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Virus Variants, