Darkside alluded to disruptive action by an unspecified law enforcement agency, though it was not clear if that was the result of U.S. action or pressure from Russia ahead of Mr. Biden’s expected summit with President Vladimir V. Putin. And going quiet might simply have reflected a decision by the ransomware gang to frustrate retaliation efforts by shutting down its operations, perhaps temporarily.

The Pentagon’s Cyber Command referred questions to the National Security Council, which declined to comment.

The episode underscored the emergence of a new “blended threat,” one that may come from cybercriminals, but is often tolerated, and sometimes encouraged, by a nation that sees the attacks as serving its interests.That is why Mr. Biden singled out Russia — not as the culprit, but as the nation that harbors more ransomware groups than any other country.

“We do not believe the Russian government was involved in this attack, but we do have strong reason to believe the criminals who did this attack are living in Russia,” Mr. Biden said. “We have been in direct communication with Moscow about the imperative for responsible countries to take action against these ransomware networks.”

With Darkside’s systems down, it is unclear how Mr. Biden’s administration would retaliate further, beyond possible indictments and sanctions, which have not deterred Russian cybercriminals before. Striking back with a cyberattack also carries its own risks of escalation.

The administration also has to reckon with the fact that so much of America’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector and remains ripe for attack.

“This attack has exposed just how poor our resilience is,” said Kiersten E. Todt, the managing director of the nonprofit Cyber Readiness Institute. “We are overthinking the threat, when we’re still not doing the bare basics to secure our critical infrastructure.”

The good news, some officials said, was that Americans got a wake-up call. Congress came face-to-face with the reality that the federal government lacks the authority to require the companies that control more than 80 percent of the nation’s critical infrastructure adopt minimal levels of cybersecurity.

The bad news, they said, was that American adversaries — not only superpowers but terrorists and cybercriminals — learned just how little it takes to incite chaos across a large part of the country, even if they do not break into the core of the electric grid, or the operational control systems that move gasoline, water and propane around the country.

Something as basic as a well-designed ransomware attack may easily do the trick, while offering plausible deniability to states like Russia, China and Iran that often tap outsiders for sensitive cyberoperations.

It remains a mystery how Darkside first broke into Colonial’s business network. The privately held company has said virtually nothing about how the attack unfolded, at least in public. It waited four days before having any substantive discussions with the administration, an eternity during a cyberattack.

Cybersecurity experts also note that Colonial Pipeline would never have had to shut down its pipeline if it had more confidence in the separation between its business network and pipeline operations.

“There should absolutely be separation between data management and the actual operational technology,” Ms. Todt said. “Not doing the basics is frankly inexcusable for a company that carries 45 percent of gas to the East Coast.”

Other pipeline operators in the United States deploy advanced firewalls between their data and their operations that only allow data to flow one direction, out of the pipeline, and would prevent a ransomware attack from spreading in.

Colonial Pipeline has not said whether it deployed that level of security on its pipeline. Industry analysts say many critical infrastructure operators say installing such unidirectional gateways along a 5,500-mile pipeline can be complicated or prohibitively expensive. Others say the cost to deploy those safeguards are still cheaper than the losses from potential downtime.

Deterring ransomware criminals, which have been growing in number and brazenness over the past few years, will certainly be more difficult than deterring nations. But this week made the urgency clear.

“It’s all fun and games when we are stealing each other’s money,” said Sue Gordon, a former principal deputy director of national intelligence, and a longtime C.I.A. analyst with a specialty in cyberissues, said at a conference held by The Cipher Brief, an online intelligence newsletter. “When we are messing with a society’s ability to operate, we can’t tolerate it.”

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When the Bus No Longer Rolls Into Town

Given that Greyhound had already suspended operations for about a year because of the pandemic, its announcement on Thursday that it was permanently ending all of its remaining bus service in Canada was almost symbolic.

money being spent in Toronto on the subway. And yet when it comes to rural people, well, they’re just chopped liver. There is no subsidy for transportation.”

In parts of the country where Greyhound operated, its service was usually the most affordable form of travel. And for many rural communities it was frequently the only alternative to owning a car or finding a ride in one.

A 2012 inquiry into dozens of women who went missing on the Highway of Tears in British Columbia found that a lack of reliable public transportation led many of them into danger through hitchhiking. (A subsidized service was restored several years later.)

Professor Prentice added that buses didn’t just provide low-cost travel for people, their quick and economical parcel delivery service offered same-day shipping between many places and gave rural communities not served by courier companies a quick and reliable method to receive time-sensitive shipments such as parts for farm equipment.

The medical system was also a major user of bus parcel express. When shipping packages to family members at Christmas, I often managed to always show up at Ottawa’s bus terminal just after someone had dropped off a cooler covered in stickers indicating that it contained human eyeballs destined for corneal transplants.

government-owned Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation, saying that it could no longer afford its subsidies.

The provinces are now the only authority over bus lines, and some of them have completely deregulated their industries.

The result is an increasingly fragmented system in which Greyhound and others have been replaced by newcomers using smaller buses and nonunion drivers to find profits, although not always successfully. In some cases the newcomers have improved service, but many routes have gone unfilled.

Above all, it’s no longer possible to book a single ticket and enjoy, or perhaps endure, a bus ride across most of the country.

Coast to Coast Bus Coalition. The group is calling on the federal government to return to regulating buses and to work with bus lines to create a national system that would integrate with Via Rail.

Professor Prentice said that the end of Greyhound in Canada had elevated the importance of at least hearing out such a plan.

“It’s remarkable how little people care, or seem to care, about buses,” he said. “Rural areas need transport, but that doesn’t seem to be ever something that translates into votes and therefore doesn’t get a lot of attention.”


symbol of the sovereignty of Canada.” But beavers don’t immediately conjure up warm feelings among all Canadians.

Property owners struggle to keep their land from being flooded by the industrious creatures, and their dams sometimes lead to dangerous highway washouts. This week, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Saskatchewan found a pile of fence posts that had been reported as stolen incorporated into a beaver dam.

please email me directly and include your contact information and where you live. Please don’t labor over the note, I’ll be interviewing everyone who has a story that will fit with the article.


caught up with some of its artists. For one aerialist, Dan found that “the long pause had undermined his confidence, since he couldn’t rehearse his airborne routines. When he recently started retraining, he said, he discovered that he had lost his ‘muscle memory’ and felt afraid to be in the air.” Also be sure to check out this video presentation of the artists getting back to the unique line of work.

  • Four months after President Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, Canada is again at odds with the United States over another pipeline.

  • A prepandemic pregnancy means that Mandy Bujold, a top ranked boxer from Canada, may miss the Tokyo Olympics because of selection rule changes.

  • Tom Wilson, a Toronto native who plays for the Washington Capitals, is the talk of the N.H.L. for all the wrong reasons right now. Ben Shpigel reports that Wilson is the teammate that everyone wants and the opponent that everyone loves to hate. And Victor Mather has previewed the upcoming N.H.L. playoffs.

  • Jon Pareles writes that a new recording by the singer Allison Russell, a native of Montreal, delves into some dark places in her past and is “an album of strength and affirmation, not victimization.”


  • A native of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has reported about Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.


