erupted after an interview that Andrew gave to the BBC in 2019, set off a tumultuous period for the royal family. Two months later, Harry and Meghan announced their plans to step back from official duties and leave Britain.

They settled in Southern California, resurfacing last month for an extraordinary interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which Meghan said that a member or members of the royal family had raised qualms about the skin color of the couple’s unborn baby.

Philip retired from his duties in 2017, moving to a cottage on the grounds of one of the queen’s estates, Sandringham, where he painted in oils and pursued his hobby of driving carriages.

There was a quiet nod to Philip’s hobby at the funeral: As his coffin traveled through the quadrangle at Windsor, it passed a polished dark-green carriage with his two beloved ponies, Balmoral Nevis and Notlaw Storm.

Stephen Castle contributed reporting.

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Prince Philip’s Funeral: Latest Updates

who died last week at age 99, will be laid to rest on Saturday after a funeral service at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. His send-off will be highly unusual — in part because coronavirus restrictions meant the ceremony had to be scaled back, but also because it comes just after a very public airing of a family rift.

Pandemic rules in Britain have meant that the funeral will be pared down, with adjustments that include a limit of 30 guests at the church service. The queen and select family members will all be wearing masks and seated six feet apart.

The subdued service will reflect not only the reality of life in a pandemic, but also Philip’s own wishes for the ceremony, Buckingham Palace said in a statement this week. The prince was deeply involved in the organization of the event, which was years in the planning.

Before the ceremony — which will be live-streamed from nytimes.com and in this briefing from about 2:30 to 4 p.m. London time (9:30 to 11 a.m. Eastern) — Philip’s coffin will be moved on Saturday afternoon from a private chapel in Windsor Castle to the castle’s Inner Hall, where prayers will be said.

The ceremony will be rich with symbolism and nods to Philip’s life of service to the royal family and to the nation. The Grenadier Guards, a centuries-old regiment of the British Army, which the Duke of Edinburgh served as a colonel for more than four decades, will place his coffin on a hearse that the prince helped design. The vehicle, a modified Land Rover Defender, will then lead a small procession toward St. George’s Chapel, also on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The process of designing the hearse began 18 years ago, and tweaks were still being made up until 2019. The open-top rear section was custom-made to Philip’s specifications, and the original vehicle was repainted “dark bronze green,” typical of military use, at his request.

Philip served in the Royal Navy, seeing combat during World War II, and his naval cap and sword will be placed on his coffin before the funeral service. The coffin will be draped in his personal flag, which pays tribute to his Greek heritage and his British titles. A variety of other military groups will be represented during the procession, and a team of Royal Marines will carry the coffin into St. George’s Chapel.

Members of the royal family — including Philip’s four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, and some of his grandchildren, including William and Harry — will walk behind the coffin as it is driven to the chapel. Those with honorary military titles are expected to wear suits displaying their medals rather than uniforms, reportedly in deference to Prince Harry, who was forced to give up his military titles when he stepped away from royal duties.

The queen will arrive at the chapel by car. Before the service begins, there will be a national minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time.

There was much speculation about how the family dynamic would play out, as the funeral will be the first time that Prince Harry has returned to Britain since stepping down as a senior royal. The service also comes just weeks after he and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, gave a bombshell interview to Oprah Winfrey in which they laid bare their problems with the royal family.

The funeral service will last less than an hour. A choir of four will sing music chosen by Prince Philip. They will be located some distance from the seated guests, in line with public health guidelines, Buckingham Palace said.

His body will then be interred in the royal vault in St George’s Chapel. Flags in Britain that have flown at half-staff at royal residences since his death will remain that way until Sunday.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who married the future queen in 1947, brought the monarchy into the 20th century.

Front from left, Prince Philip, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles at the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997.
Credit…John Shelley Collection/Avalon, via Getty Images

Almost 24 years ago, the world watched as a pair of brothers, age 15 and 12, walked a mile through the grounds of Windsor Castle behind a horse-drawn carriage holding their mother’s coffin.

The image of the boys, Prince William and Prince Harry, heads bowed as they walked slowly alongside their father, uncle and grandfather, became seared into Britain’s national consciousness.

On Saturday afternoon, the eyes of the country and the world will again turn to the brothers at a different funeral — that of their grandfather, Prince Philip.

This time, much of the interest is centered on the relationship between the princes, weeks after Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, gave a searing interview to Oprah Winfrey and spoke of their differences with the royal family. Harry also described his brother and father, Prince Charles, as being “trapped” by their roles.

William and Harry will both walk behind their grandfather’s coffin during a procession to the funeral service, but Prince Philip’s eldest grandchild, Peter Phillips, will walk between the brothers, according to plans released by Buckingham Palace.

Speculation about whether their grandfather’s funeral will help heal the brothers’ apparently strained relationship has swirled since Philip’s death on April 9. Prince Harry returned to Britain this past week from his home in California, his first visit since stepping down as a senior royal last year. Meghan, who is pregnant, remained at home on doctor’s orders, Buckingham Palace said.

In the days leading up to the funeral, the British tabloids pored over the brothers’ relationship, with the Daily Mail asking, “If you were William, could you forgive Harry?” But in public statements, both men focused on the personal loss of their family’s patriarch.

In his statement, William said of his grandfather, “I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life — both through good times and the hardest days.”

“I will miss my grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job,” he added.

Harry, in a separate statement, said that Philip had been “authentically himself” and was a man who “could hold the attention of any room due to his charm.” He added that his grandfather would be remembered “as the longest-reigning consort to the monarch, a decorated serviceman, a prince and a duke.”

“But to me,” Harry added, “like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ’til the end.”

A photo in London of Prince Philip on April 9, the day he died.
Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Alan Cowell, a longtime New York Times correspondent, reflects on the death of Prince Philip and his funeral.

Elizabeth and Philip were married the year I was born — 1947 — when Britain’s deference toward its royal family had not yet been exposed to the merciless shredding that was to come. Back then, my own family might almost have seen itself reflected, albeit remotely, in their lives.

Like Prince Philip, whose funeral is on Saturday, my father had served in World War II, on deployments that were so protracted that, my mother recalled, she went three years without seeing him. In London, Buckingham Palace was bombed. So, too, were the rowhouses in Barrow-in-Furness in northwestern England where my aunts, uncles and grandparents lived, close to the shipyards targeted by the German Air Force.

When Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, we clustered around a small black-and-white television at a neighbor’s home to follow what was billed as the country’s first coronation to be broadcast live. Certainly, it was a moment of pomp that seemed to fete Britain’s re-emergence from postwar deprivation.

But by the time Prince Philip died last week, Britons had long ceased to march quite so closely in step with the royals. The mirror had become distant, supplanted by the oft-voiced questions: When did the sovereign family and its subjects begin to go their separate ways? And what does that bode for the future of the monarchy?

Queen Elizabeth II leading members of the royal family in a procession in Westminster Abbey during a 2019 Commonwealth Day service.
Credit…Pool photo by Richard Pohle

Amid coronavirus restrictions, Britain has had to adjust how it grieves over the past year. And with current rules allowing for just 30 people at funerals, the royal family scaled back plans for the service for Prince Philip.

A select handful of his closest family members will be the only ones allowed in St. George’s Chapel. They will be required to wear masks, follow social-distancing guidelines and refrain from singing, Buckingham Palace has said.

So who will those 30 people be?

First, of course, there is Queen Elizabeth II. Like the rest of the family, she will wear a face covering and sit at least six feet from other attendees.

Several family members will take part in the procession behind Philip’s coffin before they enter the chapel. The custom-built hearse will be followed by his daughter, Anne, the Princess Royal; and by his son Charles, the Prince of Wales. Directly behind them will be their younger brothers, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex; and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

Then some of Philip’s grandchildren will follow: Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex; Peter Philips, the son of Princess Anne; and Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, in that order.

Behind them will be the final two in the procession: Vice Admiral Tim Lawrence, Princess Anne’s husband; and David Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon and son of Princess Margaret, the queen’s deceased sister.

Other family members will gather inside the church. Charles’s wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will be seated with him, and Prince Edward will be joined by his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, and their two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

Prince William’s wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, will also join him in the church. Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, did not travel with him from their home in California.

Zara Tindall, Princess Anne’s daughter; and the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the daughters of Prince Andrew along with their spouses — are also scheduled to be present.

Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, and her husband, Daniel Chatto, will attend, as will three of the queen’s cousins who regularly carry out official royal duties: Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester; Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent; and Princess Alexandra.

Three of Prince Philip’s German relatives will also be in attendance: Bernhard, Hereditary Prince of Baden; Donatus, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse; and Philipp, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

And there was room for one more distant family member, Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten, who was a close friend and carriage-driving partner of Prince Philip. She is married to the grandson of Lord Louis Mountbatten, Philip’s uncle, who was much beloved by the royal family. Lord Mountbatten was killed by the Irish Republican Army in 1979.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, after attending a parade commemorating Prince Philip at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England, on Thursday.
Credit…Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

With Covid-19 restrictions limiting the numbers of mourners at Prince Philip’s funeral, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is one of the most prominent figures to miss Saturday’s ceremony in Windsor Castle.

Under regular circumstances, Mr. Johnson would have been high on the list of several hundred people invited to pay their last respects at the ceremony, a significant moment in Britain’s national life.

But as soon as attention began to focus on the practicalities of holding the funeral under pandemic rules, Downing Street said that Mr. Johnson would not attend.

“The Prime Minister has throughout wanted to act in accordance with what is best for the royal household, and so to allow for as many family members as possible will not be attending the funeral on Saturday,” Downing Street said in a statement last weekend.

Given that his government designed the coronavirus restrictions, Mr. Johnson’s decision to make space for family members looks well judged, and at least allows him to say that he will watch the event like most Britons, on a screen.

British political leaders must tread a fine diplomatic line in dealings with their monarch, who is their head of state and leads a royal family that attracts worldwide interest.

Participating in royal ceremonies usually raises the prestige of politicians, but there are dangers in being considered eager to exploit the attention generated by royal occasions — particularly when a member of the royal family has died.

That is something that Mr. Johnson will recall from his previous career as a journalist.

In 2002, the Spectator and the Mail on Sunday accused Downing Street of intervening in arrangements for the funeral of the Queen Mother to try to secure a more prominent role for Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time.

Downing Street denied the claims, saying it had sought only to clarify what role Mr. Blair would play rather than seeking to expand it. It even protested to a press watchdog but ultimately withdrew its complaint after much negative publicity in the aftermath of the Queen Mother’s funeral.

That was at least a partial victory for the Spectator, whose editor at the time was Mr. Johnson.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Kolkata as part of a 1961 Commonwealth tour of India.
Credit…Paul Popper/Popperfoto, via Getty Images

NAIROBI, Kenya — At a state lodge in Kenya’s central highlands, Prince Philip in February 1952 delivered to his wife of four years, then known as Princess Elizabeth, the news that would change their lives forever: Her father, King George VI, had died, and she was to be queen.

Philip, who died on April 9 at age 99, spent the next seven decades not only as the queen’s consort, but also in a central role in reshaping Britain’s monarchy for the modern era. Known as the Duke of Edinburgh, he was a patron or member of hundreds of organizations, devoted himself to educational and scientific projects, and attended public events to support the queen — participating in more than 22,000 solo engagements before his retirement in 2017.

But in parsing Philip’s legacy, his most visible role for much of the world outside Britain was in complementing the queen as she fulfilled her duties as head of the Commonwealth. The organization, largely composed of colonies once under the British Empire, has defined Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign.

From the onset, Philip recognized the monarchy’s “centrality” in the Commonwealth, said Sean Lang, a senior lecturer in history at Anglia Ruskin University in Britain. And over the next few decades, he established initiatives like the Commonwealth Study Conferences to examine and find solutions for global challenges, in addition to founding the Duke of Edinburgh award program, which helped millions of young people build self-confidence and hone their outdoor skills.

The projects not only “transformed lives,” Mr. Lang said, but also “helped to associate the monarchy with shaping the future instead of living in the past.”

Yet the concept of the Commonwealth, aimed at projecting and preserving British influence, has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, particularly in the wake of the recent interview Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, gave to Oprah Winfrey. In it, they related that a member or members of the royal family had said they did not want the couple’s child, Archie, to be a prince or princess, and expressed concerns about how dark his skin would be.

The Black Lives Matter protests in the United States have also revived debates in Britain around racism and the legacy of empire, even as more Commonwealth nations mull abandoning the queen as their head of state, or declare themselves a republic.

