damaged the Church of St. Simeon, shattering the remains of the pillars on top of which its hermit namesake is said to have lived for nearly 40 years before his death in 459.

Pressure on the sites increased further last year, when a government offensive pushed nearly a million people into the rebel-controlled northwest. About 2.7 million of the 4.2 million people now living in the region have been displaced from elsewhere in Syria.

The rebel-held area is small and crowded, and people are confined, with a wall along the Turkish border to the north to keep them from fleeing and hostile government forces to the south. As the new arrivals scrambled to find shelter in destroyed buildings, olive groves and sprawling tent camps, some settled in the ancient sites.

Families with livestock liked the sites because they had more space than the crowded refugee camps. Many used the sturdy, precut stones to build animal pens or reinforce their tents.

Some sites have underground caves, where families store belongings and hide from airstrikes when they hear fighter jets overhead.

Ayman Nabo, an antiquities official with the local administration in Idlib Province, said shelling and airstrikes had damaged many historical sites while poverty and the chaos of war had encouraged illegal excavations by treasure hunters.

But the greatest threat to the sites’ survival, he said, was people making off with stones or breaking them apart to build new structures.

“If this continues, a whole archaeological site could disappear,” he said.

The local administration lacked the resources to protect the sites, but Mr. Nabo said he hoped they survived, both for future generations and for the people now trapped in what he called “a big prison,” with government forces controlling roads to the Mediterranean coast and the rest of Syria.

“We no longer have a sea,” he said. “We no longer have a river. We no longer have a forest for children to visit.” So people need the sites as “places to breathe.”

For now, they are homes of last resort for battered families.

“Whenever it rains, we get wet,” said Sihan Jassem, 26, whose family had moved three times since fleeing their home and ending up in an improvised tent of blankets and tarps amid the ruins of Deir Amman, a Byzantine village.

“The children play on the ruins and we worry that the rocks will fall on them,” she said.

Her sister, widowed by the war, lived in a nearby tent with five children.

The sun reflected off wet wildflowers, and sheep wandered among the scattered stones, grazing near an ancient wall where a modern romantic had written in spray paint, “Your love is like a medicine.”

But Ms. Jassem found no romance in her surroundings.

“We wish we had stayed in our homes,” she said, “and never seen these ruins.”

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Book by Officer Who Shot Breonna Taylor Is a New Test for Publishers

With its decision not to distribute Sergeant Mattingly’s forthcoming book, Simon & Schuster seems to be acknowledging that a distributor bears some ethical responsibility for the books it ships, a line that it had not previously crossed.

In a letter sent to employees on Friday, Jonathan Karp, the chief executive of Simon & Schuster, apologized for “the distress and disruption” caused by the controversy. He stressed that the company would continue to publish a broad ideological range of books and would not make a practice of rejecting particular titles as a distributor.

“Although all of us involved in this decision shared an immediate and strong consensus about not wanting any role whatsoever in the distribution of this particular book, we are mindful of the unsustainable precedent of rendering our judgment on the thousands of titles from independent publishers whose books we distribute to our accounts, but whose acquisitions we do not control,” Mr. Karp wrote. Simon & Schuster declined to comment further.

Post Hill, based in Brentwood, Tenn., specializes in conservative political books and Christian titles, as well as books about business, self-help and pop culture. The company was founded in 2013 and has become an outlet for voices on the right; some of its best-selling authors include prominent conservatives like Dan Bongino, Laura Loomer and Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida. Earlier this year, Post Hill acquired books by Jim Jordan, the Ohio congressman and Trump supporter, and Dr. Ronny Jackson, a Texas congressman and Trump’s former medical adviser. It has also taken on books attacking some favorite targets of conservatives, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, former President Barack Obama and Hunter Biden.

News that Post Hill was publishing Sergeant Mattingly’s book was reported earlier by the Courier Journal in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday. On Twitter, authors including Roxane Gay, Celeste Ng and Don Winslow excoriated Simon & Schuster for its involvement.

“This is absolutely disgusting, and @simonschuster (why is it ALWAYS S&S?) should be ashamed of itself,” Ms. Ng wrote.

Publishers have increasingly had to contend with revolt from their own workers in addition to public outcry. Earlier this year, employees at major publishing houses circulated an open letter calling on companies to reject submissions by former members of the Trump administration and by those who incited or supported the violence of Jan. 6, arguing that such authors “should not be enriched through the coffers of publishing.”

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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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Top health officials urge Americans to get vaccinated but barely address the J.&J. dose pause.

Three top federal health officials appeared on Capitol Hill on Thursday and implored Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, but said little about the investigation into whether the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be linked to a small number of cases of rare blood clots, or when that vaccine might be put back into use.

“Hopefully we’ll get a decision quite soon, as to whether or not we can get back on track with this very effective vaccine,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser for the coronavirus, told a House panel.

Dr. Fauci’s comments came as the future of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine hung in the balance. Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for a pause in the use of the vaccine in the wake of reports of a small number of rare blood clots in recipients. Though it is unclear whether the vaccine was responsible for the clots, injections came to a sudden halt across the country.

On Wednesday, a C.D.C. advisory panel suggested that it would be a week to 10 days before they had enough information to assess the vaccine’s risks and could make a decision about its future. In the meantime, the officials — Dr. Fauci; Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the C.D.C. director; and Dr. David Kessler, who runs the Biden administration’s vaccine effort — urged Americans to continue to get vaccinated.

an immediate pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine after six recipients in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within one to three weeks of vaccination.

  • All 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico temporarily halted or recommended providers pause the use of the vaccine. The U.S. military, federally run vaccination sites and a host of private companies, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and Publix, also paused the injections.
  • Fewer than one in a million Johnson & Johnson vaccinations are now under investigation. If there is indeed a risk of blood clots from the vaccine — which has yet to be determined — that risk is extremely low. The risk of getting Covid-19 in the United States is far higher.
  • The pause could complicate the nation’s vaccination efforts at a time when many states are confronting a surge in new cases and seeking to address vaccine hesitancy.
  • Johnson & Johnson has also decided to delay the rollout of its vaccine in Europe amid concerns over rare blood clots, dealing another blow to Europe’s inoculation push. South Africa, devastated by a more contagious virus variant that emerged there, suspended use of the vaccine as well. Australia announced it would not purchase any doses.
  • The reports of blood clots were the second recent blow to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Earlier this month, an ingredient mix-up at a Baltimore manufacturing plant owned by Emergent BioSolutions ruined up to 15 million doses of the vaccine. The F.D.A. is now inspecting the plant to see whether any vaccine doses manufactured there can be released to the public.

