The New York Times - USA (2020-10-16)

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VOL. CLXX.... No. 58,848 © 2020 The New York Times Company FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020


March 1 New cases per day in the U.S. Oct. 13


OCT. 13

31,709 new cases

October 13

July 19

U.S. Virus Cases Climb Toward Third Peak

The number of new coronavirus cases in the United States is surging once again after growth slowed in
late summer. While the geography of the pandemic is now shifting to the Midwest and to more rural areas,
new case counts are trending upward in most states, many of which are setting weekly records.

Before the recent surge, the average number of new coronavirus cases per
day last peaked in July. The South and West were particularly affected.


April 10

The average number of new coronavirus cases in the nation first peaked in April, when
New York City and its surrounding areas were hit hard. New Orleans, southwest Georgia
and some resort towns in the West also saw some of the spring’s worst outbreaks.


Source: Coronavirus case data is from a New York Times database of reports from state and local health
agencies and hospitals. | Note: Cases shown for a given date are those reported in the preceding two weeks.


BOQUILLA, Mexico — The
farmers armed themselves with
sticks, rocks and homemade
shields, ambushed hundreds of
soldiers guarding a dam and
seized control of one of the border
region’s most important bodies of
The Mexican government was
sending water — their water — to
Texas, leaving them next to noth-
ing for their thirsty crops, the
farmers said. So they took over
the dam and have refused to allow
any of the water to flow to the
United States for more than a
“This is a war,” said Victor
Velderrain, a grower who helped
lead the takeover, “to survive, to
continue working, to feed my fam-

The standoff is the culmination
of longstanding tensions over wa-
ter between the United States and
Mexico that have recently explod-
ed into violence, pitting Mexican
farmers against their own presi-
dent and the global superpower
next door.
Negotiating the exchange of
water between the two countries
has long been strained, but rising
temperatures and long droughts
have made the shared rivers
along the border more valuable
than ever, intensifying the stakes
for both nations.
The dam’s takeover is a stark
example of how far people are
willing to go to defend livelihoods

Battle Over Water as Drought

Parches Both U.S. and Mexico


Mexican farmers seized the Boquilla Dam in a feud with the U.S.


Continued on Page A

WASHINGTON — After an am-
bitious expansion of the safety net
in the spring saved millions of
people from poverty, the aid is
now largely exhausted and pov-
erty has returned to levels higher
than before the coronavirus crisis,
two new studies have found.
The number of poor people has
grown by eight million since May,
according to researchers at Co-
lumbia University, after falling by
four million at the pandemic’s
start as a result of a $2 trillion
emergency package known as the
Cares Act.
Using a different definition of
poverty, researchers from the
University of Chicago and Notre
Dame found that poverty has
grown by six million people in the
past three months, with circum-
stances worsening most for Black
people and children.
“These numbers are very con-
cerning,” said Bruce D. Meyer, an
economist at the University of
Chicago and an author of the
study. “They tell us people are
having a lot more trouble paying
their bills, paying their rent,
putting food on the table.”
Underscoring those concerns,
the Labor Department reported
on Thursday that about 886,
people filed new claims for unem-
ployment benefits last week, an
increase of nearly 77,000, or 9.
percent, from the previous week.
Adjusted for seasonal variations,
the total was 898,000.
The recent rise in poverty has
occurred despite an improving job
market since May, an indication
that the economy had been re-
bounding too slowly to offset the
lost benefits. And now the econ-
omy is showing new signs of de-
celeration, amid layoffs, a surge in





The Cares Act Bolstered

Jobless Benefits but

Left a Vacuum


Continued on Page A

Since 2016, when Russian
hackers and WikiLeaks injected
stolen emails from the Hillary
Clinton campaign into the closing
weeks of the presidential race,
politicians and pundits
have called on tech
companies to do more
to fight the threat of
foreign interference.
On Wednesday, less than a
month from another election, we
saw what “doing more” looks
Early Wednesday morning, the
New York Post published a
splashy front-page article about
supposedly incriminating photos
and emails found on a laptop
belonging to Hunter Biden, the
son of Joseph R. Biden Jr. To
many Democrats, the unsubstan-
tiated article — which included a
bizarre set of details involving a
Delaware computer repair shop,
the F.B.I. and Rudy Giuliani, the
president’s personal lawyer —
smelled like the result of a hack-
and-leak operation.
To be clear, there is no evi-
dence tying the Post’s report to a
foreign disinformation campaign.
Many questions remain about
how the paper obtained the
emails and whether they were
authentic. Even so, the social
media companies were taking no

Eyes on 2016,

Social Media

Tackles 2020



Continued on Page A

United Airlines has focused on finding
savings while serving the few pas-
sengers who still want to fly. PAGE B


Planning Around a Pandemic

“Jagged Little Pill,” with Lauren Patten,
above, leads the pack in nominations
for Broadway’s abridged year. PAGE C