As Philip is being lauded for supporting the queen in upholding the Commonwealth, that depiction represents a kind of romantic fixation that detracts from history, said Patrick Gathara, a political commentator and cartoonist in Kenya.

“It’s made to seem that we should be invested in this institution rather than in the history that it actually represents,” Mr. Gathara said, adding, “The Commonwealth is born of colonialism and imperialism.”

After his death, Prince Philip’s sometimes offensive and racist remarks have also been revisited. During his tours around Commonwealth nations, he reportedly remarked to a former president of Nigeria, who wore a traditional dress, “You look like you are ready for bed.” He once asked, “You are a woman, aren’t you?” after accepting a gift from a woman in Kenya.

While different people will remember the comments differently — from blunders to jokes to derogatory statements — Mr. Gathara said the remarks expressed something deeper about privilege and power structures that continue to shape the world.

“If we had much more cognizance of the racist nature of the world’s system that grew out of colonialism, then these sort of statements, we wouldn’t see them as curiosities,” Mr. Gathara said. “We would see them as what they are: a real reflection of how the world works.”

Members of the news media outside Windsor Castle on April 9 after Prince Philip died.
Credit…Jonathan Brady/PA Images, via Getty Images

Shortly after Prince Philip died on April 9, the BBC cut away from its schedule to broadcast special coverage across its television channels and radio stations for the entire afternoon and night.

As popular shows were taken off the air — including an episode of “EastEnders,” a soap opera that has run since 1985, and the final episode of “MasterChef,” a cooking competition show — the BBC was flooded with expressions of displeasure. To be exact: It received 109,741 complaints, the BBC said on Thursday, making it the most complained-about moment in the BBC’s history.

As Britain’s public broadcaster, the BBC has a pre-eminent position in the British media, and its funding from the public via a license fee puts it in a difficult position. It is frequently attacked for being too liberal, and too conservative, while its access to public funding is controlled by the government, currently a Conservative administration.

The BBC tries to reflect the mood of the nation, but recently a fierce debate about the role of the royal family bubbled up after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

Too little coverage of tributes to Philip, and the BBC would have run the risk of not showing proper respect for his life. Still, the broadcaster received so many online complaints that it set up a streamlined process — a dedicated online form — for people to register their disappointment about the extent of its coverage.

The BBC said on Thursday that Philip’s death “was a significant event which generated a lot of interest both nationally and internationally.” It also said that the decision to alter the schedule had been made with careful consideration, which “reflect the role the BBC plays as the national broadcaster, during moments of national significance.”

Two commercial broadcasters took divergent approaches. ITV, like the BBC, reportedly also had a large drop in viewers on April 9 amid its many hours of Prince Philip coverage. Channel 4 had special programming but then aired a popular show, “Gogglebox,” which shows people watching television, at 9 p.m.

On Saturday, the BBC and ITV will both broadcast Philip’s funeral.

An image released by Netflix showing Matt Smith as Prince Philip in “The Crown.”
Credit…Robery Vigalsky/Netflix, via Associated Press

There were numerous portrayals of Prince Philip over the course of his long life. Actors including Tobias Menzies, Matt Smith, James Cromwell and Christopher Lee all played the part.

Yet no one ever truly captured the man’s essence onscreen, one of his biographers says.

The reason, said the biographer, Ingrid Seward, author of “Prince Philip Revealed,” is that no members of the public ever had the opportunity to study him closely. As a man accustomed to walking a few paces behind his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, he remained partly out of view.

Ms. Seward, who has interviewed many members of the royal family, including Prince Charles and Princess Diana, began talking to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in the late 1970s. And some of their early meetings were disasters. “He was rude to me,” she said.

But she eventually formed a clearer view of Philip’s complicated persona — his irascible character, his acerbic wit, his generosity of spirit.

The accuracy and relative merits of film and television portrayals of him evolved along with the public perception of the monarchy, from two television movies based on the courtship between Charles and Diana to Philip’s most recent depiction in “The Crown.”

In “The Crown,” which premiered in 2016, Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies played Philip, and Seward took issue with both portrayals.

“They make him seem grumpy and bored,” she said. “He was never bored. He led a really active, packed, busy life.”

She maintains that Smith in Seasons 1 and 2 didn’t carry himself the way Philip did. “Everyone knows that he walks with his hands behind his back, that he’s got a very military stance, even in his 99th year,” Seward said, adding that this posture made him seem taller than he actually was.

She said Smith’s Philip was too pouty and petulant, even if Philip did struggle to find a role for himself when Elizabeth first became queen.

“Philip does not sulk,” Seward said. “That is so not him.”

She said she found that in Seasons 3 and 4 Menzies offered a more nuanced portrayal of a man in midlife crisis, but that there was no such crisis.

“The moon landing, no, no, no,” Ms. Seward said, referring to the “Moondust” episode, in which Philip becomes obsessed with the Americans’ 1969 moon landing and wallows in feelings of failure because of his own, less-consequential position in life. (Jonathan Pryce will take over the role in Season 5.)

“Once Philip established himself, he was fine,” Ms. Seward said. “He accomplished so much, and he traveled all over the world on his own.”

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Philip’s funeral, a nod to a life of service, is scaled back in a time of pandemic.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II who died last week at age 99, will be laid to rest on Saturday after a funeral service at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. His send-off will be highly unusual — in part because coronavirus restrictions meant the ceremony had to be scaled back, but also because it comes just after a very public airing of a family rift.

Pandemic rules in Britain have meant that the funeral will be pared down, with adjustments that include a limit of 30 guests at the church service. The queen and select family members will all be wearing masks and seated six feet apart.

The subdued service will reflect not only the reality of life in a pandemic, but also Philip’s own wishes for the ceremony, Buckingham Palace said in a statement this week. The prince was deeply involved in the organization of the event, which was years in the planning.

Before the ceremony — which will be live-streamed from nytimes.com and in this briefing from about 2:30-4 p.m. London time — Philip’s coffin will be moved on Saturday afternoon from a private chapel in Windsor Castle to the castle’s Inner Hall, where prayers will be said.

his personal flag, which pays tribute to his Greek heritage and his British titles. A variety of other military groups will be represented during the procession, and a team of Royal Marines will carry the coffin into St. George’s Chapel.

Members of the royal family — including Philip’s four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, and some of his grandchildren, including William and Harry — will walk behind the coffin as it is driven to the chapel. Those with honorary military titles are expected to wear suits displaying their medals rather than uniforms, reportedly in deference to Prince Harry, who was forced to give up his military titles when he stepped away from royal duties.

The queen will arrive at the chapel by car. Before the service begins, there will be a national minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time.

stepping down as a senior royal. The service also comes just weeks after he and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, gave a bombshell interview to Oprah Winfrey in which they laid bare their problems with the royal family.

The funeral service will last less than an hour, and Prince Charles is expected to deliver the eulogy. A choir of four will sing music chosen by Prince Philip. They will be located some distance from the seated guests, in line with public health guidelines, Buckingham Palace said.

His body will then be interred in the royal vault in St George’s Chapel. Flags in Britain that have flown at half-staff at royal residences since his death will remain that way until Sunday.

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SpaceX Wins NASA $2.9 Billion Contract to Build Moon Lander

Elon Musk’s private space company is developing a giant rocket called Starship to one day take people to Mars.

But first, it will drop off NASA astronauts at the moon.

NASA announced on Friday that it had awarded a contract to SpaceX for $2.9 billion to use Starship to take astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon.

The contract extends NASA’s trend of relying on private companies to ferry people, cargo and robotic explorers to space. But it also represents something of a triumph for Mr. Musk in the battle of space billionaires. One of the competitors for the NASA lunar contract was Blue Origin, created by Jeffrey P. Bezos of Amazon.

SpaceX now outshines Blue Origin and other rocket builders, emphasizing how it has become the highest-profile partner of NASA in its human spaceflight program.

The Washington Post.

NASA last year awarded contracts to three companies for initial design work on landers that could carry humans to the lunar surface. In addition to SpaceX, NASA selected proposals from Dynetics, a defense contractor in Huntsville, Ala., and Mr. Bezos’ Blue Origin, which had joined in what it called the National Team with several traditional aerospace companies: Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper.

The award is only for the first crewed landing, and SpaceX must first perform an uncrewed landing. “NASA is requiring a test flight to fully check out all systems with a landing on the lunar surface prior to our formal demonstration mission,” Ms. Watson-Morgan said.

NASA officials said Blue Origin, Dynetics and other companies would be able to bid for future moon landing missions.

Mr. Trump pledged a return by 2024, the schedule was not considered realistic after Congress did not provide requested financing, and NASA is now re-evaluating the schedule.

The NASA Artemis program is expected to launch its first uncrewed trip either later this year or early next year, using a powerful rocket called the Space Launch System to propel the Orion capsule, where future astronauts will be sitting, on a trip to the moon and back. The booster stage of the rocket passed an important ground test last month.

For the spacecraft that would land astronauts on the moon, NASA had been expected to choose two of the three companies to move forward and build their landers, mirroring the approach the space agency has used for hiring companies to take cargo and now astronauts to the International Space Station. Two options provide competition that helps keep costs down, and provides a backup in case one of the systems encounters a setback.

why NASA needs the Space Launch System rocket at all.

Each launch of the Space Launch System is expected to cost more than $1 billion. Because Starship is designed to be fully reusable, its costs will be far cheaper.

The Artemis plans currently call for the astronauts to launch into orbit on top of a Space Launch System rocket. The upper stage of the rocket is to then propel the Orion capsule, where the astronauts will be sitting, toward the moon.

Unlike NASA’s Apollo moon missions in the 1960s and 1970s, the lander spacecraft is to be sent separately to lunar orbit. Orion is to dock with the lander, which will then head to the surface.

But Starship will dwarf Orion in size, making the architecture similar to sailing a yacht across the Atlantic Ocean and then switching to a cruise ship for the short ride into port.

Yusaku Maezawa, has bought an around-the-moon flight on Starship. That trip, which could occur as soon as 2023, would only pass by the moon and not land.

SpaceX has been launching a series of high-altitude tests of Starship prototypes at its site at the southern tip of Texas, not far outside Brownsville, to perfect how the spacecraft would return to Earth. SpaceX has made great progress with the maneuver of belly-flopping to slow its fall, but the tests so far have all ended explosively.

Mr. Musk recently pledged that the spacecraft would be ready to fly people to space by 2023, although he has a track record of overpromising and underdelivering on rocket development schedules.

Nevertheless, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has become the workhorse of American and international spaceflight with its reusable booster stage. The company has twice carried astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA, and it is scheduled to loft a third crew there on Thursday.

Numerous private satellite operators have relied on the company to carry their payloads to orbit. And another company, Astrobotic, announced this week that it had picked a larger SpaceX rocket, Falcon Heavy, to carry a NASA rover called VIPER to the moon’s south pole to prospect for ice in the coming years.

On Friday, the Biden administration also announced the nomination of Pamela Melroy, a former astronaut, to become NASA’s deputy administrator. Last month, Bill Nelson, a former Florida senator, was nominated to be administrator.

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Shawn G. Kennedy, Times Reporter in a Vanguard, Dies at 73

Back in the 1970s, as The New York Times lagged behind other papers in hiring reporters and editors of color, Paul Delaney, the first Black reporter hired in the newspaper’s Washington bureau, was among those helping to recruit nonwhite journalists.

He was on assignment in New Orleans in 1973 when he ran into a Black television reporter, who told him that her twin sister, who worked as a fact checker for Playboy magazine in Chicago, was eager to move to a daily paper. The next time Mr. Delaney was in Chicago, he looked her up.

And that was how Shawn G. Kennedy came to work at The Times, taking a route as random as any in that era, before organizations like the National Association of Black Journalists were formed to help organize the recruitment of journalists.

Ms. Kennedy, who worked at The Times for 23 years, died on April 5 at the home of her sister, Royal Kennedy Rodgers, in San Francisco. She was 73 and lived in New Orleans. Ms. Rodgers said the cause was breast cancer.

Lt. Col. James Vincent Kennedy, was one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-Black corps of elite pilots; he completed his training too late to see combat in World War II but became a career Air Force officer and flew missions in Korea and Vietnam. He received degrees in electrical engineering and worked on the Apollo space program.