    About 7.7 million Americans had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as of Wednesday, accounting for less than 4 percent of the more than 198 million doses administered across the country. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are in much greater supply.

    Officials note that the blood clots are extremely rare; the handful of cases represent less than one in one million recipients, although that incidence estimate could go up if more cases are reported.

    Biden administration officials say that the absence of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine might not have a major impact on the U.S. vaccination campaign. But if use of the vaccine is severely restricted worldwide, it could prove disastrous for the global vaccination effort.

    Health officials had hoped that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, along with a similar vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, would help supply the world because they are less expensive and easier to store and handle than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

    Denmark, where two recipients suffered severe blood clots, permanently suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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    Make Way for the Travel Agents. Again.

    Nicole Piatak, a nanny from Stow, Ohio, began working with Ms. Bendel in the fall of 2019 to plan her honeymoon, a six-day trip to Hawaii, in October 2020.

    “I love travel and adventure, but planning can be very overwhelming and exhausting for me,” Ms. Piatak, who is 27, said.

    When Hawaii closed its borders to tourists last year, Ms. Bendel took the reins rebooking her trip to January.

    “Once a twice a month, I would hear from her with updates on the situation in Hawaii,” Ms. Piatak said of Ms. Bendel. “I was so upset that we weren’t able to go in October, and she just took all of it off my plate.”

    While the outlook for 2021 is more promising, travel agents are still reeling from the devastation of 2020. According to ASTA, the average agency saw business crater 82 percent last year and it laid off about 60 percent of its staff.

    “The first couple of months, travel advisers were cracking their knuckles, getting their headsets on,” said Erika Richter, ASTA’s senior communications director. “They were heads down, getting people home. Now, mind you, they weren’t getting paid.”

    Barring booking fees, which can range from $25 to around $100, depending on the type and complexity of a trip, agents typically make money with commissions from cruise lines, hotels, tour operators, sometimes airlines, often months after the client takes the actual trips. When people aren’t traveling, agents aren’t making much, if any, money.

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    How Worried Should You Be About the J&J Vaccine and Blood Clots?

    On Tuesday morning, U.S. federal health regulators recommended a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine while they investigated six reports of blood clots in women ages 18 to 48. One has died, and a second is hospitalized in critical condition.

    As of Monday, 6.8 million people in the United States had received the vaccine without any other serious adverse reactions reported.

    Experts have yet to determine to what extent, if any, the vaccine is responsible for the clots. But the investigation follows actions by European regulators who concluded that a vaccine made by AstraZeneca may also be the cause of a similar, extremely rare clotting disorder.

    U.S. and European public health experts have emphasized that for most people, the benefits of the Covid vaccines far outweigh the risks.

    recommends that people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the past three weeks should contact their doctors if they experience severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath. People should not be concerned about mild headaches and flu-like symptoms in the first few days after vaccination. Those are common, harmless side effects brought on by the immune system’s production of a defense against the coronavirus.

    During clinical trials and after vaccines go into wide use, experts keep track of any medical problems experienced by people who receive them. If an unusually large cluster of cases turns up, regulators may decide to pause a trial or stop the use of a vaccine to investigate further.

    Pauses are common, and typically the investigations reveal that the medical problems were a matter of coincidence. If the investigation reveals that a vaccine does pose a risk, regulators may write new guidance about who should or should not receive it.

    regulators have said, roughly one in 1,000 people are affected by a blood clot in a vein every year.

    But the clotting disorder of concern in the vaccine recipients is much rarer and different from typical blood clots. In addition to clotting in the brain — called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST for short — the patients all had a notably low level of platelets, which left them prone to abnormal bleeding.

    said the company was aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals who have received our COVID-19 vaccine. “In addition, we have been reviewing these cases with European health authorities,” the company said in its statement. “We have made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe.”

    At the news conference on Tuesday, Dr. Marks of the F.D.A. said the cases were “very, very similar.”

    a number of possible symptoms, including swelling in the leg, persistent abdominal pain, severe and persistent headaches or blurred vision, and tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the area where the injection was given.

    But that set of symptoms was so vague that almost immediately, British emergency rooms experienced a surge in patients who were worried that they fit the description.

    Nonetheless, German researchers say that such symptoms in vaccine recipients must be followed up. Blood tests can detect the antibodies.

    Doctors in Germany and Norway have treated patients with blood-thinning drugs to try to stop the growth of the clots, and with intravenous immune globulin, which can help eliminate the misguided antibodies that are causing the problem.

    AstraZeneca vaccines. One recipient, a physician in Florida, died from a brain hemorrhage when his platelet levels could not be restored, and others have been hospitalized. U.S. health officials have said that the cases are being investigated, but they have not reported the findings of those reviews and have yet to indicate that there is any link to the vaccines.

    Benjamin Mueller contributed reporting.

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    Covid-19 Live Updates: U.S. Calls for Pause on Johnson & Johnson Vaccine, Complicating Rollout

    Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine after six recipients in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination.

    All six recipients were women between the ages of 18 and 48. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska has been hospitalized in critical condition.

    Nearly seven million people in the United States have received Johnson & Johnson shots so far, and roughly nine million more doses have been shipped out to the states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the C.D.C., said in a joint statement. “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.”

    On a media call later on Tuesday morning, Dr. Marks said that “on an individual basis, a provider and patient can make a determination whether or not to receive the vaccine” manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.

    While the move was framed as a recommendation to health practitioners in the states, the federal government is expected to pause administration of the vaccine at all federally run vaccination sites. Federal officials expect that state health officials will take that as a strong signal to do the same. Within two hours of the announcement, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, advised all health providers in his state to temporarily stop giving Johnson & Johnson shots. In New York, the health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, said the state would halt the use of the vaccine statewide while federal officials evaluate the safety risks. Appointments for Johnson & Johnson’s shot on Tuesday at state mass sites would be honored with Pfizer doses, Dr. Zucker said.

    The authorities in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nebraska, Georgia, Indiana, Texas and Virginia also said that they would follow the call from federal health agencies.

