Wuhan Coronavirus, Impeachment, Kobe Bryant: Your Tuesday Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up .) Good morning. We’re covering the global and economic impacts of the Wuhan ...


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Good morning.

We’re covering the global and economic impacts of the Wuhan coronavirus, new revelations in the Trump impeachment trial and an outpouring of grief and thanks for Kobe Bryant.

The death toll in China from the respiratory illness rose to at least 81. With thousands of new cases, the government extended the Lunar New Year holiday by three days in an effort to limit travel, and the spread of germs at workplaces. Here’s the latest.

A lockdown affecting 56 million people could actually be making the situation worse, including by exacerbating shortages of medical supplies, some experts say — though they are divided. Hospital workers are calling for stricter border checks as holiday travelers return, and Chinese officials are racing to contain public anger at the government.

Stocks tumbled and oil prices fell on Monday as the virus’s spread worried investors around the globe. China’s currency also fell, while investors moved into safe havens like gold.

The scope: Most of the nearly 3,000 people who have contracted the virus live in China, but it has spread to 10 other countries. At least 110 people are being tested for it in the U.S.

Inside China: In addition to antiviral H.I.V. drugs, the authorities told doctors to prescribe traditional medicine. Hospitals are overwhelmed, as the country does not have a functioning primary care system and people flock to understaffed hospitals even on a normal day. The weaknesses are most pronounced in poorer areas.

Another angle: Many airlines are accommodating travelers who want to modify, delay or cancel China itineraries. Here’s what to know.

Republicans are in disarray in the wake of details that emerged from a book written by President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, a draft of which was provided to the White House for review on Dec. 30.

Some are angrily pressing the White House in private, saying they were blindsided by the account.

Mr. Bolton’s draft says that Mr. Trump wanted to continue freezing security aid to Ukraine until he got help with investigations into Democrats, an account that dovetails with a central aspect of the Democrats’ impeachment prosecution. Mr. Trump denied having told Mr. Bolton that.

The impeachment trial: President Trump’s legal team ignored the Bolton account entirely and doubled down on claims that Mr. Trump withheld aid to Ukraine only because he was concerned about corruption there.

Ken Starr, a key player in the Clinton prosecution who is now serving on the Trump defense, seemed to unite the left and right — in boredom, offering a thorough review of impeachment history and legal standards.

Analysis: Our chief White House correspondent writes that, in an alternate universe, this could have been the moment that changed everything. But in the current era, it’s too early to tell if it will matter.

Presidents, athletes, celebrities and fans around the world shared what the basketball legend had meant to them, and thousands attended memorials for Bryant, 41, and the other victims of a helicopter crash that killed everybody on board in Calabasas, Calif.

The nine victims, including Bryant’s daughter Gianna, 13, were traveling to the Mamba Sports Academy, Bryant’s athletic training facility. Other passengers included the pilot, a college baseball coach and a mother and daughter.

Teammates and colleagues hailed Bryant as one of the greatest in the game, tearing up in public and in tribute videos. Italy, where he lived from ages 6 to 13, said it would hold moments of silence. Southern Californians united in their grief.

“Every baby boomer can tell you where they were when they learned that J.F.K. was shot,” writes Sam Dolnick, a Times assistant managing editor. “Now basketball fans have their own terrible version.”

The crash: The helicopter had received special approval to fly on Sunday in thick fog. Whether the pilot made the right decision in his route will most likely be at the center of the crash investigation.

Complicated legacy: Bryant earned 18 All-Star selections, among many other prestigious accolades. A sexual assault allegation against him in 2003 would change how many people saw him, though he remained hugely popular.

Nora Ephron once said: “Everything is copy.” But in 2020, the more apt phrasing may be: “Everything is content.”

More and more people are turning their personal lives into full-time careers on social media. But what happens when their friends aren’t so comfortable being part of the oversharing? It might be the big question of the influencer era.

U.S. immigration: The Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to move ahead with plans to deny green cards to immigrants thought likely to even occasionally use public benefits like food stamps and Medicaid. Legal challenges to the policy will continue to move forward in courts around the nation.

Prince Andrew: Federal prosecutors in the U.S. have sought to interview him about Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender, but he has provided “zero cooperation,” the U.S. attorney in Manhattan said.

Los Alamos: Newly released information on a recently discovered fourth Soviet spy at the wartime New Mexico lab, home to the U.S. atomic bomb program, indicates that his espionage may have been the most damaging of all.

Grammys: Billie Eilish, the 18-year-old pop superstar, swept the top awards with five wins, including record of the year and best new artist. Many used the ceremony in Los Angeles to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant.

Snapshot: Above, residents returning to their homes in Laurel, the Philippines, a town near the Taal Volcano. The authorities said the danger of a major eruption had subsided.

What we’re reading: This piece on Gwyneth Paltrow’s new Netflix series, “The Goop Lab.” Our television critic James Poniewozik calls it a “great debut” for The New Yorker’s new TV critic, Doreen St. Félix.

Further encouraged by the previous rector, Thomas Stanley, the villagers agreed, and stuck by their agreement, even as whole families died. (Mr. Mompesson survived, apparently against his expectations, but his wife, Catherine, did not.)

When the outbreak ended the following November, 260 people in Eyam had died — by most accounts, that was more than half the population.

But the lives they saved, in villages and larger towns nearby, almost certainly numbered in the thousands.


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina


Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Peter Robins, an editor in our London newsroom who grew up about 40 miles from Eyam, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about whether American football is too dangerous for children.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Chunk of ice (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The R&D team at The New York Times is working in collaboration with IBM Garage on the News Provenance Project, an effort to use blockchain to make valid photo information “travel with” images posted to social media.

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Newsrust: Wuhan Coronavirus, Impeachment, Kobe Bryant: Your Tuesday Briefing
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