Shirley (Graves) Kennedy, went back to school after her children had grown and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in African-American studies and her doctorate in political science. She then taught Black studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

With Mr. Kennedy in the military, the family lived on air bases around the world. The parents were intensely interested in current events and liked to read, and their children adopted the same habits. Royal Rodgers said that while living in Tokyo and having no television there, she and Shawn “devoured” American magazines. Shawn went to Ohio University in Athens but left for Playboy before graduating.

She married Harold Brown, an investment manager, in 1997 and left The Times shortly thereafter. They moved to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., before settling in New Orleans.

“New Orleans was her big second act,” her sister said. Ms. Kennedy and Mr. Brown were already involved in economic development there before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, and afterward they devoted themselves even more to rebuilding the city. After Mr. Brown died in 2013, Ms. Kennedy continued many of his projects.

One project of which Ms. Kennedy was especially proud was overseeing the conversion of the historic St. Rosa de Lima church into a center for a Waldorf school, a performance space and a business incubator.

In addition to her sister, she is survived by two brothers, Kevin and Colin; a stepson, David Brown; and one step-grandson.

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Treasury Puts Taiwan on Notice for Currency Practices: Live Updates

Vietnam and Switzerland as manipulators in its final report in 2020. The Biden administration’s report undid those designations, citing insufficient evidence.

Instead, the department said it would continue “enhanced engagement” with Vietnam and Switzerland and begin such talks with Taiwan, which includes urging the trading partners to address undervaluation of their currencies.

“Treasury is working tirelessly to address efforts by foreign economies to artificially manipulate their currency values that put American workers at an unfair disadvantage,” Ms. Yellen said in a statement.

Taiwan is the United States’ 10th largest trading partner in 2019, according to the United States trade representative. Vietnam is the 13th largest, and Switzerland is 16th.

The Treasury Department did not label China as a currency manipulator, instead urging it to improve transparency over its foreign exchange practices.

Treasury kept China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand on its currency monitoring list, and added Ireland and Mexico.

“Sonia” chats with coworkers — from a distance.
Credit…IBM

Millions of workers are wondering what the office will be like when they go back after a long stretch of remote work. Employers are trying to prepare them for it.

IBM has designed a “reorientation” program to help its employees adjust when they return to a familiar setting but face a host of unfamiliar new procedures, the DealBook newsletter writes.

“It’s sort of like the first day of school,” said Joanna Daly, the company’s vice president of talent. “A day early, kids go and get to see the classroom or see how things work.”

This is needed, she said, because it is “not simply returning to the workplace as it existed before or the ways of working as it existed before.”

IBM made a “day in the life” video to show employees what to expect. One version of the 11-minute-long video seen by DealBook starts with “Paul” going back to one of IBM’s offices in Britain. To start the day, he goes through a self-screening checklist to assess potential exposure. He enters the office through designated entrances and picks up his masks for the day (and disinfectant wipes if he needs them). Arrows guide him through the halls and up one-way staircases. Only one person is allowed in the bathroom at a time.

The cafeteria is closed, so Paul must bring his lunch. He can’t use the whiteboards or marker pens in conference rooms (and he shouldn’t linger there longer than necessary). If Paul sees other IBMers not following the safety protocols, “It is OK to politely remind them,” the narrator assures him.

Along with the video, IBM produced an 18-page presentation depicting “Sonia’s’’ return to the workplace, serving as a friendly, cartoon-filled back-to-work manual.

“We’re looking now at how might anxiety manifests itself differently for different employees around being back together and then how do we address that,” Ms. Daly said, “through practical understanding of health and safety and also through having enough flexibility in the environment that everyone can kind of get used to coming back.”

IBM, which has 346,000 employees, hasn’t set a timeline for when its U.S. workers will return to the office. The company’s chief executive, Arvind Krishna, has said he expects 80 percent of them will work in a hybrid fashion when they do.

Mercedes-Benz said the electric EQS can travel up to 480 miles on a single charge, a feat the company attributed to new battery technology and the car’s aerodynamic shape.
Credit…Mercedes/Associated Press

Mercedes-Benz unveiled an electric counterpart to its top-of-the-line S-Class sedan on Thursday, the latest in a series of moves by German automakers to defend their dominance of the high end of the car market against Tesla.

The EQS, which will be available in the United States in August, is the first of four electric vehicles Mercedes will introduce this year, including two S.U.V.s that will be made at the company’s factory in Alabama and a lower-priced sedan. Mercedes did not announce a price for the EQS, but it is unlikely to be lower than the S-Class, which starts at $94,000 in the United States.

The cars could be decisive for Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, as it tries to adapt to new technology.

“It is important to us,” Ola Källenius, the chief executive of Daimler, said of the EQS during an interview. “In a way it is kind of day one of a new era.”

The EQS has a range of 770 kilometers or about 480 miles, according to Mercedes. If that figure is confirmed by independent testing, the EQS would dethrone the Tesla Model S Long Range Plus as the production electric car that can travel the farthest between charges. The Tesla currently occupies the No. 1 spot with a range of just over 400 miles, according to rankings by Kelley Blue Book.

The EQS owes its stamina to advances in battery technology and an exceptionally aerodynamic design, Mr. Källenius said. Some analysts question whether Mercedes can sell enough electric vehicles to justify the cost of development, but Mr. Källenius said, “We will make money with the EQS from the word ‘go.’”

The EQS is the latest attempt by German carmakers to show that they can apply their expertise in engineering and production efficiency to battery-powered cars. Vehicles are Germany’s biggest export, so the carmakers’ success or failure will have a significant impact on the country’s prosperity.

On Wednesday, Audi, the luxury unit of Volkswagen, unveiled the Q4 E-Tron, an electric SUV. The Q4 shares many components with the Volkswagen ID.4, an electric SUV that the company began delivering to customers in the United States in March. Though priced to compete with internal combustion models, neither vehicle offers as much range as comparable Tesla cars.

In the S-Class tradition, the EQS offers over-the-top luxury features like software that can recognize when a driver might be feeling fatigued and can offer to turn on the massage function embedded in the seat.

“You’re going to get S-Class level refinement in a very, very high performing electric car,” Mr. Källenius said. “That’s your buying argument.”