    Scientists with the F.D.A. and C.D.C. will jointly examine possible links between the vaccine and the disorder and determine whether the F.D.A. should continue to authorize use of the vaccine for all adults or limit the authorization.

    In the media call, federal health officials tried to reassure recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine while at the same time describing symptoms that they should watch out if they received a shot within the past month.

    Dr. Schuchat said that the risk of dangerous blood clots is “very low” for people who received the vaccine more than a month ago.

    “For people who recently got the vaccine within the last couple of weeks, they should be aware, to look for any symptoms. If you receive the vaccine and develop severe headaches, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath, you should contact your health care provider and seek medical treatment,” she said. She emphasized that an emergency meeting of the C.D.C.’s outside advisory committee, which has been scheduled for Wednesday, to discuss how to handle the vaccine in the future is made up of independent experts.

    Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said she expects the pause in distributing and administrating the vaccine will last for “a matter of days” while officials investigate the cases. Officials also stressed that no serious safety problems have emerged with either of the other two federally authorized vaccines, developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

    The move could substantially complicate the nation’s vaccination efforts at a time when many states are confronting a surge in new cases and seeking to address vaccine hesitancy. Regulators in Europe and elsewhere are concerned about a similar issue with another coronavirus vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University researchers. That concern has driven up some resistance to all vaccines, even though the AstraZeneca version has not been authorized for emergency use in the United States.

    The vast majority of the nation’s vaccine supply comes from two other manufacturers, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which together deliver more than 23 million doses a week of their two-shot vaccines. There have been no significant safety concerns about either of those vaccines.

    But while shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been much more limited, the Biden administration had still been counting on using hundreds of thousands of doses every week. In addition to requiring only a single dose, the vaccine is easier to ship and store than the other two, which must be stored at extremely low temperatures.

    Jeffrey D. Zients, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said Tuesday the pause “will not have a significant impact” the Biden administration’s plans to deliver enough vaccine to be able to inoculate all 260 million adults in the United States by the end of May. With the Johnson & Johnson setback, federal officials expect there will only be enough to cover fewer than 230 million adults. But a certain percentage of the population is expected to refuse shots, so the supply may cover all the demand.

    Mr. Zients said the administration will still “reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated” by the May 31 target.

    Federal officials are concerned that doctors may not be trained to look for the rare disorder if recipients of the vaccine develop symptoms of it. The federal health agencies said Tuesday morning that “treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered” for blood clots.

    “Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given,” the statement said.

    In a news release, Johnson & Johnson said: “We are aware that thromboembolic events including those with thrombocytopenia have been reported with Covid-19 vaccines. At present, no clear causal relationship has been established between these rare events and the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine.” Janssen is the name of Johnson & Johnson’s division that developed the vaccine.

    In the United States alone, 300,000 to 600,000 people a year develop blood clots, according to C.D.C. data. But the particular blood clotting disorder that the vaccine recipients developed, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, is extremely rare.

    All of the women developed the condition within about two weeks of vaccination, and government experts are concerned that an immune system response triggered by the vaccine was the cause. Federal officials said there was broad agreement about the need to pause use of the vaccine while the cases are investigated.

    The decision is a fresh blow to Johnson & Johnson. Late last month, the company discovered that workers at a Baltimore plant run by its subcontractor had accidentally contaminated a batch of vaccine, forcing the firm to throw out the equivalent of 13 million to 15 million doses. That plant was supposed to take over supply of the vaccine to the United States from Johnson & Johnson’s Dutch plants, which were certified by federal regulators earlier this year.

    The Baltimore plant’s certification by the F.D.A. has now been delayed while inspectors investigate quality control issues, sharply reducing the supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The sudden drop in available doses led to widespread complaints from governors and state health officials who had been expecting much bigger shipments of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine this week than they got.

    A Kent State University student getting his Johnson & Johnson vaccination in Kent, Ohio, last week.
    Credit…Phil Long/Associated Press

    The authorities in Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nebraska, Georgia, Indiana, Texas and Virginia said on Tuesday that they would follow the call from federal health agencies to pause the administration of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine after six women in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination.

    CVS, the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain, also said that it would immediately stop its use of Johnson & Johnson vaccinations and was emailing customers whose appointments would be canceled. A spokesman said that CVS would reschedule appointments “as soon as possible.”

    Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio and the state’s chief health official said they were advising all state vaccine providers to temporarily halt use of the single-dose vaccine. New York’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, said the state would stop using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluate the safety risks.

    Connecticut health officials said they told vaccine providers to delay planned appointments and give an alternative option if they had the supply.

    The C.D.C.’s outside advisory committee has scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday.

    Jeff Zients, the White House Covid coordinator, said on Tuesday that the pause will not have a significant impact on the country’s vaccination campaign, which has accelerated in recent weeks as a rise in new virus cases threatens a fourth possible surge. Many states have already opened vaccination eligibility to all adults and others plan to by next week.

    “Over the last few weeks, we have made available more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna each week, and in fact this week we will make available 28 million doses of these vaccines. This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day,” Mr. Zients said in a statement.

    Even though the reaction to the Johnson & Johnson shot is rare, any questions about the safety of the shots could bolster vaccine hesitancy.

    Nearly seven million people in the United States have received Johnson & Johnson shots so far, and roughly nine million more doses have been shipped out to the states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The six women who developed blood clots were between the ages of 18 and 48. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska has been hospitalized in critical condition.

    “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the C.D.C., said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “People who have received the J&J vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider.”

    Like many states, New York had already prepared for a significant drop in its supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after federal officials said that supplies would be limited because of a production issue at a Baltimore manufacturing plant. On Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that New York expected to receive 34,900 Johnson & Johnson shots, a decrease of 88 percent from the previous week.

    Dr. Zucker, New York’s health commissioner, said that the state would honor appointments made at state-run mass vaccination sites for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by giving people the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine instead. That vaccine requires two doses, and it was not immediately clear how the state would handle the additional strain on its supply.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said that the city would work to reschedule appointments at city-run vaccine sites, giving those people the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead.

    “Every site has been told this morning to stop giving the J&J shots,” he said at a news conference.

    Mr. Cuomo received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a public appearance last month in Harlem, which he framed as an effort to boost confidence in that vaccine’s efficacy rate and to address vaccine hesitancy.

    Regulators in Europe and elsewhere are concerned about a similar issue with another coronavirus vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University researchers. That vaccine has not been authorized for emergency use in the United States.

    Students line up for vaccines at Oakland University on Friday in Rochester, Mich. Coronavirus cases in the state have continued to rise in recent weeks.
    Credit…Emily Elconin for The New York Times

    The virus is again surging in parts of the United States, but it’s a picture with dividing lines: ominous figures in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, but largely not in the South.

    Experts are unsure what explains the split, which doesn’t correspond to vaccination levels. Some point to warmer weather in the Sun Belt, while others suspect that decreased testing is muddying the virus’s true footprint.

    The contours of where the virus is resurgent can be drawn around one figure: states that are averaging about 15 new cases a day for every 100,000 people. The 23 states — including Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas — that have averaged that or fewer over the past week seem to be keeping cases relatively low, according to a New York Times database. Nationally, the country is averaging 21 new cases per 100,000 people.

    In the 27 states above that line, though, things have been trending for the worse. Michigan has the highest surge of all, reporting the most drastic increase in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks. Illinois, Minnesota and others have also reported worrisome increases.

    Nationally, reported cases in the United States are growing again after a steep fall from the post-holiday peak in January. In the past two weeks, new confirmed cases have jumped about 11 percent, even though vaccinations picked up considerably, with an average of 3.2 million doses given daily.

    Some Southern states, like Alabama and Mississippi, are lagging in vaccinations. Only about 28 percent of people in each state have received at least one shot, according to a New York Times vaccine tracker. Still, case counts continue to drop in both states.

    Health experts say cases are rising in the Northeast and Upper Midwest for several reasons, including pandemic fatigue, the reopening of schools and the resumption of youth sports.

    Hospitalizations tend to follow the trend line in cases by a few weeks, and have been rising in some states, most notably in Michigan.

    Officials are also concerned about the spread of more contagious virus variants, especially B.1.1.7, first identified in Britain. The variant is now the leading source of new coronavirus infections in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week.

    Just why those factors might affect some states more than others is hard to pinpoint, experts say.

    Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said warmer weather in Southern states and California was probably playing a role, because it allows people to gather outdoors, with less risk of transmission.

    New case reports have fallen by about 11 percent in Georgia over the past two weeks. And in Alabama, new cases are down roughly 29 percent, with a 17 percent decline in hospitalizations.

    Some experts say, though, that reduced testing in some states could be obscuring the true picture. Testing in Alabama, for instance, has started to dip, but the share of tests that come back positive has remained high, at 11.1 percent, compared with a nationwide average of 5.1 percent, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

    “People who are symptomatic and go to their provider are going to get a test,” said Dr. Michael Saag, the associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, but “the desire for people to go get tested just because they want to know what their status is has dropped off dramatically.”

    Still, Dr. Saag said, there is probably not a hidden spike in cases in Alabama right now, since hospitalizations in the state remain low.

    The first dawn prayers of Ramadan around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.
    Credit…Amr Nabil/Associated Press

    Millions of Muslims on Tuesday began celebrating a second Ramadan in the middle of the pandemic, although in many countries the first day of the holy month offered the promise of a Ramadan with fewer restrictions than last year.

    Mosques across the Middle East and other parts of the world were closed for prayer last year, and lockdowns prevented festive gatherings with friends and family. In Jerusalem, for instance, the Old City was largely empty and the Aqsa Mosque compound was closed to the public, as coronavirus cases were surging.

    But a large degree of normalcy was back on Tuesday: The Old City’s narrow alleys were crowded, sweet shops were preparing Ramadan desserts, clothing stores were open and the Aqsa compound was welcoming worshipers.

    “Last year, I felt depressed and I didn’t know how long the pandemic would last,” said Riyad Deis, a co-owner of a spice and dried fruit shop in the Old City, while selling whole pieces of turmeric and Medjool dates to a customer. “Now, I’m relaxed, I have enough money to provide for my family and people are purchasing goods from my shop — it’s a totally different reality.”

    The enthusiasm of some didn’t mean the Ramadan would go as normal. Across several countries in the Middle East, the authorities imposed limitations on customs and festivities, requiring that mosques enforce social distancing and telling worshipers to bring their own prayer rugs and to wear face masks.

    In Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, taraweeh, the optional extra prayers that worshipers can observe at night, were capped at half an hour. No one will also be allowed to spend the night in a mosque, as is common during the last 10 days of Ramadan.

    Mosques around the region were also prohibited from serving the fast-breaking meal of iftar or the predawn meal of suhoor. Though Muslims could still gather for those meals with friends and family, the authorities asked them to limit those gatherings this year.

    In Jerusalem, Omar Kiswani, the director of Al Aqsa Mosque, said he was overjoyed that the compound was open to worshipers, but still urged caution.

    “These are times of great happiness — we hope the blessed Aqsa Mosque will return to its pre-pandemic glory — but these are also times of caution because the virus is still out there,” Mr. Kiswani said.

    In Egypt, government officials and prominent television hosts linked to the authorities warned Egyptians of a third wave of infections as Ramadan approached, hinting that another curfew or other lockdown restrictions could be imposed if cases rose.

    “If you want the houses of God to remain open,” Nouh Elesawy, an official who oversees mosques at the Egyptian Ministry of Endowments, said earlier this month, “adhere to the precautionary procedures and regulations.”

    The Ramadan restrictions may hit the hardest in poor neighborhoods, where residents depend on iftar banquets usually sponsored by wealthy individuals or organizations. For those people, feasting and Ramadan gifts are likely to be rarer, with tourism still at a trickle and many small businesses still suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic.

    In Lebanon and Syria, the pandemic has worsened economic crisis that will likely squeeze people’s ability to enjoy the holy month, more than the governments’ limited restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

    In Syria, where experts say the official infection and death numbers for Covid-19 are far below the reality, the government has few restrictions in place. Worshipers will even be allowed to stand in line inside of mosques to pray together after breaking their fast, the Syrian Ministry of Religious Affairs said.

