(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.
And now for the Back Story on …
What we’ve learned in six months
Much remains unknown and mysterious about the coronavirus, but these are some of the things we’re pretty sure of, after half a year of living with this pandemic. Our health and science teams shared their insights. Here are some of them:
1. We’ll have to live with this for a long time. The virus has shown no sign of going away. We will most likely be in this pandemic era for a year or more.
2. You should be wearing a mask. Researchers know that even simple masks can effectively stop droplets spewing from an infected wearer’s nose or mouth. There is also growing evidence that some kinds of masks protect you more than others, like N95 masks.
3. We can’t count on herd immunity to keep us healthy. The idea is simple: If enough of the population develops antibodies, the virus will hit many dead ends when it infects people. But that may not happen, even if a vaccine designed to help your body produce antibodies becomes available.
4. The virus produces more symptoms than expected. At first, doctors focused on the lungs, but in some patients, the virus propels the immune system into overdrive and damages other organs. A loss of the senses of taste and smell, along with gastrointestinal issues, have joined early symptom lists.
That’s it for this briefing. If you’re looking, here are some books to read in this moment. See you next time.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the systems that protect U.S. police officers.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: B, on the periodic table (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Nikole Hannah-Jones recently discussed how enduring racial inequalities explain the nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s killing on the CNN show “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”