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New York Times

Monday Morning: Since George Floyd’s death

Email sent: Aug 3, 2020 6:30am
And what else you need to know today.

August 3, 2020

Good morning. Microsoft talked to President Trump about buying TikTok. Several countries are rushing their coronavirus vaccine efforts. Let’s start with a look at the growing adoption of police reforms.

What has changed since George Floyd

In Washington, the efforts to reform policing have stalled. Congress can’t agree on a bill and has largely stopped debating the issue.

But changes are happening in cities across the country.

In the more than two months since the killing of George Floyd, 31 of America’s 100 largest cities have enacted policies restricting officers’ use of chokeholds, according to an analysis by Campaign Zero, a group that advocates against police violence. In all, 62 of the 100 largest cities now have such policies in place, including New York and Minneapolis, where Floyd died after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Atlanta, San Diego and 67 other cities now require officers to intervene when a fellow officer uses excessive force, up from 51 before Floyd’s death. And five cities — including Denver and St. Louis — have adopted the suite of eight reforms that Campaign Zero advocates, up from two cities earlier this year.

By The New York Times | Source: Campaign Zero

Several outside studies have suggested that those eight policies are likely to be effective in reducing police violence — without increasing crime.

But police unions have generally opposed limiting the use of force, saying it inhibits officers’ ability to fight crime. And some progressive critics of Campaign Zero argue that these reforms have been tried before and put too much faith in officers to abide by new rules. A better approach, they say, is shrinking police budgets.

“If you don’t have the standards, you can’t enforce them,” said Samuel Sinyangwe, a data scientist and co-founder of Campaign Zero. “One of the key challenges moving forward will be, now that these standards have been raised, how are we making sure officers who violate them are held accountable?”

President Trump has also opposed most restrictions on policing. Joe Biden and many congressional Democrats favor a bill that would condition federal funding on localities’ banning chokeholds and strangleholds.

In other policing developments:

THREE MORE BIG STORIES

1. Cutting corners in the vaccine race

The White House’s ambitious initiative to speed production of a coronavirus vaccine, Operation Warp Speed, has provided billions of dollars in funding and cut through red tape. But it’s also endangering the system set up to ensure safe drugs, experts say. Some worry that the administration will push regulators to give emergency approval to a vaccine before the November election.

The U.S. isn’t the only country trying to hurry the process. Russia plans to begin a nationwide vaccination campaign in October, despite not yet completing clinical trials. And in India, one drugmaker said it would begin producing hundreds of millions of doses of a vaccine candidate that is still in clinical trials.

In other virus developments:

  • How do you contain the virus among an impulsive, young population that lives together? It’s a challenge that colleges are trying to figure out before students arrive in the coming weeks.
  • “It’s not safe. There’s no way it can be safe,” Jeff Gregorich, a superintendent in Arizona, told The Washington Post about reopening his schools in the fall. “If you think anything else, I’m sorry, but it’s a fantasy. Kids will get sick, or worse. Family members will die. Teachers will die.”
  • As the pandemic consumes global health resources, tuberculosis, H.I.V. and malaria are making a comeback. “The public health officials and advocates I spoke to are distraught over this,” Apoorva Mandavilli, a reporter on The Times’s Science desk, told us. “They’re watching as years, even decades, of progress are being washed away by this pandemic.”

2. Isaias moves toward Carolinas

A closed beach in Miami Beach on Saturday, before the storm arrived.Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich/EPA, via Shutterstock

Tropical Storm Isaias brushed Florida’s eastern edge yesterday, dousing the state with heavy rainfall but failing to deliver the devastating punch that officials had feared. It now appears to be headed toward the Carolinas, where it could bring flash floods, storm surges along the coast and possible tornadoes by tonight.

Much of the East Coast will get a soaking this week, forecasters say, as the storm moves north. New York and New England are expected to be hit Tuesday and Wednesday.

3. Microsoft confirms talks to buy TikTok

Microsoft is pressing forward on a possible deal to purchase the social media app TikTok, the company said last night. The effort took on a new urgency over the weekend after Trump threatened to ban the app, which is owned by a Chinese company.

The president’s plans appeared to change after he spoke with Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft.

On the app: The threat of a ban unleashed chaos this weekend, as influencers issued teary — and perhaps premature — goodbyes to their fans, The Times’s Taylor Lorenz reports.

Here’s what else is happening

The SpaceX capsule was lifted from the water after splashing down near Pensacola, Fla.NASA

IDEA OF THE DAY: MAKE INDOOR SPACES SAFER

In Friday’s newsletter, we listed innovative ways Times readers have moved meetings, ceremonies and other gatherings outdoors, where it’s harder for the coronavirus to spread.

But what about activities that can’t be moved outside? Mounting evidence suggests that small airborne particles called aerosols can linger in stagnant air for hours, helping transmit the virus indoors. Here are ways to make inside spaces safer:

  • Open windows and doors, advises Linsey Marr, who studies how viruses spread through the air. “Ventilation counts,” she wrote in a Times Op-Ed.
  • Run portable HEPA filters in restaurants, classrooms and indoor spaces where opening windows is impractical. These filters, which often retail for a few hundred dollars, can trap small virus particles, Zeynep Tufekci explains in The Atlantic.
  • Remember the basics. Even with other protective measures, the same general rules for staying safe apply indoors: practice social distancing, wear a mask, avoid crowds and face away from people when you talk, NPR’s Pien Huang has written.

PLAY, WATCH, EAT, READ

Make something fancy

Heami Lee for The New York Times

Smoked eggplant has been a staple of the chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s cooking for decades: spread on warm toast, spooned next to grilled meat, dipped into with other veggies. But lately she’s been trying something new, breading and freezing and frying the eggplant into golden croquettes. It’s laborious work, but the results are silky and delicious. Find the recipe here.

Read an ‘instant American classic’

In her latest book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” the journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson offers a searing study of how race in America functions as an immutable caste system, a “ranking of human value that sets the presumed supremacy of one group against the presumed inferiority of other groups.”

The book is an instant classic, the Times critic Dwight Garner writes in his review. “I told more than one person, as I moved through my days this past week, that I was reading one of the most powerful nonfiction books I’d ever encountered.”

A special talent in the sea

A female humpback anglerfish with a parasitic male attached to her belly.Edith A. Widder

Some anglerfish are terribly clingy boyfriends, physically fusing onto females up to 60 times their size. The mating ritual, called sexual parasitism, has long mystified scientists. Two genetically distinct animals sharing flesh would normally set off a major immune response, for the same reason transplanted organs in humans are often rejected by a recipient’s body.

But a new study says the fish have evolved to largely ditch a key part of their immune systems, a change that hasn’t yet been documented in any other species. Read more about the freaky fish here.

Diversions

Games

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: U.F.O. pilot (five letters).

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Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow.

P.S. David Leonhardt, this newsletter’s usual writer, is on break until Monday, Aug. 24.

Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about inequalities in the use of facial-recognition technology as a crime-solving tool. On the latest Book Review podcast, Barbara Demick discusses her new book about life and death in a Tibetan town.

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Lalena Fisher contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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