Car buyers in Wuhan in January. China is trying to get its consumers to return to their prepandemic spending levels.
Credit…Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

China on Friday reported that its economy grew by a remarkable 18.3 percent in the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year. But the spike is as much a reflection of how bad matters were a year ago — when the China’s output shrank by 6.8 percent — as it is an indication of how China is doing now.

Global demand for the computer screens and video consoles that China makes is soaring as people work from home and as a pandemic recovery beckons. That demand has continued as Americans with stimulus checks look to spend money on patio furniture, electronics and other goods made in Chinese factories.

China’s recovery has also been powered by big infrastructure. Cranes dot city skylines. Construction projects for highways and railroads have provided short-term jobs. Property sales have also helped strengthen economic activity.

Exports and property investment can carry China’s growth only so far. Now China is trying to get its consumers to return to their prepandemic ways.

Unlike much of the developed world, China doesn’t subsidize its consumers. Instead of handing out checks to jump-start the economy last year, China ordered state-owned banks to lend to businesses and offered tax rebates.

Travel restrictions over the Lunar New Year holiday dampened consumer appetite and slowed the momentum of Chinese shoppers. But retail data on Friday showed that March sales were better than expected, raising hopes that consumers might be starting to feel confident.


By: Ella Koeze·Data delayed at least 15 minutes·Source: FactSet

Global stocks rose on Friday after a string of strong economic reports and company earnings.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent, set for its fourth straight week of gains and another record. The benchmark had gained 1 percent in the week through Thursday and is up nearly 5 percent so far this month.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.6 percent on Friday, also climbing to a record, while the FTSE 100 in Britain climbed above 7,000 points for the first time since February 2020. Stock indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and China all closed higher.

China reported on Friday that its economy grew by 18.3 percent in the first three months of the year compared with the same period last year, when swathes of the country had been shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, data showed U.S. retail sales in March leapt past expectations, increasing by nearly 10 percent, and initial state jobless claims fell last week to their lowest level of the pandemic.

This week, banks including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase reported better-than-expected earnings, and their chief executives delivered upbeat economic forecasts.

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes slipped to 1.57 percent on Friday. Last month, concerns that government spending would overheat the economy and lead to higher inflation sent bond yields shooting higher, to 1.74 percent on March 31. But those worries appear to have been soothed by central bank officials, who have repeatedly said they expect increases in inflation to be temporary.

Earlier this week, data showed that prices in the United States rose 2.6 percent in March from a year earlier, a larger-than-normal increase partly because prices of some items fell in March 2020 as the pandemic took hold.

Another reason yields have drifted lower is a “remarkable” demand for bonds, ING, a Dutch bank, said. Recent Treasury bond auctions have received more bids than normal, and JPMorgan Chase sold $13 billion of bonds on Thursday, the biggest sale ever by a bank, according to Bloomberg.

“Cash has to go somewhere, and it can’t all go into equities,” the ING analysts wrote in a note to clients.

James O’Keefe, the founder of the conservative group Project Veritas, in 2015.
Credit…Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Twitter said on Thursday that it had blocked the account of James O’Keefe, the founder of the conservative group Project Veritas.

Mr. O’Keefe’s account, @JamesOKeefeIII, was “permanently suspended for violating the Twitter Rules on platform manipulation and spam,” specifically that users cannot mislead others with fake accounts or “artificially amplify or disrupt conversations” through the use of multiple accounts, a Twitter spokesman said.

In a statement on his website, Mr. O’Keefe said he will file a defamation lawsuit against Twitter on Monday over its claim that he had operated fake accounts.

“This is false, this is defamatory, and they will pay,” the statement said.

“Section 230 may have protected them before, but it will not protect them from me,” Mr. O’Keefe said, referring to a legal liability shield for social media. That shield, part of the federal Communications Decency Act, has become a favorite target of lawmakers in both parties.

In February, Twitter permanently suspended the Project Veritas account, saying it had posted private information. It also temporarily locked Mr. O’Keefe’s account.

“We were trying to find the most incendiary way of making them mad,” Caolan Robertson said of the videos he used to make.
Credit…Alexander Ingram for The New York Times

To keep you watching, YouTube serves up videos similar to those you have watched before. But the longer someone watches, the more extreme the videos can become.

Caolan Robertson learned how making clever edits and focusing on confrontation could help draw millions of views on YouTube and other services. He also learned how YouTube’s recommendation algorithm often nudged people toward extreme videos.

Over more than two years, he helped produce and publish videos for right-wing Youtube personalities including Lauren Southern, Cade Metz reports for The New York Times.

Knowing what garnered the most attention on YouTube, Mr. Robertson said, he and Ms. Southern would devise public appearances meant to generate conflict. They attended a women’s march in London and, with Ms. Southern playing the part of a television reporter, approached each woman with the same four-word question: “Women’s rights or Islam?”

They often received a confused, measured or polite response, according to Mr. Robertson. They continued to ask the question and sharpened it. Ms. Southern, for example, said it would be difficult for Muslim women to answer the question because their husbands wouldn’t let them attend the march. That caused anger to build in the crowd.

“It appears in the videos that we are just trying to figure out what is going on, gather information, understand people,” Mr. Robertson said. “But really, we were trying to find the most incendiary way of making them mad.”

Ms. Southern described the situation differently. “We asked the question because we knew it was going to force people to question their own political views and realize the contradiction in being a hard-core feminist but also supporting a religion that, quite frankly, has questionable practices around women,” she said. And, she added, they used video techniques that any media company would use.

Attendees of the disastrous Fyre Festival in the Bahamas won $2 million in a class-action settlement that is subject to final approval.
Credit…Jake Strang, via Associated Press

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Mercedes unveils an electric version of its S-Class that goes farther than a Tesla.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled an electric counterpart to its top-of-the-line S-Class sedan on Thursday, the latest in a series of moves by German automakers to defend their dominance of the high end of the car market against Tesla.

The EQS, which will be available in the United States in August, is the first of four electric vehicles Mercedes will introduce this year, including two S.U.V.s that will be made at the company’s factory in Alabama and a lower-priced sedan. Mercedes did not announce a price for the EQS, but it is unlikely to be lower than the S-Class, which starts at $94,000 in the United States.

The cars could be decisive for Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, as it tries to adapt to new technology.

“It is important to us,” Ola Källenius, the chief executive of Daimler, said of the EQS during an interview. “In a way it is kind of day one of a new era.”

Kelley Blue Book.