    In Lebanon, which emerged recently from a strict lockdown, shops and restaurants can operate regularly during the day but must offer only delivery service during a nighttime curfew from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

    Global Roundup

    Administering a coronavirus vaccine to a frontline worker in New Delhi, last week.
    Credit…Rebecca Conway for The New York Times

    India said on Tuesday that it would fast-track the approval of vaccines in use in other countries, a move aimed at rapidly increasing the country’s vaccine supply as it battles what is currently the world’s biggest coronavirus outbreak.

    The Indian government said that it would grant emergency authorization to any foreign-made vaccine that had been approved for use by regulators in the United States, the European Union, Britain or Japan, or by the World Health Organization. The move had been recommended by a panel of Indian scientists and eliminates a requirement for drug companies to conduct local clinical trials.

    “The decision will facilitate quicker access to such foreign vaccines” and encourage imports of materials that would boost India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, the government said in a statement.

    Earlier on Tuesday, India’s top drug regulator granted emergency approval to Sputnik V, the Russian-made vaccine, adding a third vaccine to the country’s arsenal on the same day that health officials recorded 161,736 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours.

    It was the seventh straight day that India has added more than 100,000 cases, according to a New York Times database. Only the United States has seen a faster rise in infections during the pandemic.

    India has administered about 105 million domestically produced vaccine doses for a population of 1.3 billion, but it is widely believed that the country needs to scale up inoculations rapidly because other measures have failed to control the virus. Many states have reimposed partial lockdowns and weekend curfews. In the country’s financial hub, Mumbai, health officials are racing to erect field hospitals as facilities report shortages of oxygen, ventilators and coronavirus testing kits.

    And there is the risk of a superspreading event with the gathering of millions of Hindu pilgrims for the annual Kumbh Mela festival on the banks of the Ganges River, where the authorities say they are powerless to enforce social distancing.

    India’s outbreak is reverberating worldwide as its pharmaceutical industry — which was supposed to manufacture and export hundreds of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine — is keeping most supplies at home. The approval of the Sputnik vaccine, whose first doses are expected to be available for use in weeks, offers hope that India could speed up its inoculation drive.

    But it is unclear at this stage whether India will be able to procure significant quantities of other vaccines, including the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots in use in the United States. Major Western nations have accumulated much of the global supply of those vaccines and manufacturers are struggling to meet the surging demand.

    India will import millions of Sputnik doses from Russia and then begin manufacturing the vaccine domestically, officials said. More than 850 million doses will be made, with some intended for export, Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund that has financed the vaccine’s development, said in an interview with India’s NDTV channel.

    “India is a vaccine-manufacturing hub and our strategic partner for production of Sputnik V,” Mr. Dmitriev said.

    India has more than 13.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases, the second most after the United States, and 171,058 deaths, the fourth highest toll.

    In other news around the world:

    Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, at a cabinet meeting in Berlin on Tuesday. Her government’s proposal on coronavirus restrictions would place half the country over the threshold for lockdown.
    Credit…Pool photo by Andreas Gora

    BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government moved a step closer on Tuesday to securing the right to force restrictions on areas where the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, overriding state leaders reluctant to take action.

    Ms. Merkel and her ministers approved a legislative proposal that would make it easier for the national government to enforce lockdowns and other limits on movement in regions where infection levels pass a set threshold. At current levels, it could lock down more than half of the country.

    Under Germany’s decentralized leadership structures, the 16 state leaders have been meeting regularly with the chancellor to agree on nationwide coronavirus response policies. But with different regions experiencing different rates of infection, some state leaders have been reluctant to enforce the agreed limitations, leading to confusion and frustration among many Germans.

    “I believe this amendment is as important as it is an urgent decision about how to proceed in the coronavirus pandemic,” the chancellor told reporters after meeting with her ministers.

    Parliament still has to debate and approve the proposal, which would take the form of an amendment to the Protection Against Infection Act, and that process is expected to begin this week.

    “We are in a situation where an emergency mechanism is necessary,” Ralph Brinkhaus, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union in Parliament, told reporters, before a meeting of his party lawmakers to discuss the amendment.

    Under the proposed amendment, the federal government could force stores and cultural institutions to close and enforce limits on the number of people allowed to meet up in any region where infections surpass 100 new cases per 100,000 residents over a period of seven days.

    More controversially, the law would also allow Ms. Merkel’s government to order that schools and day care centers close if the number of new infections reaches more than 200 per 100,000 inhabitants. Schools fall under the jurisdiction of the states, and local leaders are reluctant to relinquish that control.

    Germany has registered more than three million infections and more than 78,700 deaths from Covid-19 since the virus began moving through the country last spring. It recorded 10,810 new cases of infection on Tuesday, bringing the national rate of infection to more than 140 per 100,000.

    The number of patients in intensive care is expected to hit a record this month, as the country struggles to vaccinate enough people to get ahead of the spread of the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant.

    Vaccinations at a mosque in London earlier this month. Britain’s program has reached over 32 million people, more than half the adult population.
    Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

    Britain has now offered vaccinations to everyone in the country age 50 and older, the government announced late on Monday, and is extending its program to another age group, the latest sign that the national rollout is continuing at pace.

    On Tuesday, the authorities opened vaccinations to anyone 45 or older, yet the announcement came with a small hiccup: The website for the country’s National Health Service crashed for a short time after the younger cohort was invited to book appointments online.

    The new step in the country’s vaccine rollout comes as the authorities eased several restrictions in England on Monday after months of stringent lockdowns, with pubs and restaurants opened for drinks and dining outside, and nonessential shops once again opening their doors.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the moment a “hugely significant milestone” and in a statement thanked those involved with the vaccine rollout. Mr. Johnson said the country was on track to offer all adults a vaccination by the end of July. More than 32 million people across Britain have received their first dose of one of the vaccines, according to government data.

    The government said it had also already offered vaccinations to every health or care worker, and to everyone with a high-risk medical condition.

    England has also began rolling out the Moderna vaccine, which will be offered as an alternative alongside the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for those under 30, instead of AstraZeneca’s, which has been the mainstay of Britain’s program so far.

    There have been concerns about a possible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and very rare blood clots, and last week British regulators said an alternative should be provided for younger people. Potential infection still poses much greater risks than any vaccine side effect for all those over 30, they said, and could do so for younger people if cases surged again.

    “The Moderna rollout marks another milestone in the vaccination program,” Stephen Powis, the medical director of the National Health Service, said in a statement. “We now have a third jab in our armory.”

