Your Wednesday Briefing - The New York Times

Promising results for Pfizer’s Covid pill Long-awaited study on Pfizer’s Covid pill confirmed that it helps prevent serious illnesses ,...


Long-awaited study on Pfizer’s Covid pill confirmed that it helps prevent serious illnesses, the company said. The company also said laboratory experiments indicated the drug would attack a key protein in the Omicron variant.

Pfizer said the pill, Paxlovid, reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 88% when given within five days of symptom onset to unvaccinated people at high risk of severe Covid. About 0.7 percent of the patients who received the drug were hospitalized within 28 days of entering the trial, and none died. In contrast, 6.5 percent of patients who received placebo were hospitalized or died.

America’s response to the Omicron variant highlights the progress made over the past two years – and how much work remains in a country that is now on average 120,000 cases per day, an increase of 49 percent over two weeks. Here is what it takes to understand a variant.

A new generation of floating, self-contained probes that can collect data on temperature, density and other subjects for years to come – dive deep underwater and even explore beneath the Antarctic sea ice, before rising to the surface to make a call at home – allowed scientists to learn a great deal more about the immense and formidable Southern Ocean.

The dominant feature of this ocean, which extends up to two miles deep and up to 1,200 miles wide, is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. It’s the world’s climate engine, and it has prevented further warming by drawing water deep from other oceans and pulling it to the surface. Our interactive shows how the current works.

But these probes have shown that global warming is affecting the Antarctic Current in complex ways, and these changes could complicate the ability to tackle climate change in the future. In addition, the Southern Ocean is warming, potentially endangering the vast and thick ice caps of Antarctica.

Quote: Indeed, “Antarctica is melting to the bottom,” said Henri Drake, oceanographer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bruised by random pandemic border controls and an ongoing crisis with Belarus, the EU yesterday proposed changes that could undermine the free movement of people within the bloc. The proposed reforms have yet to be approved by national governments and the European Parliament, which could take months.

Under the new rules, member states could introduce border controls whenever they want and extend them almost indefinitely. They could then suspend certain protections for asylum seekers if neighboring countries orchestrate migratory flows towards the borders of the bloc, as Belarus has done in recent months.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, said the changes would help member countries better respond to issues related to migration and the pandemic. But critics argue the proposals would curtail one of the EU’s main achievements, the free movement of people and goods, and introduce deep cuts in humanitarian protections.

In numbers : Almost 1.7 million people live in one Schengen area country, which allows passport-free travel between participating countries, and work in another, while around 3.5 million people cross an internal border every day. Undermining the area would not only be a political risk; it could also have huge economic consequences for the bloc, observed a Slovenian lawmaker.

When Jack Nicas, a Times reporter in Brazil, first arrived in Rio de Janeiro, a colleague immediately invited him to a “dirty foot” – a Brazilian mix of a dive bar and a spoon. greasy. “My reputation, it seemed, had preceded me,” he wrote.

Wherever Jack reported – Oakland, CA; the small town of Phoenix, Oregon; and now Rio – he researched these community centers, he explains, “These are haunts for people of all stripes, places people go to let loose and the kind of places that make a city what it is.

The New York of Wes Anderson’s sprawling comedy-drama “The Royal Tenenbaums,” released 20 years ago this month, confuses fact and fiction.

The story of a family of former genius children, this is Anderson’s only film shot entirely in and around New York. Yet the locations named in the film would upset any native New Yorker: Hill Cemetery, “” Little Tokyo “or, in a true feat of ingenuity that spans the city,” 375th Street Y. “

The image’s vague geographical sense extends to its historical timelessness, which eliminates eras – the 1940s, the 1970s – to make it a sort of “Nowheresville, New York”, as one set designer put it.

“For all of Anderson’s efforts to place his film in a New York City devoid of modern markers, a hint of recognition was unintentional but inevitable,” writes Jason Bailey, critic for The Times. Son Chas is in the throes of a nervous breakdown following the death of his wife in a plane crash, in a perpetual state of fear and paranoia. To audiences at the New York Film Festival, where “The Royal Tenenbaums” first took place in October 2001, Chas’s state of mind seemed unmistakably, incredibly contemporary.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. – Natasha

PS Over a million people have now subscribed to our Kitchen and Games verticals.

The last episode of “The Daily”Speaks of the assassination of the Haitian president.

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

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