Tonys for a Shortened Season

Hopes for a rebound of the American
economy have been dimmed by layoffs
and a surge in virus cases. PAGE B

886,000 New Jobless Claims

The presidential candidates have sharp
differences on energy, public lands and
environmental priorities. Here’s some
help understanding them. PAGE A


Climate on the Ballot: A Guide
College football’s biggest league post-
poned two games, and Alabama’s coach
tested positive for the virus. PAGE B


A Crisis a Day for the SEC

Orthodox Jewish leaders in New York
City have seen a faction grow of young
men who are tired of pandemic rules
and resentful of the authorities. PAGE A

Hasidic Backlash Grows

Children of immigrants, whether born
or raised in the U.S., accounted for
nearly 60 percent of the growth in
college enrollment since 2000. PAGE A

Diversifying Student Bodies

A conservative Washington power
couple has reshaped social policy and
the courts needed to uphold it. Now the
Supreme Court is in reach. PAGE A

Mission Nearly Accomplished

Friends of Pham Doan Trang, a journal-
ist and activist, released a letter in
which she foretold her arrest. PAGE A


A Fear Realized in Vietnam
Spike Lee joins forces with David Byrne
for an exuberant concert movie.
Manohla Dargis has the review. PAGE C

A Glimpse of ‘American Utopia’

The incoherence of British lockdown
regulations is on full display in English
soccer. PAGE B

Distancing, and Bewildering

Jennifer Senior PAGE A



During two grueling days of
questioning over her Supreme
Court confirmation, Judge Amy
Coney Barrett did her best to
avoid controversy. But her ef-
forts to play it safe on the subject
of climate change have created
perhaps the most tangible back-
lash of her hearings.
In her responses, the nominee
to take the place of Ruth Bader
Ginsburg, an environmental
stalwart, used language that
alarmed some environmentalists
and suggested rough going for
initiatives to fight climate
change, if as expected she wins
confirmation and cements a 6-
conservative majority on the
On Thursday, the last of four
days of confirmation hearings,
Republicans on the Senate Judi-
ciary Committee set a committee
vote on Judge Barrett’s nomina-
tion for Oct. 22 hoping to speed a
final vote to as soon as Oct. 26 —
one week and a day before Elec-
tion Day.
As she did on judicial matters,
such as her views on Roe v.
Wade, Judge Barrett declined to
state her thoughts on climate
change in exchange after ex-
change this week, equating her
evasions to the well-established
precedent of refusing to com-
ment on issues that could come
before the court.
But with Senator Kamala
Harris of California, the Demo-
cratic candidate for vice presi-
dent, Judge Barrett, the daugh-
ter of an oil executive, went
further. She described the settled
science of climate change as still
in dispute, compared to Ms.
Harris’s other examples, includ-
ing whether smoking causes
cancer and the coronavirus is
“Do you believe that climate

Barrett Ducks

Climate Issue,

Raising Alarm

‘Controversial,’ Judge

Calls Global Warming


Continued on Page A

At the Rego Center, a small mall
in Queens, handwritten signs that
were common during the early
days of the pandemic have once
again started to pop up: “We’re
closed! Estamos cerrados!”
But a short walk away, at the
Queens Center, shoppers carrying
heavy bags busily maneuvered
through the four-story mall. Din-
ers ate at a first-floor Shake
The only difference was that the
two malls were on opposite sides
of a line on a map, hastily drawn
last week by the office of Gov. An-
drew M. Cuomo, that separated
areas of Brooklyn and Queens
where coronavirus cases have
been dangerously spiking — red
zones, he called them — from
neighboring areas that had lesser
Over the span of a few days,
New York City has undergone a
striking reversal of fortune. On
the first day of October, restau-
rants had just reopened for indoor
dining, subway ridership hit its
highest level since the pandemic
began and Mayor Bill de Blasio
hailed the start of in-person public
school, the only big-city mayor to
even attempt such a feat.
“We did it. You did it. New York
City did it,” the mayor declared.
“This is a key moment in our re-
But now, New York enters a pre-
carious stage as city and state
leaders try something novel for an
American city during the pan-
demic: simultaneously allowing
reopenings in some neighbor-
hoods while ordering businesses
and schools to close in others.
No other state has tried such a
granular approach to rising cases,
public health experts said, opting
instead for closures at the county
or state level. New York State’s
plan cuts through city neighbor-
hoods, ZIP codes and, in some
cases, even streets.
State and city officials hope this
approach will prevent the need for

New York City

Fights Covid-

Block by Block

Scattershot Approach

to Avert Full Closure


Continued on Page A

Faced with soaring coronavirus
caseloads, some universities told stu-
dents to “stay put” for 14 days. PAGE A


Voices From Quarantine U.

Printed in Chicago $3.

Sunshine and clouds. Scattered
showers, mainly this afternoon and
evening. Highs in the upper 40s to
the 50s. Partly cloudy tonight. Lows
in the 30s. Weather map, Page A24.

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