Testing sewage offers useful data on the spread of Covid-19.

Although Covid-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, research conducted early in the pandemic revealed that people infected with the coronavirus often shed it in their stool. This finding, combined with the scale and urgency of the crisis, spurred immediate interest in tracking the virus by sampling wastewater.

In the past year, many scientists have been drawn into the once niche field of wastewater epidemiology. Researchers in 54 countries are tracking the coronavirus in sewage, according to the Covid19Poops Dashboard, a global directory of the projects.

These teams have found that the wastewater data seemed to accurately indicate what was happening in society. When the number of diagnosed Covid-19 cases in an area increased, more coronavirus appeared in the wastewater. Levels of the virus fell when areas instituted lockdowns and surged when they reopened.

Several teams have also confirmed that sewage can serve as an early warning system: Wastewater viral levels often peaked days before doctors saw a peak in official Covid-19 cases.

to identify mutations that have not yet been detected in people anywhere.

The surveillance is not a replacement for clinical testing, experts said, but can be an efficient and cost-effective complement. The approach is likely to be especially valuable in low- and middle-income countries, where testing resources are more limited.

“Not every population gets tested, not everyone has access to health care,” said Dr. Marc Johnson, a virologist at the University of Missouri. “If there’s groups of people that are asymptomatic, they probably aren’t getting tested either. So you aren’t really getting the full big picture. Whereas for our testing, everyone poops.”

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Philip Roth’s Biographer Blake Bailey Is Accused of Sexual Assault

“I can assure you I have never had non-consensual sex of any kind, with anybody, ever, and if it comes to a point I shall vigorously defend my reputation and livelihood,” he wrote in the email, which the Times reviewed. “Meanwhile, I appeal to your decency: I have a wife and young daughter who adore and depend on me, and such a rumor, even untrue, would destroy them.”

Norton took the allegation seriously, a spokeswoman for the publisher said Wednesday. “We did take steps, including asking Mr. Bailey about the allegations, which he categorically denied, and we were mindful of the sender’s request for a guarantee of anonymity.”

Former students recall him as a charismatic role model who treated them as intellectual peers. But he also created an atmosphere of intimacy that could cross the line, like encouraging students to write about romantic relationships in journals that they submitted to him for comments. “There was an environment of dirty jokes and permissiveness,” said Elizabeth Gross, a former student who now teaches at Tulane University. Some students said his remarks and behavior were attempts to “groom” them for sexual encounters years later.

Eve Peyton, 40, a former student who now works in publicity at a high school in New Orleans, said that Mr. Bailey raped her when she was a graduate student. When she was his student, he treated her as “one of his special girls,” she said, attention that felt flattering and reaffirming at the time.

In June 2003, she was a graduate student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and engaged to be married. She and Mr. Bailey both happened to be visiting New Orleans at the same time and met for drinks. Afterward, he invited her back to the place he was staying, where he kissed her, initiated oral sex, and when she squirmed away, he pinned her to the bed and forcibly had sex with her, she said. He finally stopped when she told him she wasn’t using birth control, she recalled.

After he drove her to her father’s house, where she was staying, Mr. Bailey said he had “wanted her” since the day they met, when she was 12, Ms. Peyton said.

She told two friends about the assault shortly after it happened but didn’t go to the police, in part because she was overwhelmed and wanted to move on with her life, she said. She later began seeing a therapist with experience in sexual assault counseling.

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Corporate Giving Has Changed After the Capitol Riot, a Little

After the January 6 riot at the Capitol, scores of companies vowed to pause their political donations. Some stopped giving to all politicians, while others shunned only those 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the presidential election results. A recent deadline for candidates to release fund-raising details for the first quarter revealed more details about how corporate giving has changed.

Companies largely kept their word. Only a handful of corporate PACs gave to the Republican objectors, whose total corporate and industry PAC donations dropped precipitously in the first quarter versus the comparable period in the last election cycle. The losers include powerful party leaders like the House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, whose two PAC donations came from the California Beet Growers Association and the National Federation of Independent Business. Mr. McCarthy had more than 100 donations from business groups in the same period in 2017.

But there are shades of gray. Some companies gave money to specific Republicans, taking the view that not all of the 147 lawmakers are the same, a stance adopted by the Chamber of Commerce (and one that DealBook hears is being contemplated by other PACs).

  • Toyota gave to more than a dozen of the Republicans who voted against certifying the election results. A company spokesperson said Toyota “does not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification.” The company decided against giving to unspecified others, who “through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions.” After the Capitol riot, the company said it would assess its “future PAC criteria,” a more vague pledge than those of many other companies.

  • Cigna gave to Florida’s Byron Donalds, South Carolina’s Tom Rice and other House members after it said in January it would “discontinue support of any elected official who encouraged or supported violence, or otherwise hindered the peaceful transition of power.” A spokesperson for the insurer said that congressional votes are “by definition, part of the peaceful transition of power,” and that its cutoff of donations “applies to those who incited violence or actively sought to obstruct the peaceful transition of power through words and other efforts.”

Lawmakers at the forefront of the push to overturn the election raked in cash from other sources. Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas each brought in more than $3 million for the quarter, tapping into the outrage of their individual supporters. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia similarly raised $3.2 million, more than nearly every other member of House leadership. The financial haul for those with the loudest and most extreme voices, against the backdrop of the corporate pullback, highlights a shift in the Republican Party’s longtime coziness with corporate America. It also raises questions about big business’s ability to influence policy, as pressure builds on companies to weigh in on hot-button issues like restrictions on voting.

A decision on the pause to Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine could come soon. Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he expected federal health officials to decide whether to resume giving the shot as soon as Friday. The halt was reportedly imposed because of concerns that doctors would mistreat the rare instances of blood clots potentially related to the shot, according to The Wall Street Journal.

coalescing around 25 percent as the new rate, according to Axios — down from the 28 percent that President Biden has proposed, but up from the current 21 percent.

Crypto prices take a tumble. Over the weekend, cryptocurrencies suffered a big drop in value: Bitcoin, for instance, fell 15 percent. (It has since recovered somewhat.) The potential culprits: speculation about impending enforcement actions by financial regulators and power outages in the Chinese region that is home to major Bitcoin mining operations. Or crypto is just being volatile again.

selling his stake in Ant Group, the fintech company he co-founded, according to Reuters. The deliberations come amid pressure from Beijing officials on his business empire, including Ant and Alibaba.

withdrew after deciding it would be too difficult to turn The Chicago Tribune into a national publication, The Times’s Katie Robertson writes.

A dozen of the top European clubs announced plans to create a new soccer league that would rival the longstanding Champions League, The Times’s Tariq Panja reports. The plan could concentrate the billion-dollar sport’s economics with just a handful of teams — if it survives the potential legal challenges.

Meet the Super League. Twelve teams so far have signed up for the new league, which was hatched in secrecy over several months. Among them are Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United of England; Real Madrid and Barcelona of Spain; and AC Milan and Juventus of Italy. (A few more teams are expected to join.) The idea is for the league to hold exclusive midweek matches in between domestic league matches. The closed league would operate more like the N.F.L. or the N.B.A., doing away with different teams appearing in the pan-European Champions League tournament each year, based on their domestic league performance.

  • The share prices of publicly traded clubs, like Juventus and Manchester United, jumped more than 10 percent in early trading.

There’s a huge amount of money at stake. The Super League’s founding clubs would split 3.5 billion euros, or more than $4 billion, as part of its formation, or more than $400 million per team. That’s four times what the Champions League winner took home last year.

The news spurred an outcry from the establishment. The organizer of the Champions League, UEFA, criticized the proposal as a “cynical project” and has been exploring ways to block it. The governing body of European soccer also noted that FIFA, the global soccer governing body, has threatened to expel players who participate in unsanctioned leagues from tournaments like the World Cup.


— The Times’s Jeanna Smialek, on how the U.S. central bank is facing criticism as it wades into climate and racial equity issues, leading some to question its political independence.


increase in investor demand for company disclosures on things like climate-related risks, board and leadership diversity and political donations. Most recently, it issued a risk alert about the “lack of standardized and precise” definitions of E.S.G. products and services, which could lead to confusion among investors and inconsistent reporting by companies.

Blank-check companies: Special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, have been proliferating, raising many regulatory concerns. These include “risks from fees, conflicts, and sponsor compensation, from celebrity sponsorship and the potential for retail participation drawn by baseless hype, and the sheer amount of capital pouring into the SPACs,” said John Coates, the acting director of the S.E.C.’s corporate finance division, in a statement.

Bringing cryptocurrency into the mainstream: Mr. Gensler was confirmed on the day that the crypto exchange Coinbase went public, signaling a new era of legitimacy at a time when crypto rules are in flux. Blockchain executives and their growing lobby told DealBook that they welcome working with Mr. Gensler, who is more versed in crypto technology than most other policymakers. “He gets what’s going on,” Hester Peirce, an S.E.C. commissioner and vocal crypto champion, said of Mr. Gensler.