The EQS owes its stamina to advances in battery technology and an exceptionally aerodynamic design, Mr. Källenius said. Some analysts question whether Mercedes can sell enough electric vehicles to justify the cost of development, but Mr. Källenius said, “We will make money with the EQS from the word ‘go.’”

The EQS is the latest attempt by German carmakers to show that they can apply their expertise in engineering and production efficiency to battery-powered cars. Vehicles are Germany’s biggest export, so the carmakers’ success or failure will have a significant impact on the country’s prosperity.

On Wednesday, Audi, the luxury unit of Volkswagen, unveiled the Q4 E-Tron, an electric SUV. The Q4 shares many components with the Volkswagen ID.4, an electric SUV that the company began delivering to customers in the United States in March. Though priced to compete with internal combustion models, neither vehicle offers as much range as comparable Tesla cars.

In the S-Class tradition, the EQS offers over-the-top luxury features like software that can recognize when a driver might be feeling fatigued and can offer to turn on the massage function embedded in the seat.

“You’re going to get S-Class level refinement in a very, very high performing electric car,” Mr. Källenius said. “That’s your buying argument.”

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Prince Philip’s Funeral Will Include a Call to Battle

LONDON — Toward the end of the carefully choreographed, 50-minute planned funeral service for Prince Philip, scheduled for Saturday, the “Last Post” will be played by musicians from Britain’s Royal Marines. But the military buglers will then have one further duty requested specifically by Prince Philip: sounding so-called Action Stations — a call used on naval warships to summon crew to battle readiness.

Announcing the funeral plans, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday that the ceremony will reflect the personal wishes of Prince Philip, who had a distinguished naval career, serving in the Second World War, before becoming consort to Queen Elizabeth.

But — at a time when many families have lost relatives to Covid-19 and pandemic restrictions remain in place — the arrangements reflected the reduced scale of an occasion trimmed to comply with government rules.

The funeral is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. and will be televised but will take place behind the formidable walls of Windsor Castle. With Covid-19 concerns in mind, Buckingham Palace has urged people to stay away, saying there will be nothing for the public to see.

Only 30 mourners will enter St. George’s Chapel, where the service will be held, and all will wear masks and sit socially distanced, including the queen.

The proceedings seem designed to ease tensions within the royal family where possible. No military uniforms will be worn, a decision that avoids singling out Prince Harry, who lost his military titles after stepping aside from royal duties and could have been the only senior male royal in civilian clothing — despite having served in Afghanistan for the British Army.

Saturday’s ceremony will be the first time Prince Harry has reunited with his family since he said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last month that his brother and father were trapped in an unhappy life as royals. But he will not be placed directly next to his brother, Prince William, in a short funeral procession that will take place through the grounds of Windsor Castle.

During the procession, the coffin will be moved to St. George’s Chapel. The procession will be led by the band of the Grenadier Guards, a regiment of which Prince Philip was colonel for 42 years.

Queen Elizabeth will arrive at the chapel by car, but Princes Charles, Andrew and Edward, as well as Princess Anne and Princes William and Harry, will follow the coffin on foot as it is driven the short distance to the chapel on a modified Land Rover four-wheel drive.

Not only did Prince Philip chose this vehicle, he is also thought to have helped with its modification as part of plans that he approved.

In normal times crowds would have gathered as would hundreds of mourners who would have been invited to attend. But, with numbers so restricted, even Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not attending.

The choir will be reduced to just four people, and mourners will not be encouraged to sing. At the end of the ceremony — after a lament has been played, the buglers have performed, and the national anthem been sung by the choir — the coffin will be lowered into the chapel’s Royal Vault.

Funerals for senior members of the royal family are planned in advance as contingencies and given code names based on different bridges. In Prince Philip’s case, the code name was Forth Bridge, a reference to the city of Edinburgh, and the prince’s title as the Duke of Edinburgh.

Buckingham Palace has not said when Prince Philip last approved his funeral plans, or whether he did so once Covid-19 restrictions were in place, requiring the ceremony to be slimmed down.

But planning for the funeral first began so long ago that the prince was said to have once remarked that several of those who helped to design it never lived to see it, having predeceased him.

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How Working From Home Changed Wardrobes Around the World

Have months of self-isolation, lockdown and working from home irrevocably changed what we will put on once we go out again? For a long time, the assumption was yes. Now, as restrictions ease and the opening up of offices and travel is dangled like a promise, that expectation is more like a qualified “maybe.” But not every country’s experience of the last year was the same, nor were the clothes that dominated local wardrobes. Before we can predict what’s next, we need to understand what was. Here, eight New York Times correspondents in seven different countries share dispatches from a year of dressing.

Italian Vogue called “a luxury version of classic two-piece sweats.”

Fabio Pietrella, the president of Confartigianato Moda, the fashion arm of the association of artisans and small businesses, said that while consumer trends indicated a shift from “a business look to comfort,” it was “not too much comfort.” Italian women, he said, had eschewed sportswear for “quality knitwear” that guarantees freedom of movement but with “a minimum of elegance.”

flyest city on the planet.

In the Senegalese capital, at Africa’s westernmost tip, men in pointy yellow slippers and crisp white boubous — loosefitting long tunics — still glide down streets dredged with Saharan dust. Young women still sit in cafes sipping baobab juice in patterned leggings and jeweled hijabs. Everyone from consultants to greengrocers still wears gorgeous prints from head to toe.

Occasionally they now wear a matching mask.

While much of the world was shut up at home, many people in West Africa were working or going to school as normal. Lockdown in Senegal lasted just a few months. It was impossible for many people here to keep it up. They depend on going out to earn their living.

the poet and revolutionary Amílcar Cabral loved.

joint report by the Boston Consulting Group and Retailers Association of India.

While infections were low during the winter, the past few weeks have seen cases rising to staggering levels in many parts of the country. Right now, it looks as though many people will be working from home for most of 2021 too.

For Ritu Gorai, who runs a moms network in Mumbai, that means she has barely shopped at all, instead using accessories like scarves, jewelry and glasses to jazz up her look and add a little polish.

For Sanshe Bhatia, an elementary schoolteacher, it has meant trading her long kurtas or formal trousers and blouses for caftans and leggings. In order to encourage her class of 30 kids to get dressed in the morning rather than attending lessons in their pajamas, she takes care to look neat and makes sure her long hair is brushed properly.

into a tailspin,” interviews with a range of Parisians suggest a compromise of sorts had been reached.

