Virus, Border Wall, E.U. Travel: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. “The virus is not going to disappear.”

That’s according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. He also told Congress that the U.S. does not yet have the coronavirus under control and is seeing a “disturbing surge” of infections in some areas.

President Trump said last week that the virus would just “fade away.”

Dr. Fauci described the next two weeks as critical to controlling the spread of the virus, and he warned of a dangerous intersection of the regular flu season with the coronavirus this winter. Above, Dr. Fauci arriving on Capitol Hill today.

Three other doctors who are helping to lead the government’s virus response struck a similarly somber tone in their testimony. And all four witnesses said they knew of no request from the administration to “slow the testing down,” though Mr. Trump said he had told “my people” to do so.

2. President Trump traveled to the southwestern border with a renewed anti-immigrant message.

He bragged about his sustained assault on migrants and once again exaggerated the administration’s progress in constructing a wall along the border with Mexico. The visit came a day after Mr. Trump suspended visas allowing hundreds of thousands of foreigners to work in the U.S. Above, the president at the border wall today.

Later, he will bring his campaign to thousands of Arizona college students at a megachurch in Phoenix, even as coronavirus cases sharply increase in the state.

Arizona, which has a Republican governor and legislature and voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, has long been a hotbed of conservative activism. But Democrats are confident they can turn Arizona blue this year.

3. Joe Biden is making strides in fund-raising, for a change.

Tonight, Mr. Biden holds his first event of the 2020 presidential race with former President Barack Obama, and more than 120,000 people have already paid to attend online, raising more than $4 million. Above, Mr. Biden at an event in Pennsylvania last week.

More significantly, Mr. Biden in May passed President Trump in fund-raising for the first time. Now, some Democratic Party officials see $100 million as an achievable goal for June. Still, Mr. Trump remains a prolific fund-raiser, and he has a significant cash advantage.

Don’t expect to see many results from the primary elections on Tuesday, given the high number of absentee ballots. The highly competitive ones to watch are the Kentucky Senate Democratic race and several House races in New York.

4. Europe may bar American travelers, citing failures over the virus.

European Union countries are prepared to block Americans from entering because the U.S. has failed to control the scourge, according to draft lists of acceptable travelers seen by The Times. A decision is expected before the bloc reopens on July 1. Above, tourists arriving in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, this week.

That prospect, which would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome, is a repudiation of President Trump’s handling of the virus. The U.S. has more than 2.3 million cases and 120,000 deaths, more than any other country.

In England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson cleared the way for the reopening of pubs, restaurants, hotels and museums on July 4. He also cut the required social distance between people in half, to one meter, or about three feet.

5. A little-known rule has become a flash point in the calls for police reform.

Qualified immunity has been invoked by police departments for decades to shield officers when they are accused of violating constitutional rights.

But for families of victims seeking relief through the justice system, qualified immunity is an obstacle to obtaining financial or other damages. Above, Robert Jones, whose brother was shot and killed by five police officers in Martinsburg, W.Va., in 2013. A federal court ruled only this month that the officers could not claim qualified immunity.

Senate Democrats threatened today to block a bill put forward by Republicans to change policing practices. That measure does not mention qualified immunity, while a House Democrats’ bill would allow victims of police brutality to seek damages from their assailants.

In Atlanta, mourners paid homage to Rayshard Brooks, 27, who was fatally shot by the police on June 12. A pastor at Mr. Brooks’s funeral said he had fallen victim to a system that does not offer “a real shot at redemption.”

6. Human rights observers worry about an impending State Department report.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, created a commission last July to provide a new vision for human rights policy that would uphold religious freedom as America’s most fundamental value. Above, Mr. Pompeo in Washington this month.

Some diplomats say the commission’s report, expected within weeks, could be a tool to advance Mr. Pompeo’s religious beliefs and political aspirations, while proving detrimental to the rights of women and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people abroad.

7. “The China Trade Deal is fully intact.”

That was President Trump on Twitter, walking back remarks by the White House trade adviser, Peter Navarro, above, that the trade deal was “over.”

The events underscored the sensitivity of the “Phase 1” agreement that the U.S. and China signed in January. Tensions have been rising between the two countries over the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing’s assertion of power over Hong Kong.

The Trump administration is also weighing reimposing tariffs on Canadian aluminum over concerns about a surge in exports to the U.S. Such a move could incite Canadian retaliation just as Mr. Trump’s revised North American trade deal is set to go into effect on July 1.

8. Play ball.

After months of talks with the players’ union ended without a settlement, Major League Baseball owners imposed a schedule of 60 games starting July 24, with players reporting for training camp next week. Normally 162 games, the season will be by far the shortest since the 1870s. Above, Coors Field in Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies.

In tennis, Novak Djokovic, the top men’s player, is the fourth player found to be infected with the coronavirus after he organized an exhibition series in Croatia and Serbia.

At the tournament, face masks were a rare sight and social distancing wasn’t enforced in the stands. “Everything we did in the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions,” Djokovic said.

9. Are you feeling productive?

Many companies say the productivity of their remote workers has remained at or exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Without long commutes, small talk and coffee breaks, many employees are getting more done.

Yet burnout, sustainability and social costs are among managers’ concerns. “There’s a big difference between activity and productivity,” one chief executive said.

A time-management technique from the 1980s may be especially useful now, at a time when our perception of time has changed. The Pomodoro method has strict rules: 25 minutes on one task, five minutes off, 25 minutes on another, and so on.

“We waste hours keeping on going when our concentration’s long gone,” writes Dean Kissick in The New York Times Magazine.

10. And finally, NASA wants to fly a remote helicopter on Mars, and that would be no small feat.

Because the atmosphere is so thin on Mars, taking off there is the equivalent of flying at an altitude of 100,000 feet on Earth. No helicopter has flown that high. Above, a depiction of the helicopter on Mars.

If it works on the mission to Mars leaving Earth this summer, the small chopper named Ingenuity could open the way for robotic explorers elsewhere in the solar system.

Have an uplifting evening.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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