U.S. Virus Surge, Hong Kong, Pride: Your Monday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering the surge in U.S. coronavirus cases, Beijing’s quick moves to enact a security law for Hong Kong and flying the rainbow flag for a Pride march in central Taipei.

Testing sites in the U.S. were overwhelmed this past weekend in the hard-hit states of Arizona, Florida and Texas.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have risen 65 percent over the past two weeks, and now total more than 2.5 million. Some administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, say the surge in cases is linked to increased testing, but health officials disputed that claim.

“There’s also no doubt that the virus has the upper hand,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida, Nevada and South Carolina hit single-day records for new cases on Saturday, which was also the third consecutive day with more than 40,000 new cases in the country.

Here are our latest updates and maps tracking the outbreak.

In other developments:

  • The Houthis, the Iran-backed militia that controls most of northern Yemen, have driven African migrants out of their territory at gunpoint over the past three months, blaming them for spreading the coronavirus. Thousands have been dumped in the desert without food or water.

  • Polish voters were required to bring their own pens to polling stations and wear masks to take part in Europe’s first presidential election since the pandemic.

  • Italy reported its lowest number of daily deaths since early March. And for the first time since the start of the pandemic, Spain’s capital region did not register a single virus fatality on Saturday, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the regional leader of Madrid, said on Sunday.

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I sensed right from the start that this musical, with its cast made up mostly of actors of color and its score influenced by hip-hop and pop music, was going to be a huge story. I remember being determined, that summer, to land an article about the production on the front page, convinced that the paper needed to make a big early statement about the show as a game-changing reflection on our culture, our politics and our history. Ultimately, the Page 1 gods agreed. I was traveling in Spain when it happened; I felt so affirmed that I didn’t mind the time-zone-busting copy desk questions.

A feature that followed about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical upbringing was particularly fun to report — as we explored the Venn diagram in which show tunes and hip-hop overlap, he started playing random songs from his iTunes library and riffing about what each one meant to him.

The story I waited longest for was about Miranda’s relationship to Puerto Rico, where his parents grew up and where he spent his childhood summers. The island’s influence on his art had always struck me as significant and underexplored. I knew the best way to tell that story would be to see Puerto Rico through his eyes, at least as much as a journalist can, and when he announced that he was bringing “Hamilton” to San Juan, I had my peg. I asked to meet him there, and in fall 2018 he agreed; a devastating hurricane and campus unrest made the story more complex than either he or I could have anticipated, and I’m glad we did it.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Carole

Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about Texas’ pause in reopening during the pandemic.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Big industry in Los Angeles and Nashville (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Dean Baquet, our executive editor, spoke to Longform Podcast about leading change at The New York Times.

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