    How are we doing?
    We’re eager to have your thoughts about this newsletter and events in Canada in general. Please send them to nytcanada@nytimes.com.

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    Forward it to your friends, and let them know they can sign up here.

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    Covid Live Updates: Vaccinated Americans Can Go Maskless, C.D.C. Says

    drop mask-wearing in most situations. But the guidance came with caveats and confusion, and it sent state and local officials, as well as private companies, scrambling to decide whether and when to update their own rules.

    There was plenty of cause for celebration, too, for many Americans weary of restrictions and traumatized by more than a year of a pandemic that has killed more than 583,000 people in the United States and more than 3.3 million around the world.

    “We have all longed for this moment,” Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said as she announced the shift at a White House news conference on Thursday. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

    Fully vaccinated people are still told to cover their faces when flying or taking public transit, when visiting health care facilities, and in congregate settings like prisons and homeless shelters.

    The recommendations came as a surprise to many people in public health. They offered a stark contrast with the views of a large majority of epidemiologists surveyed in the last two weeks by The New York Times, who said that until many more Americans were vaccinated, there would be too many chances for vaccines, which are not 100 percent effective, to fail.

    “Unless the vaccination rates increase to 80 or 90 percent over the next few months, we should wear masks in large public indoor settings,” said Vivian Towe, a program officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, an independent nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.

    The new recommendations also caught state officials and businesses by surprise and raised a host of difficult questions about how the guidelines would be carried out. Some states lifted mask mandates immediately, while others took a more cautious approach.

    Most of the state officials who responded immediately to the shift were Democrats, and they used the moment to stress the need to get vaccinated to take advantage of greater freedom. Half of the country’s governors — most of them Republicans — had already lifted mask mandates in some form.

    On Thursday, the governors of New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia, and the mayors of New York City and Washington, D.C., all Democrats, said that they were taking the new guidance under advisement before adopting it. Los Angeles County also said that it and the State of California were reviewing the new guidelines. In deference to local authorities, the C.D.C. said vaccinated people must continue to abide by existing state, local or tribal laws and regulations, and to follow local rules for businesses and workplaces.

    After the new guidance was announced, at least seven states led by Democrats began to lift mask mandates: Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Others had yet to weigh in publicly.

    In Washington State, Gov. Jay Inslee, who usually wears a mask while speaking at his news conferences, began his gathering on Thursday by removing it. He said the state was immediately incorporating the new federal guidance.

    “This is a heck of a benefit for people who have been annoyed by this mask,” Mr. Inslee said. “This is a really good reason to get vaccinated. That shot is a ticket to freedom from masks.”

    Yet the C.D.C. guidance leaves a number of issues unaddressed. There was no specific language about masking in schools, for instance. And an even broader question remains unclear: Who knows who is justified in claiming the new freedoms?

    “I think the challenge is that it’s impossible to determine who is vaccinated and who is not vaccinated,” said Gov. David Ige of Hawaii, where a mask mandate will stay in place.

    About 64 percent of Americans are not fully vaccinated. And vaccination rates have been falling, although the campaign to inoculate 12- to 15-year-olds has just begun. Ohio has created a weekly state lottery that would give five people $1 million each in return for being vaccinated. People who receive a vaccine are issued a white paper card, but online scammers have sold forged versions of those.

    The guidance seemed to catch many retailers by surprise. Macy’s, Target and the Gap said they were still reviewing it, while Home Depot said it had no plans to change its rules requiring customers and workers to wear masks in its stores.

    The United Food and Commercial Workers union, representing thousands of grocery store workers, criticized the C.D.C. for failing to consider how the new policy would affect workers who have to deal with customers who are not vaccinated.

    Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon emphasized that the state would not be operating on an honor system. She said that the health department would soon provide guidance for businesses, employers and others “to allow the option of lifting mask and physical distancing requirements after verifying vaccination status.”

    Administering a coronavirus shot during a vaccination day for homeless people in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Thursday.
    Credit…Raul Martinez/EPA, via Shutterstock

    BUENOS AIRES — For most of the past year, Uruguay was held up as an example for keeping the coronavirus from spreading widely as neighboring countries grappled with soaring death tolls.

    Uruguay’s good fortune has run out. In the last week, the small South American nation’s Covid-19 death rate per capita was the highest in the world, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

    As of Wednesday, at least 3,252 people had died from Covid-19, according to the Uruguayan Health Ministry, and the daily death toll has been about 50 during the past week.

    Six out of the 11 countries with the highest death rates per capita are in South America, a region where the pandemic is leaving a brutal toll of growing joblessness, poverty and hunger. For the most part, countries in the region have failed to acquire sufficient vaccines to inoculate their populations quickly.

    Contagion rates in Uruguay began inching up in November and soared in recent months, apparently fueled by a highly contagious variant first identified in Brazil last year.

    “In Uruguay, it’s as if we had two pandemics, one until November 2020, when things were largely under control, and the other starting in November, with the arrival of the first wave to the country,” said José Luis Satdjian, the deputy secretary of the Health Ministry.

    The country with the second-highest death rate per capita is nearby Paraguay, which also had relative success in containing the virus for much of last year but now finds itself in a worsening crisis.

    Experts link the sharp rise in cases in Uruguay to the P.1 virus variant from Brazil.

    “We have a new player in the system and it’s the Brazilian variant, which has penetrated our country so aggressively,” Mr. Satdjian said.

    Uruguay closed its borders tightly at the beginning of the pandemic, but towns along the border with Brazil are effectively binational and have remained porous.

    The outbreak has strained hospitals in Uruguay, which has a population of 3.5 million.

    On March 1, Uruguay had 76 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units. This week, medical professionals were caring for more than 530, according to Dr. Julio Pontet, president of the Uruguayan Society of Intensive Care Medicine who heads the intensive care department at the Pasteur Hospital in Montevideo, the capital.

    That number is slightly lower than the peak in early May, but experts have yet to see a steady decline that could indicate a trend.

    “It is still too early to reach the conclusion that we’ve already started to improve, we’re in a high plateau of cases,” Dr. Pontet said.

    Despite the continuing high number of cases, there is optimism that the country will be able to get the situation under control soon because it is one of the few in the region that has been able to make quick progress on its vaccination campaign. About a quarter of the population has been fully immunized.

    “We expect the number of serious cases to begin decreasing at the end of May,” Dr. Pontet said.

    At a bookstore in San Francisco in March. Until the pandemic, there had seldom been a cultural push for mask wearing in the United States.
    Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

    Once Americans return to crowded offices, schools, buses and trains, so too will their sneezes and sniffles.

    Having been introduced to the idea of wearing masks to protect themselves and others, some Americans are now considering a behavior scarcely seen in the United States but long a fixture in other cultures: routinely wearing a mask when displaying symptoms of a common cold or the flu, even in a future in which Covid-19 isn’t a primary concern.

    Such routine use of masks has been common for decades in other countries, primarily in East Asia, as protection against allergies or pollution, or as a common courtesy to protect nearby people.

    Leading American health officials have been divided over the benefits, partly because there is no tidy scientific consensus on the effect of masks on influenza virus transmission, according to experts who have studied it.

    Nancy Leung, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong, said that the science exploring possible links between masking and the emission or transmission of influenza viruses was nuanced — and that the nuances were often lost on the general public.