When Xavier Romatet, the dean of the Institut Français de la Mode, France’s foremost fashion school, went back to work, he didn’t wear a suit, but he did wear a white shirt under a navy blue cashmere sweater and beige chinos, as he would at home. He paired his outfit with sneakers by Veja, a French eco-friendly brand.

Similarly, Anne Lhomme, the creative director of Saint Louis, the luxury tableware brand, dresses the same whether remotely or in person. A favorite look, she said, includes a camel-colored cashmere poncho “designed by a friend, Laurence Coudurier, for Poncho Gallery” and loosefitting plum silk pants. Also lipstick, earrings and four Swahili rings she found in Kenya.

light blue or white shirts, which I buy at Emile Lafaurie or online from Charles Tyrwhitt, with a round-collar sweater if it’s cold” — and, from the waist down, “Uniqlo pants in stretch fabric.”

And Sophie Fontanel, a writer and former fashion editor at Elle, said, “I am often barefoot at home, alone, wearing a very pretty dress.”

Daphné Anglès

Fifth, as well as high-fashion labels, have focused on bright satin, silk and linen shirts with bow ties or stand-up collars, striped patterns or gathered sleeves. The trend for such showy tops has led to a boom in clothing subscription services.

One such platform, AirCloset, announced that 450,000 users had subscribed in October 2020, three times more than in the same period in 2019. Often users request tops only (one bottom item is usually included), and there is now a limit of three in any one order.

“Customers prefer brighter colors to basics such as navy or beige for online meetings, or they prefer asymmetric design tops,” said Mari Nakano, the AirCloset spokeswoman. About 40 percent of subscribers are working mothers for whom the subscription service saved time because they didn’t have to be bothered with washing. They just put the tops in a bag, return them and then wait for the next package to arrive with their new items.

Hisako Ueno

Ushatava, an independent label of sleek, geometrically tailored sleek designs in mostly muted natural colors. It was founded in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural Mountains that in the last few years has turned into a Russian fashion hub. 12Storeez, another rising brand from Yekaterinburg, saw its turnover balloon by 35 percent over the last year, even as the market overall shrank by a quarter, said Ivan Khokhlov, one of the founders.

Nastya Gritskova, the head of a P.R. agency in Moscow, said the effect of the pandemic was that for the first time in the Russian capital people stopped “paying attention at who wears what.” Yet last fall, when the government eased coronavirus-related restrictions, things started going back to normal.

“There isn’t a pandemic that can make Russian women stop thinking about how to look beautiful,” she said.

Ivan Nechepurenko


Elisabetta Povoledo, Ruth Maclean, Mady Camara, Flávia Milhorance, Shalini Venugopal Bhagat, Daphné Anglès, Hisako Ueno and Ivan Nechepurenko contributed reporting.

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What the Coronavirus Variants Mean for Testing

In January 2020, just weeks after the first Covid-19 cases emerged in China, the full genome of the new coronavirus was published online. Using this genomic sequence, scientists scrambled to design a large assortment of diagnostic tests for the virus.

But the virus has mutated since then. And as the coronavirus has evolved, so has the landscape of testing. The emergence of new variants has sparked a flurry of interest in developing tests for specific viral mutations and prompted concerns about the accuracy of some existing tests.

“With these Covid diagnostics, we were on a time crunch, we had to get something out there,” said Lorraine Lillis, the scientific program officer at PATH, a global health nonprofit that has been tracking coronavirus tests. “Normally, diagnostics take a long, long time, and we’d normally challenge them with multiple variants.” She added: “And we’re doing that, but we’re doing it in real time.”

The Food and Drug Administration has warned that new mutations in the coronavirus could render some tests less effective. And last week, PATH launched two online dashboards to monitor how certain variants might affect the performance of existing diagnostic tests.

has listed four different molecular tests “whose performance could be impacted” by the variants, but notes that the tests should still work. Three of the tests have multiple targets; a fourth may be slightly less sensitive when the virus has one particular mutation and is present at very low levels. (The four tests are the TaqPath Covid-19 Combo Kit, the Linea Covid-19 Assay Kit, the Xpert Xpress and Xpert Omni SARS-CoV-2, and the Accula SARS-CoV-2 Test.)

“We don’t think that those four assays are significantly impacted,” said Dr. Tim Stenzel, who directs the F.D.A.’s office of in vitro diagnostics and radiological health. “It was more out of an abundance of caution and transparency that we made that information public.”

Antigen tests are less sensitive than molecular tests, but they are typically cheaper and faster, and they are being deployed widely in coronavirus screening programs. These tests detect specific proteins on the outside of the virus. Some genetic mutations could change the structure of these proteins, allowing them to escape detection.

in a recent paper, Dr. Izpisua Belmonte and his colleague, Mo Li, a stem cell biologist at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, described a new testing method that can identify mutations in up to five different regions of the coronavirus genome.

And Dr. Grubaugh and his colleagues have developed a P.C.R. test that can detect specific combinations of mutations that characterize three variants of concern: B.1.1.7; B.1.351, which was first detected in South Africa; and P.1, first found in Brazil. (The work has not yet been published in a scientific journal.)

Dr. Grubaugh said that researchers in Brazil, South Africa and elsewhere are already using the tests to sift through a mountain of coronavirus samples, identifying those that should be prioritized for full genomic sequencing. “Our group’s primary interest is enhancing genomic surveillance through sequencing, especially in resource-limited areas,” Dr. Grubaugh said. “If you want to know if there’s variants that are circulating, you need a way to triage.”

A number of companies are also beginning to release coronavirus tests that they say can differentiate between certain variants, although these are intended for research purposes only. Creating a test that can definitively diagnose someone with a particular variant is “infinitely harder,” Dr. Grubaugh said.

Similar mutations are springing up in different variants, which makes distinguishing among them more difficult. The mutations of interest will change as the virus does, and sequencing remains the best way to get a complete picture of the virus.

But tests that can screen for certain mutations could be an important public health tool, Ms. Agarwal said: “These newer diagnostics that are looking across the variants, I think will be really key in understanding the epidemiology of the virus and planning our next generation of efforts against it.”

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