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Coronavirus, Mount Everest, International Women’s Day: Your Monday Briefing


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Good morning.

We’re covering a lockdown in Italy to contain the coronavirus outbreak, a quarantine facility’s collapse in China and how some people are learning to live in the wild.

The various phases of an epidemic appeared to move west this weekend: China’s cases dropped dramatically; Italy imposed an unprecedented peacetime lockdown affecting 16 million people as its cases and deaths skyrocketed; and the number of U.S. cases rose to 450 — and that’s before tests are widely available.

Italy’s cases have nearly tripled from about 2,500 infections last Wednesday to more than 7,300 on Sunday, and deaths rose to more than 360. In the Lombardy region of Italy, which has been locked down, classes, conferences and even funerals are banned, and people are required to keep a distance of one meter from one another.

The shutdown of Italy’s economic powerhouse could be a test for the West: Can China’s heavy-handed measures, which it says is a success, work in a place fiercely protective of personal liberties?

Californians are on edge as a cruise ship crisis begins at their shore on Monday. After 21 people on board tested positive, the Grand Princess — part of the same company that runs the Diamond Princess — is to let passengers disembark at the Port of Oakland, to be hospitalized if needed and quarantined if not.

Here are the latest updates and maps of where the virus has spread.

The fatality rate: The World Health Organization has estimated the rate at 3.4 percent, shocking experts — but the real rate is elusive. Here’s why.

Elsewhere:

  • In China, 10 people have died and dozens are still trapped after a hotel used as a quarantine building collapsed. The owner is under police custody.

  • New York declared a state of emergency, as the state’s caseload rose to 105 on Sunday from 89 on Saturday. Oregon, with just 14 cases, followed suit on Sunday.

  • In Iran, where dozens of senior officials are sick, a senior adviser to the supreme leader and a member of Parliament died after contracting the virus.

  • Saudi Arabia is canceling all classes at schools, universities and technical institutes, and has cut off access to Shiite Muslim towns and villages in the east of the kingdom in an attempt to contain an outbreak there.

What to know: Here’s how to quarantine yourself if you need to; how to protect a family member in a nursing home; and how to stock your pantry in case of closings and restrictions in your area. If you haven’t already, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.

“When the end comes, some will not be waiting in a bunker for a savior,” writes our reporter Nellie Bowles. “They will stride out into the wilderness with confidence, ready to hunt and kill a deer, tan its hide and sleep easily in a hand-built shelter.”

In rural Washington State, hours from a coronavirus hot spot, Nellie found a woman, above, who has been teaching people to live in the wild. The idea has taken on new meaning with the prospect of a world hobbled by a pandemic.

Saudi royals: The full extent of a roundup in which four senior princes were detained under orders from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman remains unclear, but shows how far the prince is willing to go to lock down potential opponents within his own family.

Political spies: Erik Prince, a security contractor close to the Trump administration, worked to recruit former American and British spies for secretive, intelligence-gathering operations that included infiltrating groups considered hostile to the Trump agenda.

Mount Everest: Nepal’s government is delaying safety rules that are intended to reduce deaths on the mountain and weed out inexperienced climbers.

Cook: French onion soup. It comes from a 1954 pamphlet The Times simply called “Soups,” which had 20 recipes for soups “thick and thin, hot and cold,” but our cooking team has updated this one recipe with sherry and wine to layer in more flavors.

Watch: “Hillary,” a four-part documentary about Hillary Clinton, revisits some much-told history and has insight about the public fixation on her.

Read: In “Rebel Cinderella,” Adam Hochschild writes about the life of Rose Pastor Stokes, whose life and activism coincided with the roiling decades of the early 20th century.

Smarter Living: Data overages from your wireless carrier can add up quickly. Here’s how to keep your bill under control.

The coronavirus outbreak can be tough to follow, especially the statistics. Adam Kucharski, who studies the math behind outbreaks for the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, recently talked to The Times about how people should look at the data.

One signal Mr. Kucharski looks for is when the first case in an area is a death: “That suggests you had a lot of community transmission already,” he said.

“Suppose the fatality rate for cases is about 1 percent, which is plausible,” he continued. “If you’ve got a death, then that person probably became ill about three weeks ago. That means you probably had about 100 cases three weeks ago, in reality.”

“In that subsequent three weeks, that number could well have doubled, then doubled, then doubled again,” he added. “So you’re currently looking at 500 cases, maybe 1,000 cases.”

When considering the fatality rate, Mr. Kucharski suggested people pay attention to the variable risk level for different age groups, particularly people in their 70s and 80s.

“Over all we’re seeing maybe 1 percent of symptomatic cases are fatal across all ages,” he said. “What’s also important is that 1 percent isn’t evenly distributed. In younger groups, we’re talking perhaps 0.1 percent, which means that when you get into the older groups, you’re potentially talking about 5 percent, 10 percent of cases being fatal.”


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. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Crossword hint (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Parul Sehgal, a Times book critic, talked about her middle-of-the-night reading schedule, her review process and more for The Cut’s “How I Get It Done” feature.

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