    Changi Airport in Singapore this week. The airport outbreak began with an 88-year-old member of the airport cleaning crew who was fully vaccinated but who tested positive for the virus on May 5.
    Credit…Wallace Woon/EPA, via Shutterstock

    SINGAPORE — Singapore said on Friday that it would ban dining in restaurants and gatherings of more than two people to try to stem a rise in coronavirus cases, becoming the latest Asian nation to reintroduce restrictions after keeping the illness mostly in check for months.

    The new measures came after the city-state recorded 34 new cases on Thursday, a small number by global standards, but part of a rise in infections traced to vaccinated workers at Singapore Changi Airport.

    The airport outbreak began with an 88-year-old member of the airport cleaning crew who was fully vaccinated but who tested positive for the virus on May 5. Co-workers who then became infected later visited an airport food court, where they transmitted the virus to other customers, officials said.

    None of the cases linked to the airport outbreak are believed to have resulted in critical illness or death, according to officials.

    In all, 46 cases have been traced to the airport, the largest of about 10 clusters of new infections in the country.

    “Because we do not know how far the transmission has occurred into the community, we do have to take further, more stringent restrictions,” said Lawrence Wong, co-chair of Singapore’s coronavirus task force. The measures will be in effect for about one month beginning on Sunday.

    According to preliminary testing, many of those infected were working in a zone of the airport that received flights from high-risk countries, including from South Asia. Several have tested positive for the B.1.617 variant first detected in India, which the World Health Organization has said might be more contagious than most versions of the coronavirus.

    Singapore health officials said that of 28 airport workers who became infected, 19 were fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, the only two approved for use in Singapore.

    “Unfortunately, this mutant virus, very virulent, broke through the layers of defense,” Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung told a virtual news conference on Friday.

    Mr. Ong also said that the rise in cases “very likely” means that a long-delayed air travel bubble with Hong Kong would not begin as scheduled on May 26.

    Singapore, a prosperous island hub of 5.7 million people, saw an explosion of infections among migrant workers living in dormitories, but a two-month lockdown and extensive testing and contact tracing contained the outbreak. Although Singapore has kept much of its economy open, its vaccination effort has not moved as quickly as many expected: less than one-quarter of the population has been fully inoculated.

    Changi Airport, which served more than 68 million passengers in 2019, is operating at 3 percent of capacity as Singapore has paused nearly all incoming commercial traffic. Employees there work under strict controls, wearing protective gear and submitting to regular coronavirus tests.

    Singapore joins Japan, Thailand and other Asian countries that have struggled to contain new outbreaks fueled in part by variants. But Paul Ananth Tambyah, president of the Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection, said that the rise in cases was not overly worrying.

    “The reason for my optimism is that we now have effective vaccines, better diagnostics, proven treatments and even potential prophylactic agents,” he said. “If these are employed in a targeted approach, it is unlikely that we will end up with the same problems we had last year.”

    Workers moved oxygen cylinders for transport at a factory in New Delhi on Sunday. The city has now received enough oxygen to share its supply.
    Credit…Atul Loke for The New York Times

    After shortages in oxygen in New Delhi led to scores of people dying in hospitals, officials said there was now enough supply in the Indian capital to start sharing a surplus of the lifesaving gas to needier parts of the country.

    For weeks, the New Delhi government appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a larger share of India’s oxygen reserves, with the battle for air ending up in the nation’s highest court.

    On Thursday, just days after receiving the amount it had requested, New Delhi’s second-highest official, Manish Sisodia, said the city’s demand had fallen and its excess supply should be reallocated.

    “The number of cases is coming down, hospital bed occupancy is coming down, and demand for oxygen, too, is down,” Mr. Sisodia told The New York Times.

    It was an indication that the crisis in the capital might be reaching a peak.

    The oxygen shortage in New Delhi began in April and has been linked to dozens of deaths, in and out of hospitals.

    Health care facilities and crematories were overwhelmed, and medical professionals and residents were left scrambling for scarce resources.

    Thousands of people in the city of 20 million stood in line at oxygen refilling stations, bringing cylinders into hospitals for friends and family or hoarding them at home in case the need arose.

    The rise of new coronavirus infections in India has slowed. But, in pattern seen in nation after nation battered by the virus, death rates often plateau a few weeks later. And with the virus spreading in low-income rural areas, the overall crisis shows no sign of abating.

    As of Wednesday, the official death toll surpassed 258,000, although experts suspect the true number to be much higher.

    As the smoke from New Delhi crematories starts to clear, dozens of bodies have surfaced along the holy Ganges River in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

    Krishna Dutt Mishra, an ambulance driver in the Bihari village of Chausa, said that poor people were disposing of bodies in the river because the cost of cremations had become prohibitively expensive.

    On Friday, the Indian news media showed bodies wrapped in cloth of the saffron color, considered auspicious in Hinduism, buried in shallow graves on the sandy banks of the Ganges River in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh.

    Priyanka Gandhi, a leader of the opposition Indian National Congress party, called for a High Court investigation, saying that what was happening in Uttar Pradesh was “inhuman and criminal.”

    A woman from the Guatemalan Maya community in Lake Worth, Fla., at a Covid vaccine center last month.
    Credit…Saul Martinez for The New York Times

    Latino adults in the United States have the lowest rates of Covid-19 vaccination, but among the unvaccinated they are the demographic group most willing to receive the Covid shots as soon as possible, a new survey shows.

    The findings suggest that their depressed vaccination rate reflects in large measure misinformation about cost and access, as well as concerns about employment and immigration issues, according to the latest edition of the Kaiser Family Foundation Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor.

    Earlier polls had suggested that skepticism about the vaccine was widespread among Latinos, but the latest survey showed that hesitation is declining.

    Nearly 40 percent of all the unvaccinated Latinos responding to the survey said they feared they would need to produce government-issued identification to qualify. And about a third said they were afraid that getting the shot would jeopardize either their immigration status or that of a family member.

    Their responses also pointed to the importance of community-based access. Nearly half said they would be more likely to be vaccinated if the shots were available at sites where they normally go for health care.

    A protest in Utah last year. Some readers expressed hope that the rule change would prompt people to get vaccinated but others worried about “cheaters.”
    Credit…Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Throughout the pandemic, few topics have touched so raw a nerve in the United States as mask wearing. Confrontations have erupted from state capitols to supermarket checkout aisles, and debates raged over whether mask mandates violate First Amendment rights.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provoked a flood of reaction with its announcement on Thursday that Americans who are fully vaccinated may stop wearing masks or maintaining social distance in most indoor and outdoor settings. Here’s a sampling, edited for length and clarity, of how Times readers reacted to the news on Facebook and on our website:

    “I think this is a good incentive for the hesitators. Hopefully they’ll want to participate in activities (the ones that require proof of vaccination) maskless, so perhaps this will be an incentive, as they see others in the community enjoying life more.” writes Jerry B., on Facebook.

    “Very, very few people have been wearing masks for the past 6 months. Covid is a real risk — I certainly don’t want it — but our cases have dropped precipitously, even with minimal masking. This announcement is welcome — the world will not end if people stop masking,” writes Stephen from Oklahoma City.

