(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.
1. This was one of the most devastating weeks in the U.S. since the coronavirus pandemic began nine months ago.
On Friday, a national single-day record was set, with more than 226,000 new cases. Hospitalizations topped 100,000 — more than double the number at the beginning of November.
2. Health care workers and the frailest of the elderly will almost certainly get the first shots of a coronavirus vaccine. Who goes next is up for heated debate.
3. Just when you thought the 2020 election season was over, all eyes are on Georgia.
President Trump campaigned in Valdosta on behalf of the state’s two Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. In his first major public appearance since the Nov. 3 election, Mr. Trump falsely claimed the election was rigged and that he had won. Earlier, he urged Georgia’s governor to call a special legislative session to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state.
The Democratic candidates, Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, held a virtual rally with former President Barack Obama on Friday.
The dueling events underscored the vital stakes in the special elections next month: If both Republicans are defeated, control of the Senate will shift to Democrats just as Mr. Biden moves into the Oval Office.
Here’s a guide to registering and voting in the Georgia runoffs. Monday is the registration deadline.
4. Almost 160 million Americans voted this year thanks to the broad expansion of voting options. It may change U.S. elections forever.
With all but three states having completed their final counts, and with next week’s deadline for final certification of the results approaching, the sheer number of Americans who actually voted in November was eye-opening: 66.7 percent of the voting-eligible population.
But a backlash from the right is brewing. Republicans at the state level are vowing to enact a new round of voting restrictions to prevent what they claim — without evidence — is widespread fraud, part of their floundering bid to overturn President Trump’s clear loss.
Mr. Trump is moody and, according to accounts from his advisers, sometimes depressed. Our chief White House correspondent writes: “The final days of the Trump presidency have taken on the stormy elements of a drama more common to history or literature than a modern White House.”
5. A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to fully restore DACA, the program designed to protect young immigrants from deportation. So-called Dreamers aren’t resting easy yet.
Almost from the moment President Barack Obama created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, it has been dogged by legal challenges. Friday’s court ruling, which would allow up to 300,000 additional undocumented immigrants to apply for protection, was a milestone. But without a legislative solution, their status remains precarious.
“It’s literally like we’re in a Ping-Pong game,” said Maria Fernanda Madrigal Delgado, above, who grew up undocumented and will graduate from law school in May. “They’re playing with our lives.”
6. E-commerce has been a lifeline for companies and consumers during the pandemic. Now the holiday season will test the shipping industry as never before.
An estimated three billion packages will course through the nation’s shipping infrastructure — about 800 million more than last year. Private carriers like FedEx, UPS and Amazon have added about 270,000 seasonal workers to handle the demand, but some retailers are already reporting delays.
The deliveries could make or break some smaller retailers that are already on the edge financially because of lockdowns and fewer customers in their stores. Their difficulties could only strengthen Amazon’s dominance.
Be sure to get your orders in early. And if you need help deciding, here’s our 2020 gift guide.
7. You insure your car. How about a reef?
Last year, the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico (home to Cancún and Tulum and a tourism economy estimated at more than $9 billion) took out a policy on a 167-kilometer stretch of the coast, including a treasured reef, against damage from major hurricanes.
In October, Hurricane Delta’s force prompted the first payout — about $850,000 to be used for repairs to the reef. The success or failure of the experiment could determine whether other communities use a similar financing model to protect coral reefs against the effects of climate change.
And back on land, trees appear to communicate and cooperate through subterranean networks of fungi. The emerging understanding of trees as social creatures has urgent implications for how we manage forests.
8. From “Murphy Brown” to doting grandmother.
Candice Bergen, the wryest of Hollywood royals, spoke to Maureen Dowd about growing up in a show business family, a comedic career for the ages, and embracing her age (and her “wattle”). Ms. Bergen, 74, has always been blunt about the phenomenon of beauty creating its own rules of conduct when appearance is the primary currency.
“It works against your own self-development, because it’s hard to find out what you think about things and what your opinions are because nobody cares,” she said.
Ms. Bergen, who stars with Meryl Streep and Dianne Wiest in “Let Them All Talk,” Steven Soderbergh’s new film about strained female friendship, also dishes on her date with Donald J. Trump (there was a lot of matching burgundy) and the new love of her life: her 6-month-old grandson.
10. And finally, great Sunday reads.
Barbra Streisand, Patti LaBelle and Dolly Parton reflect on their most memorable performances. The ghosts of segregation. A 1,020-year-old mochi shop in Japan. All these and more await in The Weekender.
For more suggestions, our editors also suggest these 11 new books, new releases from Sonny Rollins and Britney Spears and a new docu-series on baby chimps.
Have you been keeping up with the headlines? Test your knowledge with our news quiz. And here’s the front page of our Sunday paper, the Sunday Review from Opinion and our crossword puzzles.
Have a soulful week.
Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6 a.m. Eastern.
Did a friend forward you the briefing? You can sign up here.
What did you like? What do you want to see here? Let us know at [email protected]
Browse our full range of Times newsletters here.
Source by www.nytimes.com