Your Friday Briefing - The New York Times

We’re covering new commitments to combat climate change and India’s record number of Covid cases. Even with the astronomical toll, ...


We’re covering new commitments to combat climate change and India’s record number of Covid cases.

Even with the astronomical toll, experts say the cases and deaths might be undercounted.

Maharashtra, the populous state that includes Mumbai, has been the hardest hit. The state’s leader has ordered government offices to operate at 15 percent capacity and imposed new restrictions on weddings and private transportation to slow the spread of the virus.

The picture is staggeringly different from early February, when India was recording an average of 11,000 cases a day.

Vaccines: More than 132 million Indians have received at least one dose, but supplies are running low and experts warn that the country is unlikely to meet its goal of inoculating 300 million people by the summer.

Impacts: The steep rise in cases is the single biggest challenge to India’s economic recovery, the head of the Reserve Bank of India said.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:


In a sign of a possible de-escalation, Russia’s Defense Ministry on Thursday ordered a partial pullback of troops from the border with Ukraine.

After a buildup of troops there alarmed Western leaders, the Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said the units deployed at the border were part of a test of Russian military readiness that was now complete and that they should return to their barracks by May 1.

But the plan includes leaving some armored vehicles in field camps near the Russian border with Ukraine’s Donbas region. Satellite images have shown hundreds of trucks and tanks in the area.

Response: President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, who on Tuesday warned his country about the possibility of war, said he welcomed Russia’s move. He said it would reduce tension.

News From Asia

Ahead of the Oscars on Sunday, our critic has predictions on who will win. Watch for Chloé Zhao, the first Chinese woman and the first woman of color to be nominated for best director, to pick up the prize for “Nomadland,” he writes.

If you’ve seen a lot of the contenders, test your knowledge with our annual quiz.

As more people are vaccinated against Covid-19 and sunshine beckons us outdoors, one question may be nagging at you: Do we still need to wear masks outside? Experts who spoke to our wellness reporter suggested the following:

Use the 2-out-of-3 rule

To lower risk for Covid-19, make sure your activity meets two out of the following three conditions: outdoors, distanced and masked.

Outdoors + Distanced = No Mask Needed

Outdoors + No Distance = Mask Needed

Not Outdoors + Distanced = Mask Needed

When outdoor risk is lowest

Walking your dog, riding a bike, hiking on a trail or picnicking with members of your household or vaccinated friends are all activities for which the risk of virus exposure is negligible. In these kinds of situations, you can keep a mask on hand in your pocket.

When outdoor fun moves indoors

Often it’s the indoor activities associated with outdoor fun — like traveling unmasked in a subway or car to go hiking, or dropping into a pub after spending time at the beach — that pose the highest risk.

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