(Want to get this newsletter in your inbox? Here’s the sign-up.
Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. A third wave of coronavirus threatens Europe, just as Germany, France and Italy have suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Italy imposed another national lockdown to stop the latest virus spread, driven by more infectious variants. Cases are spiking across the continent. Above, a deserted piazza in Milan today.
At the same time, Germany, France and Italy paused the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, pending an investigation by the European Medicines Agency, over concerns that it might be tied to blood clots.
Leading public health agencies say they have not found a causative link. The drug company said 17 million people in Europe and Britain had received its shots, without any issues with drug clots lower than would be expected in the general population.
In the U.S., Mississippi becomes the second state, after Alaska, to open its vaccinations to all adults. President Biden has called on all states to open eligibility completely by May 1. Almost 90 percent of Americans vaccinated by Feb. 14 had completed their two-shot regimen and were considered fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If a fear of needles is keeping you from being vaccinated, experts suggest some ways to overcome it.
2. Diplomacy, vaccine-style.
China had been on the defensive in Brazil, where leaders were threatening to blackball the Chinese technology firm Huawei. Then pandemic politics upended everything.
With Brazil reeling from a surge in cases last month, the country’s communications minister went to Beijing to make a very unusual request of Huawei: more vaccines. The Chinese government quickly offered up millions of doses, and Brazil abruptly announced that Huawei would be allowed to bid for 5G wireless networks.
The thaw in relations represents one of the biggest victories in Beijing’s “vaccine diplomacy” outreach — especially as rich countries, including the U.S., hoard millions of doses. Above, bottling the Chinese vaccine in São Paulo.
3. President Biden and Democrats are betting big that the coronavirus relief plan and vaccine rollout will be a hit with voters, forestalling a potential Republican comeback.
In remarks this afternoon, Mr. Biden heralded his administration’s distribution of both stimulus checks and Covid-19 vaccines. He also introduced Gene Sperling, a longtime Democratic policy aide, as his pick to oversee implementing the $1.9 trillion package. Above, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, signing the bill in an enrollment ceremony last week.
Democrats are now starting to angle for gains in the 2022 midterm elections, even though the party in power usually loses in the midterms. In 2010, the last time Democrats were in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, the party lost 63 House seats, and the majority, and was unable to fulfill President Barack Obama’s goals on issues ranging from gun control to immigration.
The package also includes the largest ever single infusion of federal aid for public transportation, allowing agencies to scrap plans for draconian cuts.
Though the pandemic recession has been painful, our economics reporter explains how the U.S. got it (mostly) right in rescuing the economy.
4. The Justice Department charged two men in the assault on Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who died after fighting rioters who were storming the Capitol.
George Pierre Tanios, 39, of West Virginia and Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania were arrested on Sunday on charges of assaulting officers, including Officer Sicknick, with a chemical spray during the riot on Jan. 6. Above, last month’s Capitol Hill tribute to the officer.
It is not clear whether Officer Sicknick died because of his exposure to the spray. The Capitol Police said he “was injured while physically engaging with protesters” at the riot and a day later “returned to his division office and collapsed.” His death has been a major focus for law enforcement officials investigating the riot.
5. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain met with law enforcement officials after the London police faced a firestorm of criticism for cracking down on a vigil on Saturday.
Officials are investigating police tactics at the event, which had been declared unlawful because of coronavirus restrictions. The vigil honored Sarah Everard, 33, whose killing touched off a national outcry over misogyny and violence. A Metropolitan Police officer has been charged in her death.
Activists want to know why the police — who reportedly told residents in the South London neighborhood where Ms. Everard disappeared to stay inside for their own safety — were demanding sacrifices from women rather than forcing men to forsake violence. In Australia, parallel protests were held in at least 40 cities. Above, a protest in London today.
Later this week, Parliament is set to debate legislation that would grant the police more powers to control protests. Mr. Johnson said the bill would also increase sentences for rapists and tackle domestic violence.
6. Many New Yorkers want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to stay in office, a poll shows.
Slightly more than a third of New Yorkers in a Siena College poll said they believed that the governor had committed sexual harassment, while 24 percent believed he had not. Half of those surveyed said he should not resign.
Both of New York’s senators, along with most of the state’s Democratic congressional delegation, have called for Mr. Cuomo to resign after allegations of sexual harassment and of creating a toxic work environment. Above, the governor at a Long Island vaccination site today.
The state’s lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul — a veteran politician who would be New York’s first female governor if Mr. Cuomo resigns or is removed from office — has sought to exude an attitude of normalcy through carefully controlled public appearances and statements.
7. The Vatican said that priests could not endorse same-sex marriages, even as it called for the Roman Catholic church to be more welcoming toward gay people.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the judgment in response to questions raised by some pastors and parishes that sought to be more inclusive of gay couples. Above, St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.
Pope Francis had asked bishops to develop projects and proposals “so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can receive the assistance they need to understand and fully carry out God’s will in their lives.” Blessings for same-sex unions had emerged as one possibility, requiring official clarification.
9. The bracket was the easy part of basketball’s March Madness.
On the heels of Sunday’s choice of Baylor, Gonzaga, Illinois and Michigan as the No. 1 seeds for the Division I men’s tournament, the money-losing N.C.A.A. must now try to pull off its signature event during a pandemic.
If the competitions exacerbate the public health crisis, college sports leaders will face scrutiny about whether they had prized money more than safety. Games start on Thursday.
10. And finally, a European Yellowstone?
Tucked away in an unlikely corner of the European Union, an immense conservation project is underway.
In the highest reaches of the Southern Carpathian Mountains of Romania, above, where limestone cliffs are surrounded by deep valleys, soaring mountains and thick forests, a “rewilding” initiative aims to return landholdings to the public as a national park and wildlife reserve.
Progress is slow, and there will likely be many roadblocks to the dream of a site as epic as Yellowstone National Park. The photographer Nicholas J.R. White takes us on a journey of words and pictures as conservation rangers there begin their mission.
Have a panoramic evening.