    The vaccination program, he added, “is our hope at the end of a year like no other” as he encouraged people to book their appointments.

    But despite the hopeful vaccine news and the return to public life, the country is still battling new cases of the virus, and a cluster in two London neighborhoods of a worrisome variant first discovered in South Africa has prompted mass testing. Health workers have gone door to door to urge residents to get tested, even if they are not showing symptoms, as dozens of cases have emerged. Similar measures were carried out elsewhere in the city earlier this month.

    Studies have shown that the variant contains a mutation that diminishes the vaccines’ effectiveness against it. Dr. Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser for the country’s test and trace campaign, said the cluster of cases in parts of South London was “significant.”

    “It’s really important people in the local area play their part in stopping any further spread within the local community,” she said in a statement.

    Pacific Palace, a dim sum restaurant on a commercial strip in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, has seen revenue plunge.
    Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

    More than a year after the coronavirus first swept through New York, the streets of Sunset Park in southern Brooklyn reflect the pandemic’s deep and unhealed wounds intertwined with signs of a neighborhood trying to edge back to life.

    The sidewalks are filling with shoppers and vendors. More businesses are welcoming customers. But owners still struggle to pay rent and keep their enterprises afloat, while many workers laid off after the city locked down last year remain without jobs.

    And while the rate of vaccination in New York has increased significantly, the coronavirus still percolates through this densely packed neighborhood. The ZIP code that includes Sunset Park had the highest rate of positive cases in Brooklyn in early April, nearly double the citywide rate. Some residents have expressed skepticism about the vaccines, spooked by false information circulated over TikTok and other social media.

    Adding to the stress is a spate of hate crimes and violence against people of Asian descent in New York and around the country, fed in some cases by racist claims that Asian-Americans are responsible for spreading the virus.

    About a third of the residents in Sunset Park have received at least one dose of the vaccine, roughly the same level as the city overall, according to the city health data. But local leaders say they want to push that number much higher.

    Kuan Neng, 49, the Buddhist monk who founded Xi Fang Temple on Eighth Avenue, said that people had come to him in recent weeks to express concerns over vaccines.

    “Why do I need to do that?” is a common refrain, according to Mr. Kuan, followed by: “I’m healthy now. The hard times are over, more or less.”

    “Many people want to delay and see,” Mr. Kuan said, himself included.

    The owner of the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood and 15 other movie theaters said it would not reopen after the pandemic.
    Credit…Kate Warren for The New York Times

    ArcLight Cinemas, a beloved chain of movie theaters based in Los Angeles, including the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, will permanently close all its locations, Pacific Theaters announced on Monday, after the pandemic decimated the cinema business.

    ArcLight’s locations in and around Hollywood have played host to many a movie premiere, in addition to being favorite spots for moviegoers seeking out blockbusters and prestige titles. They are operated by Pacific Theaters, which also manages a handful of theaters under the Pacific name, and are owned by Decurion.

    “After shutting our doors more than a year ago, today we must share the difficult and sad news that Pacific will not be reopening its ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters locations,” the company said in a statement.

    “This was not the outcome anyone wanted,” it added, “but despite a huge effort that exhausted all potential options, the company does not have a viable way forward.”

    Between the Pacific and ArcLight brands, the company owned 16 theaters and more than 300 screens.

    The movie theater business has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. But in recent weeks, the majority of the country’s largest theater chains, including AMC and Regal Cinemas, have reopened in anticipation of the slate of Hollywood films that have been put back on the calendar, many after repeated delays because of pandemic restrictions. A touch of optimism is even in the air as a result of the Warner Bros. movie “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which has generated some $70 million in box office receipts since opening over Easter weekend.

    Still, the industry’s trade organization, the National Association of Theater Owners, has long warned that the punishing closures were most likely to affect smaller regional players like ArcLight and Pacific. In March, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain, which operates about 40 locations across the country, announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection but would keep most of its locations operational while it restructured.

    That does not seem to be the case for Pacific Theaters, which, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, fired its entire staff on Monday.

    The reaction to ArcLight’s closing around Hollywood has been emotional, including an outpouring on Twitter.

    Firefighters at the site of COVID-19 hospital Matei Bals, after a fire broke out in one of its buildings in Bucharest, Romania, in January.
    Credit…Robert Ghement/EPA, via Shutterstock

    Three people infected with the coronavirus died at a hospital in Bucharest on Monday evening after the oxygen supply stopped functioning, according to the authorities, the latest incident involving oxygen failure, which in many countries has driven up the virus death toll.

    It was also another fatal setback for Romania’s ageing and overwhelmed health care system, which has suffered two fires in Covid-19 wards in recent months, killing at least 15 people.

    Ventilators shut down at a mobile intensive care unit set up at the Victor Babes hospital in Bucharest after oxygen pressure reached too high a level, the country’s health authorities said in a statement, depriving patients of a vital supply. In addition to the three patients who died, five others were evacuated and moved to other facilities in the city.

    Romania has recorded its highest rate of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units since the pandemic began, and on Sunday Prime Minister Florin Citu said that there were just six intensive care beds available across Romania, out of nearly 1,600.

    Intensive care units in Hungary and Poland have also been at risk of being overwhelmed, as much of Eastern Europe has struggled to cope with a third wave of infections across the continent. Some Hungarian hospitals have sought medical students and volunteers to assist in Covid-19 wards, giving training to those without previous medical experience.

    The mobile unit struck by the oxygen problem on Monday had only been in operation since Saturday, and it has epitomized long-running concerns over the country’s fragile health care system. In January, five patients died and a further 102 were evacuated from a different hospital in Bucharest after a fire broke out. In November, 10 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus died after a fire broke out in a hospital in the northeastern city of Piatra Neamt.

    Romania’s spending on health care is among the lowest in the European Union, with just over five percent of gross domestic product allocated toward it, compared with 10 percent on average among other countries of the bloc.

    More than 25,000 people who tested positive for the virus have died in Romania, and the authorities have closed schools and kindergartens throughout April as part of an extended Easter holiday.

    The authorities have so far administered more than 3.5 million vaccine doses, in a population of about 19 million.

    Alisa Stephens, a biostatistician at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, had to manage work and taking care of her children after the city went into lockdown last year.
    Credit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

    Studies have found that women in academia have published fewer papers, led fewer clinical trials and received less recognition for their expertise during the pandemic.

