Your Wednesday Briefing

Sicker, quicker? The virus hits young adults hard

Many doctors on the front lines say that in recent months, unvaccinated patients in their 20s and 30s have become more severely ill from the coronavirus, and more quickly.

But comprehensive data is lacking. Studies done in a handful of countries suggest that the Delta variant may cause more severe disease, but there is no definitive research showing that the new variant is worse for young adults. Some experts believe the shift in patient demographics is a result of lower vaccination rates in the group.

Still, the anecdotal evidence is growing. “Something about this virus is different in this age group,” said the chief medical officer of a Louisiana hospital.

In the U.S.: Mandates are growing. New York City will require proof of vaccination for indoor activities, including dining and going to gyms or movie theaters. Tyson Foods, with 120,000 workers, and Microsoft, with 100,000, are the latest big corporations requiring vaccinations.

The Biden administration imposed a new, 60-day federal moratorium on evictions in areas of the country ravaged by the Delta variant, a move aimed at protecting hundreds of thousands of renters.

Web attack: The Lazio region of Italy, which includes Rome, has been unable to offer vaccination appointments online because of a cyberattack on its website over the weekend.

Influencers: In a rare display of casualness, President Emmanuel Macron of France made videos on Instagram and TikTok to answer questions by vaccine skeptics.

New York’s governor faces calls to resign

Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, including current and former government workers, through unwanted groping, kisses, hugging, and inappropriate comments, according to a damning report released by Letitia James, the state’s attorney general.

The 165-page report prompted multiple calls for Mr. Cuomo to resign, including from President Biden, a longtime ally of the governor, and it cast doubt on Mr. Cuomo’s political future. The Democratic speaker of the State Assembly said Mr. Cuomo “can no longer remain in office” and that he intended to quicken the pace of a separate impeachment inquiry.

The report described in detail how Mr. Cuomo’s behavior and actions by his top officials to fight the allegations violated both state and federal law.

The response: Mr. Cuomo denied most of the report’s serious findings, reiterating his contention that he had never touched anyone inappropriately. He suggested the report was politically motivated and declared that “the facts are much different from what has been portrayed.”

Which countries will survive a climate collapse?

A pair of English researchers found that New Zealand is the nation best poised to stay up and running as climate change wreaks global havoc.

Their analysis, published in the journal Sustainability, aimed to identify places that are best positioned to carry on when or if others fall apart. The runners-up were Tasmania, Ireland, Iceland, Britain, the United States and Canada.

The model’s underlying assumption is that when many countries are collapsing at the same time, the ones that are the best set up for self-sufficiency are the most likely to keep running.

New Zealand came out on top because it has plenty of renewable energy capacity, it can produce its own food and it’s an island, meaning it is isolated from other countries.

Another view: The findings were greeted with skepticism by some academics who study topics like climate change and the collapse of civilization, saying it placed too much emphasis on the advantages of islands and failed to properly account for variables like military power.

The Latest News

At the Olympics

Karsten Warholm of Norway, second from left, set a world record and won the men’s 400-meter hurdles in 45.94 seconds.

The U.S. men’s basketball team shook off Spain with a 95-81 victory.

Guan Chenchen, 16, and Tang Xijing, 18, of China beat out Simone Biles, 24, for the top prize in the final individual event for gymnastics.

Kristina Timanovskaya, the Belarusian sprinter whose sporting dispute at the Tokyo Olympics turned into a major diplomatic incident, is an unlikely dissident. She said she just wanted to run safely.

Follow our live updates from Tokyo.

News From Europe

A heat emergency brought record temperatures and fires to Southern Europe. Greece experienced its hottest day on record, and firefighters in Turkey were battling a sixth day of wildfires, above, that forced tens of thousands from their homes.

Ukrainian police were investigating the death of a Belarusian antigovernment activist whose body was found in a park near his home in Kyiv.

Germany is testing the idea of an electrified highway as an efficient way to eliminate truck emissions. But the political obstacles are daunting.

American forces stepped up a bombing campaign in Afghanistan, but the White House and the Pentagon insisted these were the final days of combat support.

A Morning Read

In the largest-ever repatriation of looted Iraqi antiquities, 17,000 archaeological artifacts were returned by a U.S. museum and an Ivy League university. The holdings underline a thriving market in stolen antiquities, and their return was a victory in a global effort to repatriate culturally vital artifacts.


Olympic TikTok

Some of the most fun Olympics coverage isn’t coming from the major broadcasters — it’s on TikTok.

Athletes from a host of countries have been posting everything from day-in-the-life videos at the Olympic Village, such as one shared by Nick Rickles, an Israeli baseball player, to stress tests of the much-discussed cardboard bed frames, like the one posted by the New Zealand swimmer Lewis Clareburt.

Athletes’ performances in prime time can be limited to mere seconds, with the focus on whether they win a medal. But on the app, they can be more personable. Courtney Hurley, an American fencer, poked fun at herself after she drummed up enthusiasm for her game and then lost. When they win, the athletes can share the joy — as did Jessica Fox, an Australian who won gold in canoe slalom.

Some of the content shows the grueling training that Olympians go through, like Australian divers doing handstands on treadmills and New Zealand athletes pushing cars and lawn mowers.

But most of it is just fun. Ilona Maher, an American rugby player, posted videos of herself and her teammates engaging in silliness in the dining halls, professing love for Jennifer Lopez and basking in TikTok fame. It’s a reminder that many of the athletes are just twentysomethings or even teens. — Melina Delkic


What to Cook

Tender fish skewers topped with herbs and lime are a great weeknight meal.

What to Read

Three new memoirs explore dealing with illness and have a lot to say about desire, pain and unlikely sources of joy.


Experts are starting to better understand irritable bowel syndrome, and new research offers hints at possible treatments.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Team track event (five letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Victoria

P.S. Soumya Karlamangla is our new California Today newsletter writer. Sign up here.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about American businesses struggling to find workers.

You can reach Victoria and the team at [email protected].

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