    “I see the need for this policy change, but I fear that the cheaters — those who are not vaccinated but pretend to be — will be the ruin of us all,” writes Cary in Oregon.

    “I have my doubts about the incentivization bit,” writes Andrew from Colorado Springs, Colo. “I figure it will simply mean that suddenly everyone’s been fully vaccinated, true or not. That said, as a double-shotted person, I figure my chances of being taken out by an anti-vaxxer are now less than my chances of being taken out by a texting driver. I’m down with that.”

    “What’s to stop anti-masker/anti-vaxxer contrarians from mingling unmasked with the vaccinated population? I have little trust in this,” writes Mary Beth in Santa Fe, N.M.

    “I am fully vaccinated and caught Covid anyway. I do think it made my symptoms more mild, but you can bet your bippy I’m going to be wearing my mask when I am out of quarantine.” — writes Jaime P., on Facebook.

    What do you think about the guidance? Join the conversation.

    Kevin Hayes contributed research.

    Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida on Sunday.
    Credit…Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

    Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said on Wednesday that he would pardon “any Floridian” who violated mask or social distancing mandates.

    Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, made the announcement during an appearance on the Fox News program “Ingraham Angle,” just a day before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shifted its guidelines to allow vaccinated people to skip wearing masks in most places.

    The show’s host, Laura Ingraham, first interviewed Mike and Jillian Carnevale, the owners of a Broward County gym, who said they had been arrested for violating a county mask mandate. Mr. DeSantis then said their case was “a total overreach.”

    Widely seen as positioning himself as a 2024 Republican presidential nominee, Mr. DeSantis throughout the pandemic has criticized coronavirus restrictions and mandates.

    Mr. Carnevale said he and Ms. Carnevale were arrested three times after violating Broward County’s mask mandate. Mr. Carnevale was charged with two second-degree misdemeanors and if convicted would face a 120-day jail sentence, and Ms. Carnevale was charged with one second-degree misdemeanor, facing 60 days in jail, said Cory Strolla, a lawyer representing the couple.

    Last month, Mr. DeSantis issued an executive order prohibiting businesses from requiring patrons or customers to show vaccination documentation, or risk losing grants or contracts funded by the state. Norwegian Cruise Line, which is requiring all guests and crew members to be vaccinated, said it was considering skipping Florida ports over the order.

    A coronavirus contact tracer and case investigator working at a community testing site in Davis, Calif.
    Credit…Max Whittaker for The New York Times

    The Biden administration on Thursday outlined how it will spend $7 billion to expand the nation’s public health workforce, adding tens of thousands of jobs to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and future outbreaks, including disease investigators, contact tracers and epidemiologists.

    Over $4 billion will go to state and local health departments to help with their Covid-19 response, the White House said in a news release, allowing them to “quickly add staff.” Hiring would include vaccine and test administrators, data scientists, epidemiologists and school nurses who can work to vaccinate teens and children in the coming months. Some of the hiring will boost the ranks at the Epidemic Intelligence Service, the vaunted arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that investigates disease outbreaks.

    “Though many threats have increased in complexity and scale in recent years, our nation’s public health workforce has gotten smaller,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the C.D.C. director, said at a White House news conference Thursday. “This support will immediately add more staff in health departments across the country.”

    C.D.C. leaders have long complained of neglect and underfunding, saying that lawmakers typically only send more resources to the agency when there is a dire public health emergency. Other federal health agencies, particularly the National Institutes of Health, are significantly better funded. Many local health departments have also been short on funding for years.

    State and local governments would be able to decide how they use the money, which was allocated through the American Rescue Plan, said Carole Johnson, the Biden administration’s testing coordinator.

    The funding underscored a sharp contrast with the Trump administration, which routinely sought to cut off congressional funding for the C.D.C. and stifle its independence within the Department of Health and Human Services.

    And it offered relief for local health departments that have been sapped by low morale, firings and harassment. One challenge, though, might be finding enough qualified people to fill new job openings.

    Ms. Johnson said money could also go to increasing the number of “disease intervention specialists,” or health workers who would conduct contact tracing, work on case management and help with outbreak investigations. And $400 million would go to a new partnership between the C.D.C. and AmeriCorps, a sprawling national service organization. Called Public Health AmeriCorps, the program would form a “pipeline” for public health workers.

    The administration was providing another $3 billion to a new C.D.C. grant program to help smaller local health departments keep staff. The grants would allow those hired to help with the coronavirus pandemic to “continue their careers beyond the pandemic as public health professionals,” the White House said.

    “We really are asking grantees to prioritize recruiting from communities they serve and backgrounds that are underrepresented,” Ms. Johnson said.

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    Live Updates: Israel Deploys Ground Troops to Shell Gaza

    the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Hamas then began firing into Israel with the increasingly potent rockets it has built with the aid of Iran, and Israel responded with air attacks on Hamas and other militant targets in Gaza.

    The Biden administration has called for peaceful resolution, while insisting that the rocket attacks on Israel must stop and refraining from any public criticism of Israel.

    But the two entrenched sides did not appear ready to cede ground.

    “The Americans are talking to me, the Egyptians are talking to me,” Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, said during a video meeting with local council heads, “but I remain focused on the reason we went out on this campaign: to make Hamas and Islamic Jihad pay a price.”

    Credit…Dan Balilty for The New York Times

    The most surprising turn has been the violence between Jews and Arabs who have lived side by side in Israeli cities, with reports of gangs of people from one group pummeling members of another. Riots, stone throwing and protests continued overnight.

    By Friday morning, the Israeli authorities reported that eight Israelis, including one soldier, had been killed. Palestinian health officials reported the death toll in Gaza at 119.

    The crisis has come at a time when Israel’s political leaders are struggling to form a government after four inconclusive elections in two years. Mr. Netanyahu’s attempt to build a majority coalition in the Israeli Parliament failed, and his rival, Yair Lapid, had been invited to try to form a government.

    A building in Gaza City on Thursday that was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike.
    Credit…Hosam Salem for The New York Times

    GAZA CITY — The taxi was loaded with everything the family would need for Eid al-Fitr, a holiday of feasts and cookies and new clothes that Israeli airstrikes on Gaza had, even before the assault by ground forces on Friday, transfigured into a time of explosions and fear.

    In their four suitcases, the al-Hatu family — mother, father, son and daughter — had made sure to pack kaak filled with date paste, the biscuits traditionally shared among friends and family during Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

    But they also brought enough clothing and food for several days — no one knew when it might be safe to go back home. Until then, to try to escape the airstrikes, they were going to stay with another daughter, on Al Mughrabi Street, a five-minute drive away.

    They had all agreed: It would feel safer if they were all together, said the son, Mohammed al-Hatu, 28.

    They were still unloading the taxi driver’s white Skoda sedan outside their temporary home shortly before noon on Wednesday when the first drone attacked.

    Mr. al-Hatu’s sister had already lugged one suitcase inside. Mr. al-Hatu, who had been carrying another, staggered into the doorway of the building, bleeding, and collapsed.

    Out on the street, their father, Said al-Hatu, 65, and the taxi driver lay dead. A few yards away, their mother, Maysoun al-Hatu, 58, was alive, but desperately wounded.