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How the G.O.P. Lost Its Clear Voice on Foreign Policy

For decades, Senator Lindsey Graham traveled the world with his friend John McCain, visiting war zones and meeting with foreign allies and adversaries, before returning home to promote the Republican gospel of an internationalist, hawkish foreign policy.

But this week, after President Biden announced that troops would leave Afghanistan no later than Sept. 11, Mr. Graham took the podium in the Senate press gallery and hinted that spreading the party’s message had become a bit lonely.

“I miss John McCain a lot but probably no more than today,” Mr. Graham said. “If John were with us, I’d be speaking second.”

Mr. McCain, the onetime prisoner of war in Vietnam, in many ways embodied a distinctive Republican worldview: a commitment to internationalism — and confrontation when necessary — that stemmed from the Cold War and endured through the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush before evolving after the Sept. 11 attacks to account for the threat of global terrorism.

has warned that a full withdrawal from Afghanistan could pose a significant national security threat.

For Republicans, the shift inward comes as their long dominance over issues of national security and international affairs is waning. Mr. Trump rejected Republican foreign policy orthodoxy but largely struggled to articulate a cohesive countervailing view beyond a vague notion of putting America first. He embraced strongmen, cast longtime allies as free riders and favored a transactional approach, rejecting any notion of the kind of values-driven foreign policy that had defined the party for decades.

The party’s foreign policy establishment found itself exiled from Mr. Trump’s government and fighting for relevance against an insurgent isolationist party base.

“To say that there is a single Republican foreign policy position is to miss what’s been happening within the conservative movement on these issue for the last 20 years,” said Lanhee Chen, a Hoover Institution scholar and policy adviser to a number of prominent Republican officials. “The characters change, the terminology changes, but the differences remain.”

Yet, that old debate carries new political resonance for the party, as it confronts the political need to develop a platform that goes beyond simply opposing whatever the Democratic administration puts in place.

“Anytime you don’t have the White House and you don’t have control of the Congress, it is a time to look inward and figure out what the predominate view is,” Mr. Chen said.

A survey conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs last year found that Republican voters preferred a more nationalist approach, valuing economic self-sufficiency, and taking a unilateral approach to diplomacy and global engagement

When asked about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, 58 percent of Republicans surveyed said the outbreak showed the United States should be less reliant on other countries, compared with just 18 percent of Democrats who said the same. Close to half of Republicans agreed that “the United States is rich and powerful enough to go it alone, without getting involved in the problems of the rest of the world,” and two-thirds said they preferred that the country produce its own goods, as opposed to buying or selling overseas.

is emerging as the most outspoken critic of Mr. Biden among former top Trump officials.

Of course, as the Fox News hosts pointed out, had Mr. Trump won re-election, the troops would have been coming home next month — with the full support of Mr. Pompeo, if not many other Republican leaders.

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With Warning to Democrats, Manchin Points the Way for Biden’s Agenda

Republican senators, singed by their experience on the pandemic aid bill, responded to Mr. Biden’s gestures to bipartisanship by issuing a chilly statement saying that the last time he made a public plea to work together, “the administration roundly dismissed our effort as wholly inadequate in order to justify its go-it-alone strategy.”

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, pushed the administration to negotiate an infrastructure measure that would represent about 30 percent of the $2.25 trillion being proposed, before turning to budget reconciliation for any additional spending increases.

“My advice to the White House has been, take that bipartisan win, do this in a more traditional infrastructure way and then if you want to force the rest of the package on Republicans in the Congress and the country, you can certainly do that,” Mr. Blunt said.

Importantly, Republicans have no interest in the corporate tax increase that would essentially undo their most significant legislative achievement of the Trump era. Neither do business groups, which have helped broker some bipartisan compromises on economic issues in the past but have lost some power in recent years as populist impulses have swept both parties.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, called the tax proposal “an effort to rewrite the 2017 tax bill,” which itself passed via budget reconciliation with no Democratic votes.

The Trump tax law “in my view was principally responsible for the fact that in February 2020 we had the best economy of 50 years,” Mr. McConnell said. “But they are going to tear that down.”

Still, business lobbyists and some lawmakers remain hopeful that Mr. Manchin’s appeal could prod Mr. Biden and congressional leaders toward a set of mini-compromises on infrastructure. Such deals could including spending big on research and development for emerging industries, like advanced batteries, in the supply chain bill, which carries bipartisan sponsorship in the Senate. They could also include spending a few hundred billion dollars on highways and other surface transportation projects. That could satisfy at least some of Mr. Manchin’s quest for bipartisanship and give both parties the ability to claim victory.

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