(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
We’re covering results from the Super Tuesday primary, the latest on the coronavirus crisis and a new report on Iran’s nuclear program.
Biden and Sanders trade Democratic primary wins
Results from the Super Tuesday primaries suggest that the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is increasingly focused on two candidates: Vice President Joe Biden in the political center and Senator Bernie Sanders on the left.
Mr. Biden, whose campaign had been on the verge of collapse a few days ago, ran up huge margins among older voters and those from suburbs and black communities. That support helped him win at least eight of the 14 states that were in play, including a stunning upset in Massachusetts.
The Associated Press declared Senator Bernie Sanders — who won Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont — the winner in California, which has 415 of the night’s 1,357 delegates. Mr. Sanders continued to show strength with liberals, young people and the Latino community.
Go deeper: The Sanders campaign was caught off guard by Mr. Biden’s recent surge, but sees the moderate former vice president as the perfect foil for the promise of a political revolution.
Voices: Many Super Tuesday voters expressed lingering doubts about the Democratic primary field — including, in some cases, the candidates for which they cast ballots.
Michael Bloomberg: The billionaire and former New York City mayor was on the ballot for the first time on Tuesday. His only victory was in American Samoa.
Coronavirus: Where we are today
The official death toll in Italy jumped to 79 on Tuesday, an increase of 27 deaths in a single day, amid speculation that Iran’s count of 77 might be understating the true extent of its outbreak. Here are the latest updates.
The United States Federal Reserve said that it would cut interest rates. But stocks tumbled anyway, reflecting fears that virus-containment measures could hurt consumer spending in developed economies.
Economic analysis: Policymakers in G7 countries, fearful of increasing public debt, are loath to provide cash handouts, credit to small businesses and rescue packages to industries hardest hit by the crisis, our economics correspondent Peter Goodman writes. But he likens the Fed’s latest interest-rate cut to “handing coupons to shoppers and sending them to a store that is closed.”
On other fronts:
Britain has at least 51 confirmed cases, and officials are preparing for the possibility that a chunk of the country’s work force may eventually require some form of sick leave. Some N.H.S. workers may not qualify.
The United States’s count jumped to at least 120 confirmed cases in more than a dozen states. Nine people have died with the illness, all in the Seattle area.
China: The rate of new coronavirus infections appears to be steadily falling, but many patients with other illnesses are falling through the cracks.
What does ‘mild’ mean?
Melina Delkic, on the Briefings team, caught up with Donald G. McNeil Jr., our infectious-diseases reporter. She asked him what it’s like to contract the coronavirus, based on what we’ve learned so far from China.
What does this illness look like?
It’s a lung disease. Ninety percent of people get a fever, 80 percent get a dry cough and then it drops down to 30 percent get shortness of breath and malaise — you know, being tired.
A runny nose shows up in only 4 percent, and that may be people who also happen to have a cold or a flu, too.
We’ve been told that 80 percent of cases are “mild.” But you said that could include pneumonia?
Yes. Chinese health officials define “mild” as a positive test — that’s fever, shortness of breath and possibly even pneumonia, but not so bad that you need to be hospitalized. Once you need oxygen, then you go over into the severe category.
What are we learning about asymptomatic cases?
The good news is that a large study from China suggests that less than 1 percent of cases are asymptomatic. Almost all people get sick. But that means that the real fatality rate is probably closer to what you see outside Hubei Province, which is between 1 and 2 percent. That’s definitely not good news.
If you have 15 minutes, this is worth it
Artwork that eludes identity politics
The art world often likes to showcase people born outside the United States or Europe on the grounds that their art refers to their heritage.
But the South Korean artist Haegue Yang, above, who has studios in Seoul and Berlin, takes what our writer calls a “stubbornly elliptical” approach to the creative process that riffs on her own gnawing sense of alienation.
“By embracing ambiguity,” a reporter writes in The Times’s Style Magazine, “Yang has found a way to make art about identity without tying herself to one based on gender, race or geography.”
Here’s what else is happening
Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran appears to have enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. Iran’s leaders seem to have allowed the agency to document these violations as part of a calculated pushback against the U.S. abandonment of the 2015 nuclear deal.
Russia: A parliamentary committee approved President Vladimir Putin’s proposal for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Political analysts say Mr. Putin may be trying to raise turnout for a planned constitutional referendum in April that could keep him in power.
Snapshot: Above, Hideo Kojima, whose bizarre video-game creations have captivated fans, at his headquarters in Tokyo. Playing his games “can feel like exploring the deepest recesses of an obsessive and endlessly imaginative mind,” writes The Times Magazine.
Ice wine: The German Wine Institute said that only one vineyard in the country had produced any of the sweet specialty last year — and only about 100 liters worth at that. This winter was Germany’s second-mildest since nationwide record-keeping began in 1881.
What we’re reading: From The Guardian, an evening with Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, who watch “Jeopardy!” and eat dinner together every night. “Still alive, still best friends, still amusing themselves and us,” says Steven Erlanger, a Times diplomatic correspondent in Europe.
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Sam Sifton, our Food editor, is out of town. But, he writes in his latest Cooking newsletter, “I’m looking forward to a return flight, to a run to the greengrocer, to the chance to make Alexa Weibel’s new recipe for creamy Swiss chard pasta.”
Read: Dennis Staples’s “This Town Sleeps,” Celia Laskey’s “Under the Rainbow” and Nana Oforiatta Ayim’s “The God Child” are all debut novels that feature outsiders in unwelcome territory.
Smarter Living: Follow these steps to create a bedroom where you can get a good night’s rest.
And now for the Back Story on …
China’s economic shutdown
Alexandra Stevenson, a business correspondent for The Times in Hong Kong, has been exploring the global effects of the coronavirus outbreak. She spoke with Mike about her latest report, on how the shutdown of one of the world’s biggest economies is hurting business around the globe.
What was the most striking thing you learned while reporting this story?
How China plays such a big role in the lives of individuals around the world. We read a lot from corporations about how their bottom lines are being hit. We also have heard a lot from policymakers who are worried. But China is the economic center of gravity for so many smaller players, too.
One economist put it this way: We’ve never been here before. Not even in wartime has an economy completely ground to a halt the way China’s did. And the world has never been as integrated as it is today.
You interviewed a truck driver from Mongolia who may need a new job because the border with China closed in January. How did you find him?
The truck driver, Battogtokh Uurtsaikh, is someone I met in the Gobi Desert in October. I was reporting a story about how China’s demand for coal plays such a big role in the ordinary lives of Mongolians.
I met Mr. Battogtokh on this highway between Mongolia’s biggest coal deposit and Tsagaan Khad, a dusty border town with China. He was with four other young truck drivers who were working together to fix a flat tire and a broken hub on one of their trucks. They grew up together and now travel in a pack as truck drivers, each in his own truck with a walkie-talkie to communicate with one another.
Was he surprised to hear from you again?
Not really. But his circumstances have changed a lot since we found him on the side of a two-lane highway. At the time, he was hopeful that this gig would be a quick way to make good money and pay off his loans. But he hasn’t driven his truck for more than a month. Some of his friends, desperate for work, are still trucking coal to the border, but they can’t find any Chinese traders to buy the coal.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Super Tuesday.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Witty remark (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times received several nominations in the World Press Photo Awards, including Ivor Prickett for his work in Syria and Times videographers for their story on protests in Chile.