that fired his imagination.

He …

France Recalls Ambassadors to the United States and Australia in Protest of Submarine Deal

PARIS — Calling American and Australian behavior “unacceptable between allies and partners,” France announced on Friday that it was recalling its ambassadors to both countries in protest over President Biden’s decision to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.

It was the first time in the history of the long alliance between France and the United States, dating back to 1778, that a French ambassador has been recalled to Paris in this way for consultations. The decision by President Emmanuel Macron reflects the extent of French outrage at what it has a called a “brutal” American decision and a “stab in the

I.M.F. Chief Kristalina Georgieva Denies Claims She Inflated China Data

WASHINGTON — In remarks to staff on Friday, Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, denied allegations that she pressured staff to manipulate a report to placate China when she was a top World Bank official and said she cares deeply about the integrity of data and analysis, according to people familiar with the meeting.

“I disagree with the implications for my role, and let me put it very simply to you: Not true,” she said, according to a transcript of her remarks.

A day earlier, an internal World Bank investigation concluded that Ms. Georgieva was among

South African Court Rejects Former President’s Plea to Overturn Prison Sentence

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s highest court on Friday rejected an appeal to throw out the prison sentence of Jacob Zuma, the former president who was jailed for refusing to appear before a commission investigating corruption accusations that tainted his tenure as the nation’s leader.

Mr. Zuma’s arrest was hailed as a victory for South Africa’s young democracy, a sign that not even a former head of state was above the law. It was also a signal from President Cyril Ramaphosa that his administration would deal decisively with corruption.

Mr. Zuma, 79, was released on medical parole last week, after serving

China Says It Has Vaccinated 1 Billion People

China said on Thursday that it had fully inoculated 1 billion people, a milestone for the world’s most populous country that brings it closer to its goal of vaccinating 80 percent of its population by the end of the year.

It was a significant accomplishment, representing 71 percent of China’s population of 1.4 billion. China has administered 2.16 billion doses, nearly triple that of India, which is ranked second for shots given and has doled out 752.7 million doses, according to Our World in Data, which tracks vaccination figures.

More than 200 million people ages 60 and older have been

A Covid Referendum

In the run-up to yesterday’s recall election in California, both Gov. Gavin Newsom and his critics framed it as a judgment on his handling of the pandemic. Newsom embraced his enactment of aggressive mask and vaccine mandates. His leading Republican opponent, Larry Elder, promised to cancel those mandates before drinking his first cup of tea on his first day in office.

The recall, as my colleague Jennifer Medina wrote, became a “referendum on pandemic management.”

Now Newsom has won that referendum in a landslide. According to the latest results, California voters rejected removing him from office by a margin of