    Add to that the emotional upheaval of the pandemic, the protests over structural racism, worry about children’s mental health and education, and the lack of time to think or work, and an already unsustainable situation becomes unbearable.

    Michelle Cardel, an obesity researcher at the University of Florida, worries that this confluence of factors could push some women to leave the sciences.

    “My big fear is that we are going to have a secondary epidemic of loss, particularly of early career women in STEM,” she said.

    Female scientists were struggling even before the pandemic. It was not unusual for them to hear that women were not as smart as men, or that a woman who was successful must have received a handout along the way, said Daniela Witten, a biostatistician at the University of Washington in Seattle.

    Women in academia often have little recourse when confronted with discrimination. Their institutions sometimes lack the human resources structures common in the business world.

    Compounding the frustration are outdated notions about how to help women in science. But social media has allowed women to share some of those concerns and find allies to organize and call out injustice when they see it, said Jessica Hamerman, an immunologist at the Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle.

    In November, for example, a study on female scientists was published in the influential journal Nature Communications suggesting that having female mentors would hinder the career of young scientists and recommending that young women seek out male help.

    The response was intense and unforgiving: Nearly 7,600 scientists signed a petition calling on the journal to retract the paper — which it did on Dec. 21.

    The study arrived at a time when many female scientists were already worried about the pandemic’s effect on their careers, and already on edge and angry with a system that offered them little support.

    Alisa Stephens found working from home to be a series of wearying challenges. Dr. Stephens is a biostatistician at the University of Pennsylvania, and carving out the time and mental space for that work with two young children at home was impossible.

    Things eased once the family could safely bring in a nanny, but there was still little time for the deep thought Dr. Stephens had relied on each morning for her work.

    Over time, she has adjusted her expectations of herself. “Maybe I’m at 80 percent as opposed to 100 percent,” she said, “but I can get things done at 80 percent to some extent.”

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    2 Korean Battery Makers Settle Dispute That Threatened Biden’s Green Agenda

    Two South Korean manufacturers of electric vehicle batteries that are building plants in the United States said on Sunday that they had reached a $1.8 billion settlement in a trade secrets dispute that threatened the domestic battery supply and, with it, the Biden administration’s green agenda.

    The announcement came on the day of a deadline set by the United States’ trade representative to decide whether to veto an International Trade Commission ruling in the intellectual property case between LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation. The commission’s ruling in favor of LG had threatened SK with a ban on supplying batteries in the country and put its facility under construction in Georgia at risk.

    The plant, which is still under construction, will supply batteries for electric vehicles for Ford and Volkswagen, and with the settlement agreement, SK is now also free to seek business from other companies.

    The dispute had threatened the domestic supply of batteries for electric vehicles. The settlement prevents delays in the development of American electric vehicles and supplies.

    as DealBook reported on Friday.

    “A week ago, talks between these companies had stalled and 2,600 Georgia jobs were at risk,” Mr. Ossoff said in a statement. The settlement, he said, ensures “thousands of jobs, billions in future investment, and that Georgia will be a leader in electric vehicle battery production for years to come.”

    vetoed a decision by the International Trade Commission in a dispute between Apple and Samsung on public interest grounds. But such disapprovals are rare, and the settlement spared the Biden administration from having to take a position. LG is building a plant in Ohio that will supply batteries for General Motors electric vehicles, and Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, also wrote to President Biden about the dispute last month, urging the president not to veto the decision, arguing that SK should not be allowed to benefit from “stolen intellectual property” against its state workers.

    The trade commission’s decision would have excluded SK from the domestic American market while allowing the company to fulfill existing contracts to Ford and Volkswagen. But the plant in Commerce, Ga., is still under construction, and SK expressed hesitation on continuing to build it given that it would be unable to do additional business.

    LG countered that SK had overstated its importance to the domestic battery supply and suggested that another company would purchase the plant in Georgia if SK abandoned it. But any disruption to the plans in Georgia could have been a problem for American automakers and the administration, as the international battery supply for electric vehicles is already strained and the administration’s green energy transition plans rely on expanding the use and production of electric vehicles.

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    ‘The U.S. Economy Will Likely Boom,’ Jamie Dimon Predicts: Live Updates

    was published early Wednesday. The letter, which is widely read on Wall Street, is not just an overview of the bank’s business but also covers Mr. Dimon’s thoughts on everything from leadership lessons to public policy prescriptions.

    “The U.S. economy will likely boom.” A combination of excess savings, deficit spending, vaccinations and “euphoria around the end of the pandemic,” Mr. Dimon wrote, may create a boom that “could easily run into 2023.” That could justify high stock valuations, but not the price of U.S. debt, given the “huge supply” soon to hit the market. There is a chance that a rise in inflation would be “more than temporary,” he wrote, forcing the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates aggressively. “Rapidly raising rates to offset an overheating economy is a typical cause of a recession,” he wrote, but he hopes for “the Goldilocks scenario” of fast growth, gently increasing inflation and a measured rise in interest rates.

    “Banks are playing an increasingly smaller role in the financial system.” Mr. Dimon cited competition from an already large shadow banking system and fintech companies, as well as “Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and now Walmart.” He argued those nonbank competitors should be more strictly regulated; their growth has “partially been made possible” by avoiding banking rules, he wrote. And when it comes to tougher regulation of big banks, he wrote, “the cost to the economy of having fail-safe banks may not be worth it.”

    “China’s leaders believe that America is in decline.” The United States has faced tough times before, but today, “the Chinese see an America that is losing ground in technology, infrastructure and education — a nation torn and crippled by politics, as well as racial and income inequality — and a country unable to coordinate government policies (fiscal, monetary, industrial, regulatory) in any coherent way to accomplish national goals,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, recently, there is a lot of truth to this.”

    “The solution is not as simple as walking away from fossil fuels.” Addressing climate change doesn’t mean “abandoning” companies that produce and use fossil fuels, Mr. Dimon wrote, but working with them to reduce their environmental impact. He sees “huge opportunity in sustainable and low-carbon technologies and businesses” and plans to evaluate clients’ progress according to reductions in carbon intensity — emissions per unit of output — which adjusts for factors like size.