    “Save me,” she begged Yousef al-Draimly, a neighbor who had rushed downstairs, he recounted. “I need an ambulance. Save me.”

    An ambulance came, but Ms. al-Hatu did not make it.

    Less than a minute after the first strike, a second drone strike ruptured the street, killing two more men: a worker at a laundry on the block and a passer-by. Another man, a barber whose shop was next to the laundry, was so badly wounded that his leg had to be amputated.

    On Thursday, the first day of Eid al-Fitr, and the fourth day of the worst conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in years, Gaza City was silent with fear, except when it was loud with terror: the sudden smash of Israeli airstrikes, the whoosh of militants’ rockets arcing toward Israel, the shouts of people checking on one another, the last moans of the dying

    Jordanian protesters gathered near the Israeli embassy in Amman, the capital, this week.
    Credit…Khalil Mazraawi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    AMMAN, Jordan — Thousands of protesters in Jordan, Israel’s western neighbor, marched toward the border on Friday morning, chanting slogans in solidarity with the Palestinians and waving Palestinian flags as Jordanian riot police guards surrounded them.

    “We are here. Either we go down, or they will have to carry us back,” they chanted, videos posted to social media showed. “To Palestine, to Palestine. We are going to Palestine. We are going in millions as martyrs to Palestine.”

    Arriving in buses and cars, the protesters called on Jordan’s government to open the border, where it has stepped up security in recent days amid the growing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Before the protesters could reach the demarcation line, however, the riot police blocked their path, social media videos and photos at the scene showed.

    Jordanians have been protesting near the Israeli Embassy in Amman for several days, some of the largest expressions of solidarity for the Palestinians in a region that has otherwise reacted mildly if at all to the outbreak of violence. Protesters have called on the government to expel the Israeli ambassador.

    Jordan’s 1994 treaty normalizing relations with Israel produced a chilly-at-best peace between the two countries, and the latest conflict has strained it further. This week, Jordan summoned the Israeli chargé d’affaires in Amman to condemn Israeli “attacks on worshipers” around the Aqsa Mosque compound in the walled Old City of Jerusalem, which played a major role in setting off the current conflict.

    The conflict is taking a growing toll as Israeli military strikes, Palestinian rocket attacks and street violence continue.

    Israeli soldiers near the border between Israel and Gaza on Friday.
    Credit…Amir Cohen/Reuters

    As United States and Egyptian mediators headed to Israel to begin de-escalation talks, the antagonists were weighing delicate internal considerations before agreeing to discussions on ending the violence.

    But even before the mediators got to work, Israel’s caretaker prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appeared to have calculated that brute force was required first.

    Early Friday, Israeli ground troops shelled Gaza — a potentially major move of escalation against the Hamas militants who have been launching hundreds of rockets at Israel.

    For the Palestinians, the indefinite postponement of elections last month by the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, created a vacuum that Hamas is more than willing to fill. Hamas argues that it is the only Palestinian faction that, with its large stockpile of improved missiles, is defending the holy places of Jerusalem, turning Mr. Abbas into a spectator.

    President Biden has spoken to Mr. Netanyahu and repeated the usual formula about Israel’s right to self-defense. The American leader also dispatched an experienced diplomat, the deputy assistant secretary of state Hady Amr, to urge de-escalation on both sides.

    The Biden administration has resisted calls at the United Nations Security Council for an immediate discussion of the crisis, arguing that Mr. Amr and other diplomats need at least a few days to work toward a possible solution.

    A proposal to convene an urgent meeting on Friday by the 15-member council was effectively blocked by the United States, diplomats said. Criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians is widespread among members of the United Nations, and the United States has often stood alone in defending Israel, its key Middle East ally.

    In Washington, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, when asked about American objections to a Security Council meeting, told reporters on Thursday that “we are open to and supportive of a discussion, an open discussion, at the United Nations,” but wanted to wait until early next week.

    “This, I hope, will give some time for the diplomacy to have some effect and to see if indeed we get a real de-escalation,” Mr. Blinken said.

    Rockets launched toward Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday.
    Credit…Anas Baba/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Palestinian militants have fired some 1,800 rockets from Gaza at Israel this week, far more than in previous clashes, according to Israeli officials, who on Thursday expressed surprise at the size of the barrage and the range of some of the rockets.

    Israel’s “Iron Dome” antimissile system has shot down many of the rockets, and many others have struck places where they could do little damage. But some of the rockets, which are unguided, have hit populated areas, blowing up buildings and cars and killing seven people in Israel.

    The increasingly sophisticated arsenal of rockets is the primary weapon of Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. Other groups there, like Islamic Jihad, also have them. Israeli intelligence estimates there are 30,000 rockets and mortar projectiles stockpiled in Gaza.

    Hamas was believed before this week to have rockets with ranges approaching 100 miles, and many more with shorter ranges. Israel’s largest cities, Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, as well as its primary airport, Ben Gurion airport, are within 40 miles of Gaza. The airport has been closed to incoming passenger flights because of the danger, with flights diverted to Ramon airport to the southeast.

    But rockets have also been fired at Ramon, more than 110 miles from the nearest part of Gaza. A Hamas spokesman said the rockets aimed at that airport were a new type that could travel 155 miles, putting all of Israel within range of Gaza. The claim could not be verified, and it was not clear how many of the new rockets the group had.

    In the past, many of the rockets fired from Gaza were smuggled in from Egypt, or assembled locally from smuggled parts. But in recent years, most have been made in Gaza, with technical assistance from Iran that Hamas has openly acknowledged.

    A tunnel in 2018 that Israel said was dug by the Islamic Jihad group at the Israel-Gaza border.
    Credit…Uriel Sinai for The New York Times

    As the Israel Defense Forces strike Gaza with jets and drones, a key target has been a network of tunnels underneath the Palestinian-controlled territory that the militant Islamic group Hamas is known to use for deploying militants and smuggling weapons.

    A spokesman for the Israeli military described the complex network as a “city beneath a city.”

    The tunnels were also the main rationale that Israel gave for its ground invasion of Gaza during its 2014 battle with Hamas. Israel’s leaders said afterward that they had destroyed 32 tunnels during the 2014 operation, including 14 that penetrated into Israeli territory.

    At the time of that fighting, the Israel Defense Forces took reporters into a 6-foot-by-2-foot tunnel running almost two miles under the border to show the threat posed by the tunnels, and the difficulty that Israel has in finding and destroying them.

    Here is an excerpt from what they reported:

    Tunnels from Gaza to Israel have had a powerful hold on the Israeli psyche since 2006, when Hamas militants used one to capture an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who was held for five years before being released in a prisoner exchange.

    The tunnels can be quite elaborate. The tunnel toured by journalists was reinforced with concrete and had a rack on the wall for electrical wiring. It also featured a metal track along the floor, used by carts that removed dirt during the tunnel’s construction, that could be used to ferry equipment and weapons, the Israeli military said.

    Israeli officials acknowledge that it is a difficult technological and operational challenge to destroy all of the subterranean passageways and neutralize the threat they pose. The tunnels are well hidden, said the officer who conducted the tour, and some tunnels are booby-trapped.

