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Superspreader Sunday?

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Coronavirus circumstances within the U.S. have surged after nearly each main vacation of the previous yr, together with Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. This weekend brings one other main vacation, even when it’s not an official one: Tremendous Bowl Sunday. And there’s cause to fret that it’s going to flip into Superspreader Sunday.

Polls present {that a} vital variety of individuals plan to attend events. Two separate surveys — one by Seton Hall University and one by the National Retail Federation — discovered that almost 30 p.c of adults mentioned they’d attend a gathering at somebody’s house or watch the sport at a restaurant or a bar.

If something, this weekend could also be extra harmful than most holidays. Tremendous Bowl events are normally indoors and may contain extra households than a vacation meal. This yr’s sport can also be occurring when contagious new variants of the virus have begun to unfold.

There may be precedent for sporting occasions resulting in outbreaks. Well being officers in Los Angeles consider that gatherings to look at playoff video games final fall involving the Lakers (who received the N.B.A. title) and Dodgers (who received the World Collection) accelerated the virus’s surge in Southern California.

“Crowds of packed followers crammed into out of doors eating patios,” The Los Angeles Times explained last week, noting that gatherings typically included unmasked individuals “chanting, singing or shouting.” The identical story quotes Barbara Ferrer, the general public well being director of Los Angeles County: “Don’t arrange a celebration at house. Don’t go to a Tremendous Bowl social gathering.”

The subsequent a number of weeks really feel particularly vital. Circumstances have been falling sharply, and the tempo of vaccination — although nonetheless maddeningly slow — is picking up. Now we have reached a possible turning level, when Covid-19 deaths may begin declining and by no means once more attain their earlier highs.

However the variants current an enormous danger. Conduct that was low-risk just a few months in the past could not be. Conduct that was already dangerous, like attending an indoor social gathering, could also be much more so.

“We have to double down,” Dr. Rebecca Wurtz of the College of Minnesota College of Public Well being instructed me. “Right here’s our probability to show the nook, and we actually have to seize it.”

(My colleague Tara Parker-Pope has detailed advice about what’s protected.)

I’ve heard from many readers who need this article to proceed paying attention to vaccine news. So right here goes: There have been extra encouraging developments.

  • AstraZeneca and the College of Oxford released data exhibiting that not one of the 12,408 individuals who had obtained a vaccine shot died from Covid signs or have been hospitalized with them. That’s according to earlier outcomes for that vaccine, in addition to initial results for four other vaccines — from Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer.

  • Researchers discovered that the AstraZeneca vaccine also slows the transmission of the virus, underscoring the significance of mass vaccination as a path out of the pandemic.

  • A peer-reviewed examine revealed in The Lancet, a British medical journal, discovered that Russia’s vaccine, known as Sputnik V, additionally provided full safety in opposition to severe Covid diseases. Dr. Angela Rasmussen of Georgetown College known as it “nice information” and added, “We’d like extra vaccines globally.” (Associated: The New Yorker’s Joshua Yaffa and The Occasions’s Andrew Kramer, who’re each primarily based in Moscow, have written about why they received the Sputnik vaccine.)

  • An vital caveat: The vaccines’ safety doesn’t kick in instantly. It typically takes at the least a few weeks.

  • The British authorities mentioned {that a} variant of the virus first noticed there had the potential to make the vaccines much less efficient. However that’s much less alarming than it might sound. For now, the priority is hypothetical: No data shows the vaccines to be ineffective on the British variant. Even when they’re much less efficient, other evidence means that modest ranges of vaccine safety could nearly at all times be sufficient to downgrade Covid to an extraordinary flu.

  • “Recently, once I speak to reporters, they count on me to be very anxious about Covid variants. However I’m not,” Dr. Ellie Murray of the Boston College College of Public Well being wrote on Twitter. “Why? As a result of we all know what works to regulate Covid.” She is extra anxious about “the shortage of motion” to advertise social distancing, encourage masks carrying and speed up vaccination, she added.

  • The Senate voted along party lines on a procedural step that may let Democrats keep away from a filibuster on President Biden’s coronavirus aid bundle and go it with a straight majority.

  • Biden signed three executive orders on immigration, together with one which goals to reunite migrant households that the Trump administration separated. Officers and immigration advocates cautioned that the adjustments wouldn’t occur instantly.

  • The Biden administration introduced new efforts to speed up vaccinations, together with sending doses to retail pharmacies.

  • A Russian court docket sentenced Aleksei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s loudest critic, to more than two years in prison on politicized prices.

  • New York prosecutors are investigating Steve Bannon, weeks after Trump pardoned him. Bannon could face charges of defrauding donors to the border wall.

  • A shootout in South Florida killed two F.B.I. agents and injured three others. They have been investigating violent crimes in opposition to youngsters.

  • Jeff Bezos is stepping down as C.E.O. of Amazon and can develop into government chairman. Andy Jassy, who runs Amazon’s cloud computing division, will succeed him.

  • GameStop’s inventory worth is down 81 percent from its peak final week, rapidly wiping out many buyers’ wealth.

A Morning Hear: Tighter border enforcement has pushed migrants to the ocean in harmful makes an attempt to achieve California. Listen to the narrated Times Magazine account.

From Opinion: “To my very own astonishment, I’m rooting for Brady” within the Tremendous Bowl, Frank Bruni, a Occasions Opinion columnist, writes. Here’s why.

Lives Lived: Tom Moore, a British Military veteran nicknamed “Captain Tom,” turned a logo of willpower early within the pandemic when he raised $45 million for hospitals by strolling laps in his backyard. He died at 100, after having lately been hospitalized with Covid.

The Brooklyn Nets, who’ve lengthy struggled to flee the shadow of the close by Knicks, have put collectively a lineup so loaded with expertise that they resemble a musical supergroup — basketball’s reply to the Three Tenors, the Touring Wilburys or Them Crooked Vultures.

Final month, the Nets made a blockbuster trade to get James Harden, the N.B.A.’s prime scorer. He joined a workforce that already featured two stars in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The combo, the Occasions basketball author Marc Stein instructed us, is “essentially the most formidable assemblage of offensive expertise in N.B.A. historical past.”

Two years in the past, Harden averaged greater than 36 factors a sport; solely Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain have exceeded that. Durant has been the highest-scoring participant within the N.B.A. 4 instances — a quantity that, once more, solely Jordan and Chamberlain have topped. Irving is a six-time all-star who received a championship in Cleveland.

But their success is not guaranteed. In buying and selling for Harden, the Nets gave up quite a bit, together with a few of their finest defenders. “Protection and depth will matter ultimately,” Marc famous. “You may’t simply rating your strategy to a championship within the N.B.A.”

“However,” he added, “the Nets have by no means mattered extra in New York.”

The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was impalpable. As we speak’s puzzle is above — or you possibly can play online.

Right here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Mild inexperienced (4 letters).

Thanks for spending a part of your morning with The Occasions. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. A hidden haiku from The Occasions’s evaluate of a brand new Mike Nichols biography, on the e-book’s many celeb cameos: “Everyone who / was anyone is right here / steaming up the glass.”

You may see today’s print front page here.

As we speak’s episode of “The Daily” is a few mom who tracked down her daughter’s kidnappers. On “The Argument,” Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg speak about what they’ve discovered arguing with one another for the previous two years.

Lalena Fisher, Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You may attain the workforce at themorning@nytimes.com.

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