    Other notable news (and views) from the letter:

    This was Mr. Dimon’s longest letter yet, at 35,000 words over 66 pages. The steadily expanding letters — aside from a shorter edition last year, weeks after Mr. Dimon had emergency heart surgery — could be seen as a reflection of the range of issues top executives are now expected, or compelled, to address.

    Target said its commitment added to its other moves to improve racial equity in the past year,.
    Credit…Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

    Target will spend more than $2 billion with Black-owned businesses by 2025, it announced on Wednesday, joining a growing list of retailers that have promised to increase their economic support of such companies in a bid to advance racial equity in the United States.

    Target, which is based in Minneapolis, will add more products from companies owned by Black entrepreneurs, spend more with Black-owned marketing agencies and construction companies and introduce new resources to help Black-owned vendors navigate the process of creating products for a mass retail chain, the company said in a statement.

    After last year’s protests over police brutality, a wave of American retailers, from Sephora to Macy’s, have committed to spending more money with Black-owned businesses. Many of them have joined a movement known as the 15 Percent Pledge, which supports devoting enough shelf space to Black-owned businesses to align with the African-American percentage of the national population.

    Target’s announcement appears to be separate from that pledge. It said its commitment added to other racial-equity and social-justice initiatives in the past year, including efforts to improve representation among its work force.

    A Samsung store in Seoul. The company’s Galaxy S21 series of  phones have sold well in the United States since their introduction in January. 
    Credit…Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Samsung’s sales grew by an estimated 17 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, and operating profit increased by 44 percent, the company said on Wednesday. The South Korean electronics titan’s growth has been helped during the pandemic by strong demand for televisions, computer monitors and other lockdown staples.

    The company released its latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S21 series, in January. In the United States, the devices handily outsold Samsung’s last line of premium phones in their first six weeks on the market, according to Counterpoint Research, which attributed the strong performance in part to Americans receiving stimulus payments.

    Samsung’s handset business has also been buoyed of late by the U.S. campaign against Huawei, one of the company’s main rivals in smartphones. The Chinese tech giant’s device sales have plummeted because American sanctions prevent its phones from running popular Google apps and services, limiting their appeal to many buyers.

    Another competitor, LG Electronics, said this week that it was getting out of the smartphone business to focus on other products.

    Samsung’s first-quarter revenue was likely hurt by February’s winter storm in Texas, which caused the company to halt production for a while at its manufacturing facilities in Austin.

    The company is expected to report detailed financial results later this month.

    Jeff Bezos in 2019. He said in a statement on Tuesday that he applauded the Biden administration’s “focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure.”
    Credit…Jared Soares for The New York Times

    Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, said on Tuesday that he supported an increase in the corporate tax rate to fund investment in U.S. infrastructure.

    President Biden is pushing a plan to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure improvements, in part by raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, from its current rate of 21 percent.

    Mr. Bezos said in a statement on Amazon’s corporate website that he applauded the administration’s “focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure.”

    “We recognize this investment will require concessions from all sides — both on the specifics of what’s included as well as how it gets paid for (we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate),” Mr. Bezos said.

    For years, Amazon has been a model for corporate tax avoidance, fielding criticism of its tax strategies from Democrats and former President Donald J. Trump. In 2019, Amazon had an effective tax rate of 1.2 percent, which was offset by tax rebates in 2017 and 2018, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning research group in Washington. In 2020, the company paid 9.4 percent in taxes on U.S. pretax profit of about $20 billion, the group said.

    The company has said in the past that it “pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate.”

    Companies employ varied strategies to reduce their tax liabilities. In 2017, the same federal bill that lowered the tax rate to 21 percent expanded tax breaks, including allowing the immediate expensing of capital expenditures. The goal was to lift investment, but the change also caused the number of profitable companies that paid no taxes to nearly double in 2018 from prior years.

    Brandon Brown and Jeremiah Collins, students at American Diesel Training.
    Credit…Brian Kaiser for The New York Times

    American Diesel Training, a school in Ohio that prepares people for careers as diesel mechanics, is part of a new model of work force training — one that bases pay for training programs partly on whether students get hired.

    The students agree to an share about 5 percent to 9 percent of their income depending on their earnings. The monthly payments last four years. If you lose your job, the payment obligation stops.

    Early results are promising, Steve Lohr reports for The New York Times, and experts say the approach makes far more economic sense than the traditional method, in which programs are paid based on how many people enroll. But there are only a relative handful of these pay-for-success programs. The challenge has been to align funding and incentives so that students, training programs and employers all benefit.

    State and federal officials are now looking for new ways to improve work force development. President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, announced last week, includes billions for work force development with an emphasis on “next-generation training programs” that embrace “evidence-based approaches.”

    Social Finance, a nonprofit organization founded a decade ago to develop new ways to finance results-focused social programs, is seeking, designing and supporting new programs — for-profit or nonprofit — that follow the pay-for-success model.

    “There is emerging evidence that these kinds of programs are a very effective and exciting part of work force development,” said Lawrence Katz, a labor economist at Harvard. “Social Finance is targeting and nurturing new programs, and it brings a financing mechanism that allows them to expand.”

    A former Kmart in West Orange, N.J., is now a coronavirus vaccination center. The International Monetary Fund said successful vaccination programs have improved countries’ growth prospects.
    Credit…James Estrin/The New York Times

    Major U.S. and European stock indexes hovered near record highs on Wednesday after a stream of mostly upbeat economic data and the progress on vaccinations.

    U.S. stock futures were little changed on Wednesday, but the S&P 500 was set to open within half a percentage point of its record. The Stoxx Europe 600 and DAX index in Germany both fell about 0.1 percent after climbing to new highs on Tuesday.

    On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund upgraded its forecast for global economic growth and said some of the world’s wealthiest countries would lead the recovery, particularly the United States, where the economy is now projected to grow by 6.4 percent this year.

    The rollout of vaccines is a major reason for the rosier forecast in some countries, the I.M.F. said. President Biden said that he wanted states to make all adults eligible for vaccines by April 19, two weeks earlier than his previous deadline. In Britain, the Moderna vaccine was administered for the first time on Wednesday, making it the third vaccine available.

    Still, the I.M.F. warned on Tuesday against an unequal recovery because of the uneven distribution of vaccines around the world with some lower-income countries not expected to be able to vaccinate their populations this year.

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