    A damaged building in Petah Tikva, Israel, that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip.
    Credit…Dan Balilty for The New York Times

    There is no simple answer to the question “What set off the current violence in Israel?”

    But in an episode of The Daily this week, Isabel Kershner, The New York Times’s Jerusalem correspondent, explained the series of recent events that reignited violence in the region.

    In Jerusalem, nearly every square foot of land is contested — its ownership and tenancy symbolic of larger abiding questions about who has rightful claim to a city considered holy by three major world religions.

    As Isabel explained, a longstanding legal battle over attempts to forcibly evict six Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem heightened tensions in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of violence.

    The always tenuous peace was further tested by the overlap of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with a month of politically charged days in Israel.

    A series of provocative events followed: Israeli forces barred people from gathering to celebrate Ramadan outside Damascus Gate, an Old City entrance that is usually a festive meeting place for young people after the breaking of the daily fast during the holy month.

    Then young Palestinians filmed themselves slapping an ultra-Orthodox Jew on a light rail, videos that went viral on TikTok.

    And on Jerusalem Day, an annual event marking the capture of East Jerusalem during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, groups of young Israelis marched through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter to reach the Western Wall, chanting, “Death to Arabs,” along the way.

    Stability in the city collapsed after a police raid on the Aqsa Mosque complex, an overture that Palestinians saw as an invasion on holy territory. Muslim worshipers threw rocks, and officers met them with tear gas, rubber tipped bullets and stun grenades. At least 21 police officers and more than 330 Palestinians were wounded in that fighting.

    Listen to the episode to hear how these clashes spiraled into an exchange of airstrikes that has brought Israeli forces to the edge of Gaza — and the brink of war.

    The Daily Poster

    Listen to ‘The Daily’: The Israeli-Palestinian Crisis, Reignited

    Rockets, airstrikes and mob violence: Why is this happening now, and how much worse could it get?

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    Protesters in Jordan march to the Israeli border in support of Palestinians.

    AMMAN, Jordan — Thousands of protesters in Jordan, Israel’s western neighbor, marched toward the border on Friday morning, chanting slogans in solidarity with the Palestinians and waving Palestinian flags as Jordanian riot police guards surrounded them.

    “We are here. Either we go down, or they will have to carry us back,” they chanted, videos posted to social media showed. “To Palestine, to Palestine. We are going to Palestine. We are going in millions as martyrs to Palestine.”

    Arriving in buses and cars, the protesters called on Jordan’s government to open the border, where it has stepped up security in recent days amid the growing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Before the protesters could reach the demarcation line, however, the riot police blocked their path, social media videos and photos at the scene showed.

    Jordanians have been protesting near the Israeli Embassy in Amman for several days, some of the largest expressions of solidarity for the Palestinians in a region that has otherwise reacted mildly if at all to the outbreak of violence. Protesters have called on the government to expel the Israeli ambassador.

    Jordan’s 1994 treaty normalizing relations with Israel produced a chilly-at-best peace between the two countries, and the latest conflict has strained it further. This week, Jordan summoned the Israeli chargé d’affaires in Amman to condemn Israeli “attacks on worshipers” around the Aqsa Mosque compound in the walled Old City of Jerusalem, which played a major role in setting off the current conflict.

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    After the Pandemic, Will More People Wear Masks for Colds and Flu?

    Once Americans return to crowded offices, schools, buses and trains, so too will their sneezes and sniffles.

    Having been introduced to the idea of wearing masks to protect themselves and others, some Americans are now considering a behavior scarcely seen in the United States but long a fixture in other cultures: routinely wearing a mask when displaying symptoms of a common cold or the flu, even in a future in which Covid-19 isn’t a primary concern.

    “I will still feel a responsibility to protect others from my illness when I have a cold or bronchitis or something along those lines,” said Gwydion Suilebhan, a writer and arts administrator in Washington who said he also plans to continue wearing masks in situations like flying on airplanes. “It’s a responsible part of being a human in a civil society to care for the people around you.”

    Such routine use of masks has been common for decades in other countries, primarily in East Asia, as protection against allergies or pollution, or as a common courtesy to protect nearby people.

    Meet the Press.”

    Other leading American health officials, however, have not encouraged the behavior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which at the beginning of the pandemic advised against wearing masks, and only changed its guidance a couple of months later — does not advise people with flu symptoms to wear masks, and says they “may not effectively limit transmission in the community.”

    That’s partly because there’s no tidy scientific consensus on the effect of masks on influenza virus transmission, according to experts who have studied it.

    Nancy Leung, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong, said that the science exploring possible links between masking and the emission or transmission of influenza viruses was nuanced — and that the nuances were often lost on the general public.

    randomized controlled trials — the gold standard in scientific research — that masking reduced transmission of influenza viruses in a community.

    There was some evidence from observational studies that masks reduced community transmission of influenza viruses, she added, but that research had a caveat: Observational studies cannot isolate masking from other possible factors, such as hand hygiene or social distancing.

    “You can’t really decipher whether that observed reduction in transmission is due to face masks alone or not,” Dr. Leung said.

    For similar reasons, the fact that the flu all but vanished in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic — and that many Americans anecdotally reported that they caught fewer colds than usual in 2020 — is not evidence alone that masks were responsible.

    In East Asia, the historical use of masks is based on more than just medical research, and the steps that led each country to adopt them vary widely.

    Please sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.)

    Others pointed to institutional differences, including a history of anti-masking laws in the United States that were implemented during periods of social unrest in order to discourage violence.

    New York State, for example, passed an anti-masking law in 1845 to prevent tenants from demanding land reform, according to research by Sharrona Pearl, a professor of medical ethics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. And from the 1920s to 1950s, several states passed similar laws in response to violence by the Ku Klux Klan.

    Several East Asian scholars said in interviews that the region’s mask-wearing customs varied widely because people in each country had responded over the years to different epidemiological or environmental threats.

    Jaehwan Hyun, a professor of history of Pusan National University in South Korea, said that ignoring the nuances could be dangerous.

    seasonal dust storms that sweep into the country from Mongolia and northern China.

    “Generally speaking, Koreans until recently believed that mask wearing was a sort of ‘Japanese practice,’ not ours,” he said.

    In Hong Kong, where 299 people died during the SARS epidemic of 2002-3, the experience of universal masking against that coronavirus helped create a “cultural familiarity” with a practice that was also common during episodes of severe air pollution, Mr. De Kai said.

    “It was a big reminder to people that masks are important not only to protect yourself from the pollution but also to avoid infecting those around you,” he said.

    In Taiwan, SARS and recent air pollution were the two main factors that prompted people there to develop the habit of mask wearing, said Yeh Ming-Jui, a professor of public health at National Taiwan University in Taipei.

    Professor Yeh said he believed mask wearing was not more widespread in the West because people there had no immediate memories of a severe pandemic — at least until now.

    “The experience and health practices of past generations have been gradually forgotten,” he said.

    Amy Chang Chien contributed reporting from Taipei.

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    For West End’s Return, Cleansing Spirits and an Aching for Change

    LONDON — At 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Maureen Lyon will be murdered at St. Martin’s Theater in London, her screams piercing the air.

