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Your Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times

Officials across the United States, from President Biden to the bottom, have insisted they are no longer in the closures business and will not order any closures to contain the latest wave of coronavirus cases.

But Omicron complicates that decision: so many workers test positive that businesses, schools, government agencies and more are crippled by staff shortages that are forcing them to shut down operations anyway.

The seven-day average of new daily cases in the country is now over 400,000, triple that of two weeks ago.

Airlines have canceled thousands of flights in recent weeks for lack of crew. The plays were closed due to employee outbreaks. Companies that intend to return to office have abandoned or reconfigured their plans. Universities and public schools are delaying return to class or implementing distance education.

Staff shortages affect all corners of society. Police and paramedics had to stay home, leaving New York City to ask residents not to call 911 except in an absolute emergency. All of this comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cut the isolation period for people with Covid-19 in half to five days.

And hospitals are struggling to keep up. One in four US hospitals with intensive care units say it’s at or near full capacity, according to a Times tracker.

Overall picture: The world registers an average of almost 1.5 million new cases every day, twice as many a day as almost a week ago

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other pandemic developments:

After having spoiled it for a long time, European leaders now largely regard Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban as an existential threat to a bloc that presents itself as a model of human rights and the rule of law.

The bloc is trying to bring it under control as it tries to consolidate power, and it could exert a new level of interference in the affairs of member states. This year, the European Court of Justice will issue a ruling on whether the bloc has the power to allocate funds to member states as long as it respects its core values. This could block countries that violate these values ​​of billions of euros.

Interviews with current and former EU officials show how feelings towards Orban have evolved from leniency to recognition that he has become a serious internal threat, and why many officials have been slow to act.

Quote: A former European Council adviser said the council was “like a club, where Viktor is just one of them”. He added that the leaders “would rather not mind each other’s hot potatoes or each other’s business when they can avoid it.”

Ally of the United States: Former President Donald Trump backed Orban for re-election. Orban was an early supporter of Trump, endorsing him in the summer of 2016 and again in 2020.

The Sudanese army and security forces are regaining full control after the departure of civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Sunday.

Clashes between protesters and security forces have affected the capital, Khartoum, and beyond in recent weeks, and there are fears of an escalation. At least 57 people have died, a group of doctors said. The Sudanese military leader has vowed to form “an independent government,” but experts say it won’t be easy without the political structures or independent bodies in place to legitimately appoint a new prime minister.

In the months since the transitional Hamdok government came to power, it signed a peace deal with rebel groups, banned female genital mutilation and was struck off the U.S. list of states that support terrorism. These changes, with Hamdok as prime minister, have given hope to many Sudanese that their nation is improving.

Details: Hamdok took office in 2019 as part of a power-sharing deal negotiated between civilian and military forces after widespread protests toppled the country’s longtime dictator, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The military removed Hamdok from his post on October 25, then relocated him a month later after signing an agreement with them. Protesters and political parties denounced the deal.

Quote: “It is very clear that the army and its alliance will not hand over power peacefully, so they will try to crush resistance peacefully,” said Dr Sara Abdelgalil, former president of the group of doctors. “We expect the worst”

Other great stories

Each year, thousands of people gather at a temple complex in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, in honor of Shiva, one of Hinduism’s most revered gods. Here’s a visual exploration.

Lives lived: Richard Leakey, a Kenyan paleoanthropologist and fossil hunter whose findings helped cement Africa’s place as the cradle of humanity, has died at the age of 77.

Hades is the first video game to win a Hugo Award, the award for science fiction and fantasy that has historically graced books, graphic novels and other written works.

The game, from developer Supergiant Games, follows the story of Zagreus – the son of the game’s eponymous god – as he attempts to escape the underworld. Along the way, he battles all manner of hellish creatures and meets a wide range of characters, including the gods of Olympus. He also discovers family secrets and understands why his father made seemingly unsavory decisions.

The inclusion of video games in the Hugo Awards, whose organizers are consider making permanent, testifies to the road traveled by the medium. At the start of Pong in the 1970s, or the original Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda in the 1980s, technology limited the amount of text a game could include. Today, a game’s storytelling can be its biggest selling point, whether it’s a big-budget sci-fi epic, like the Mass Effect Trilogy, or an indie game created by a small team, like Celeste.




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