2021-02-21 20:48:32 | Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times

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Story by: Carole Landry The New York Times World News

More Americans have died of Covid-19 than on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined. No other country has counted so many deaths in the pandemic.

As of this writing, the U.S. toll stood at 498,033, about a fifth of the known global toll — roughly one year since the country’s first confirmed Covid-19 death. The coronavirus has reached every corner of the U.S., devastating dense cities and rural counties alike, and has killed about one in 670 people in the country. Virus variants are an increasing threat and grief is widespread.

“When I go inside, it’s a surreal moment and there’s always this hope,” said Ignacio Silverio, who lost his sister, a restaurant owner, to Covid. “You know, maybe it’s all a dream and she would greet me and we would sit down together and drink coffee.”

The harrowing milestone nevertheless comes at a hopeful moment. New virus cases are down sharply, deaths are slowing, and vaccinations are picking up after a week in which much of the country was staggered by winter storms. President Biden said the U.S. could near normalcy by year’s end, though Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top epidemiologist, said that mask-wearing might be necessary into 2022.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • Australia began vaccinating its population against the coronavirus on Sunday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and 19 others getting their shots. The first to be vaccinated was an 84-year-old woman who lives in a nursing home.

  • People in Canada are calling out not just politicians and doctors for breaking coronavirus rules, but also their own relatives and neighbors. So-called snitch lines have been flooded with tips.

  • As new variants of the coronavirus spread rapidly, countries in Europe are moving to reintroduce border controls, a practice that is chipping away at what was once the world’s largest area of free movement.

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Bollywood’s onscreen mothers have long been depicted as passive housewives who bow to patriarchal pressures. But that’s changing, with films like “Tribhanga,” above, which covers topics like single motherhood, sexual abuse and open relationships.

In fact, a number of new productions are showing mothers, and women overall, as full and complex human beings — not melodramatic side characters, but outspoken, independent leads who are in charge of their own fates.

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Israel election: The election next month has the potential to give the country’s Arab voters real power. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now vigorously courting the Arab Israeli electorate, and some Arab politicians are prepared to work with him.

Aleksei Navalny: A Russian court has cleared the way for the possible transfer of the opposition leader to a penal colony, the latest step by the authorities to silence the country’s most vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Libya weapons: Erik Prince, the former head of the security firm Blackwater Worldwide and a supporter of former President Donald Trump, violated a United Nations arms embargo on Libya by sending weapons to a militia commander who was trying to overthrow the government in Tripoli, according to U.N. investigators. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Cook: This shrimp étouffée draws inspiration from both Cajun and Creole cuisines.

Listen: Radio drama, especially from its golden age in the 1930s through the ’50s, is freely available, thanks to the internet. Here are six shows to enjoy.

Do: Thinking of buying an electric car? They’re available in many sizes, shapes and prices. Here’s a roundup.

Find something that will bring you laughter. At Home has ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.

A graphic on Sunday’s front page of The New York Times depicts the totality of Covid’s devastation in the United States. From afar, the graphic looks like a blur of gray, but up close it shows something much darker: close to 500,000 individual dots, each representing a single life lost to the coronavirus.

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This is not the first time The Times’s designers have used the front page to represent the scale of the pandemic’s toll. When Covid-19 deaths in the United States reached 100,000 last May, the page was filled with names of those lost — nearly a thousand of them, just 1 percent of the country’s toll then.

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Source References: The New York Times World News

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