    Her death is a moment many in London’s theater industry will welcome for one simple reason: It’s the opening of “The Mousetrap,” Agatha Christie’s long-running whodunit, and it will signal that the West End is finally back.

    For the last 427 days, the coronavirus pandemic has effectively shut London’s theaters. Some tried to reopen in the fall, only for England to plunge into a new lockdown before they even got to rehearsals.

    They tried again in December, and several musicals, including “Six,” about the wives of Henry VIII, reopened to ecstatic audiences. But just days later, the shows were forced closed once more.

    said theaters can reopen with social distancing on Monday and without it on June 21, provided coronavirus cases stay low, thanks to the country’s rapid vaccination drive. Vaccine passports might be required by then — a measure many major theater owners back.

    A host of shows are scheduled to reopen this month, with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new “Cinderella” musical coming June 25 and a deluge of others soon after. “Hamilton” reopens in August. What happens to these shows will likely be a bellwether for Broadway’s reopening in September.

    But what’s it actually like for the theatermakers who are starting work again after 15 months? Has the pandemic shaped the way they think about theater? We visited four to find out.

    “Work that engages with who we are now.”

    palo santo — a wood shamans use to cleanse evil spirits — and burned it in front of his cast. He’d only performed a ritual like that once before, he said, as he’d been afraid of “feeling like an idiot.”

    But the actors also wanted to mark the occasion. “Every day now they’re saying, ‘Can we burn some more?’” Rickson said.

    One of Britain’s most in-demand directors, Rickson’s Broadway triumphs include “Jerusalem” and the 2008 revival of “The Seagull.” (“The finest and most fully involving production of Chekhov that I have ever known,” wrote Ben Brantley in The New York Times.)

    The night the shutdown hit, he was in a dress rehearsal for the play “All of Us” at the National Theater, while his revival of “Uncle Vanya” was attracting sellout crowds in the West End. Suddenly, he was without work or a sense of purpose. During lockdown last spring, he walked round the West End and cried while looking at all the shut theaters.

    He kept himself busy by filming “Uncle Vanya,” but said he spent most of the time reflecting on what he wanted theater to be when it returned. His answer: “New work, work that engages with who we are now, courageous work.”

    “Walden,” by the largely unknown American playwright Amy Berryman, is the first example of that. He came across the play — about two sisters with contrasting views on how humanity should deal with climate change — last summer, while searching for scripts with the producer Sonia Friedman.

    “It’s kind of dazzling in its imaginative scope,” Rickson said. “It’s like a play by a writer who’s written 20 plays, not a debut.”

    Britain’s vaccine rollout was “fast by any measure,” she said. “Of course, “if we weren’t selling any tickets, I wouldn’t feel so jolly.”

    Burns, the chief executive of Nimax Theaters, is one of the unsung heroes of the West End’s comeback. Over the past year, many figures in Britain’s theaterland have grabbed headlines for trying to support workers during the pandemic.

    Lloyd Webber continually harangued the British government to let theaters reopen, even hosting a government-sanctioned experiment in July to prove it could happen safely. The “Fleabag” star Phoebe Waller-Bridge set up a fund to support freelance theatermakers, as did the director Sam Mendes.

    But Burns did something else: She tried, repeatedly, to open her six theaters with social distancing and mask mandates.

    In October, she managed to open the Apollo for 14 performances by Adam Kay, a comedian and former doctor, before England went into a second lockdown. In December, she opened several more for just over a weekend, before England went into lockdown again.

    said when naming her its producer of the year. “In the face of overwhelming odds this year, she has consistently tried to make it happen, when some other established commercial producers didn’t.”

    Now, she’s planning to open them all once more. “Six,” the musical about the wives of Henry VIII, will play at the Lyric. “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” a musical about a boy dreaming of being a drag queen, will be right next door at the Apollo.

    announced a Rising Stars festival, letting 23 young producers host shows in her venues this summer. The shows include “Cruise,” a one-man tale of gay life in London, as well as an evening of magic acts.

    be built down the road from the Palace.

    It doesn’t have a name yet, she said. How about the Burns Theater? “No, no, no, no, no,” she replied. She’s naming a bar inside after herself. “That’s enough,” she said.

    “I’ve learned that I don’t need to change to please anyone”

    a hit musical about a gay teenager who dreams of becoming a drag queen.

    His dressing room was adorned with art from fans, and months after dropping out of drama school to take the role, he had become used to seeing his face plastered on London’s buses. Then the pandemic forced his theater shut, and he found himself at home with his mum, dad and sister.

    tweeted a picture of a full airplane, alongside one of an empty theater. “It just made me think, ‘Why’s that one OK, and the other isn’t?’” he said. “Every other industry was talking about getting back to work, and we were all sitting at home.”

    During lockdown, he read a host of scripts and learned to cook pasta dishes and curries (“I’m going to be the meal-prep queen when we go back”). And he spent a lot of time reflecting on who he wanted to be as an actor.

    “I see the world through a different gaze now,” he said. “I’ve learned that I don’t need to change to please anyone.”

    Thomas said he thought that attitude would help when the musical returns May 20. Jamie “is so unapologetically himself, and he’s calling for the world to adapt to him and his fabulousness and his queerness,” Thomas said. “He’s not changing.”

    The show, which has a cast of 26 and a nine-person band, is the largest to reopen next month, thanks to a government grant. Thomas said he knows what to expect in terms of coronavirus precautions, as his show was one of the few to briefly reopen in December.

    “It was weird,” he said, “but the rules and the mitigations and masks are such a small sacrifice in order to be able to do our jobs.”

    The Mousetrap,” was trying to do a costume fitting for the actor Sarah Moss — without touching her.

    It started well. Inside a cramped room at the St. Martin’s Theater, Hudson-Holt handed Moss a heavy black wool coat, then stood back to admire the fit. But within seconds, she had leapt forward, grabbed the rumpled collar and adjusted it.

    “Sorry!” she said, realizing she’d broken the rules. “It’s just instinct.”

    “The Mousetrap,” which has been running in the West End since 1952 is scheduled to reopen on May 17, the first play here to do so.

    “We’ve been going so long,” Hudson-Holt said. “If we can survive this, others can,” she added.

    Hudson-Holt, who’s been with the show for almost 20 years, had spent most of the past year at home. “We were lucky, as the very good management kept us furloughed,” she said, meaning the government paid a chunk of her salary. “But for a lot of freelancers — costume makers, propmakers, actors — it’s been just devastating.”

    To lessen coronavirus risks, two casts will now alternate in the eight roles. The show’s website makes that move sound like a canny piece of marketing, encouraging audiences to see both sets of actors. In reality, it’s in case illness strikes; if one cast has to isolate, the other can step in.

    all its stores have closed.

    Her daily routine changed in other ways. Rather than taking measurements in person, she called the actors, politely inquiring if they’d gained weight or muscle in lockdown and would be needing a bigger size.

    “I was having to ask people, ‘Oh, have you been doing any sport lately? Or maybe some baking?’” she said.

    Despite the no-touching rule, the fittings went according to plan. Hudson-Holt had found a hat for Moss, new to the role of Miss Casewell, one of many potential murderers stuck in an English guesthouse after a snowstorm.

    Only a lime green silk scarf caused problems. Hudson-Holt tried showing Moss how to fold, then tie it, but Moss was flummoxed. “Can you slow down a bit and show me again?” she said.

    “Today’s a fun test for everyone,” Hudson-Holt said.

    Once the fitting was over, Hudson-Holt put Moss’s outfit aside. It would be steamed later to kill any potential viruses. “I know it seems hyper vigilant,” she said, “but who wants to be the one that mucks this up?”

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    Colombia, Strained by Pandemic and Economic Hardship, Explodes in Protest

    BOGOTÁ, Colombia — A teenager shot to death after kicking a police officer. A young man bleeding out on the street as protesters shout for help. Police firing on unarmed demonstrators. Helicopters swarming overhead, tanks rolling through neighborhoods, explosions echoing in the streets. A mother crying for her son.

    “We are destroyed,” said Milena Meneses, 39, whose only son Santiago, 19, was killed in a protest over the weekend.

    Colombians demonstrating over the past week against the poverty and inequality that have worsened the lives of millions since the Covid-19 pandemic began have been met with a powerful crackdown by their government, which has responded to the protests with the same militarized police force it often uses against rebel fighters and organized crime.

    This explosion of frustration in Colombia, experts say, could presage unrest across Latin America, where several countries face the same combustible mix of an unrelenting pandemic, growing hardship and plummeting government revenue.

    Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua and elsewhere.

    Each country’s protest was different. But in all of them, people voiced their grievances over limited opportunity, widespread corruption and officials who appeared to be working against them.

    Then came the pandemic. Latin America was one of the regions hardest hit by the virus in 2020, with cemeteries filling past capacity, the sick dying while waiting for care in hospital hallways, and family members spending the night in lines to buy medical oxygen in an attempt to keep loved ones alive.

    The region’s economies shrank by an average of 7 percent. In many places, unemployment, particularly among the young, spiked.

    significant popularity since the beginning of the pandemic, according to polling from the firm Invamer. And analysts say he is at his weakest point since he came to office in 2018.

    The police and military response has made a national conversation built around compromise extremely difficult, said Sandra Borda, a political analyst and columnist for the newspaper El Tiempo.

    a video, a witness can be heard shouting.

    “Is he OK?” the witness says. “Can he breathe? Breathe! Breathe! Breathe!”

    A passing deliveryman loaded Mr. Murillo onto his motorbike and rushed him to a clinic. There, his mother’s anguished cries were captured on tape. “Son, take me with you! Son, I want to be with you!”

    Doctors could not revive him, and residents of Ibagué held a protest vigil in his name the next day.

    “I asked them to protest civilly,” said his mother, “in peace.”

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    In Colombia, 19 Are Killed in Pandemic-Related Protests

    BOGOTÁ, Colombia — The dead include a ninth grader who went out to protest with his brother; an artist shot in the head as cameras rolled; and a teenager whose mother’s anguished cries of grief — “son, I want to be with you!” — have been shared thousands of times online.

    At least 19 people were killed and hundreds more injured during days of protests across Colombia, in which tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to demonstrate against a tax overhaul meant to fill a pandemic-related fiscal hole.

    On Sunday, President Iván Duque announced that he would withdraw the current proposal, and instead seek a new plan, this time borne out of consensus. “The reform is not a whim,” he said, “the reform is a necessity.”

    South America in particular, has been especially pummeled by the virus, and many countries in the region face dire fiscal conditions if reforms are not made.

    Mr. Duque was among the first to try to address his country’s economic problems, and the public response here does not bode well for other regional leaders, said Sergio Guzmán, the director of Colombia Risk Analysis, a consultancy.

    “This is one of those moments where a key break in society is happening,” he said. “And people are fed up and waking up to the power of the streets.”

    have called a heavy-handed state response in trying to control them.

    Several instances of police abuse have been captured on video in recent days, including one in which a young protester is seen kicking a police officer on a motorbike. The video shows the officer respond by shooting at the protester as he runs away.

    The protester was Marcelo Agredo, 17, the ninth grader who went out to march with his brother. He died soon after, according to his father, Armando Agredo. The death was confirmed by the country’s ombudsman, a government agency that investigates human rights violations.

    “You don’t take a person’s life for a kick,” said Mr. Agredo, 62, a retired taxi driver. “We want justice.”

    Credit…Armando Agredo

    Amid this anger, the country’s former president, Álvaro Uribe, took to Twitter to say Colombians should support “the right of soldiers and police officers to use their weapons to defend themselves” against “terrorism.”

    The social media site removed the message shortly after, saying it violated rules “regarding the glorification of violence.”

    deployed more military forces to the street to quell unrest.

    The protests began Wednesday, and by Monday at least 18 civilians and one police officer, Jesús Solano, had died, according to the ombudsman. Among the dead was Jesús Flórez, 86, who died “apparently from gas inhalation.”

    At least 540 police officers have been hurt during the demonstrations, according to the national police, while more than 100 buses have been vandalized or burned. The police said they had also identified nearly 17,000 people who were not complying with public health measures like wearing masks.

    according to numbers released last week.

    The tax proposal would have raised tariffs on some everyday goods and services, while keeping in place pandemic-era cash subsidies intended to help struggling people.

    Ultimately, though, many in the streets said they saw only the tax hikes — and a government that they felt was out of touch with their needs.

    “They have pushed us to hunger,” said Natalia Arévalo, 29, a protester in Bogotá. Ms. Arévalo, who sells clothing, said last week that a new lockdown meant to curb the spread of the virus had severely curtailed sales. “Now they want to take the little we have left.”

    Some of the biggest protests have been in Cali, Colombia’s third-largest city. On Sunday, Nicolás Guerrero, a young artist, was among hundreds gathered in a northern part of the city. Suddenly, shots rang out.

    A grainy video, livestreamed and watched by many, shows shouting and confusion.

    Juan Gómez, a 27-year-old lawyer, was there, and watched as Mr. Guerrero bled out at his feet.

    “It was horrible,” said Mr. Gómez. “I have never seen someone die before my eyes.”

    “There is no proportionality,” he said of the force being used on the street. “It doesn’t make sense.”

    Mr. Gómez spoke by phone on Monday. He was angry enough, he said, that he planned to head back to the streets later that day.

    Sofía Villamil contributed reporting.

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    In Israel, dozens die in a stampede at a mass religious gathering held despite Covid warnings.

    Israelis mourned on Friday the loss of life when a joyous pilgrimage that drew tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews abruptly turned into a tragedy. And although the country was largely united in grief and shock, questions immediately arose about poor planning and possible negligence.

    Even for a country accustomed to the trauma of wars and terrorist attacks, the deadly crush that killed 45 people during a mass religious celebration on Mount Meron in the northern Galilee region counted as one of the worst disasters in Israeli history.

    There had been warnings for years that the site’s patchy infrastructure could not safely handle large crowds. The pilgrimage was also held despite warnings from Israeli health officials that it could become a Covid-19 superspreader event.

    “We will conduct a thorough, serious and deep investigation to ensure such a disaster does not happen again,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on a visit to the site on Friday. He called for a national day of mourning on Sunday.

    to get vaccinated. About 56 percent of the Israeli population had been fully vaccinated for Covid-19 as of Thursday, according to a New York Times database.

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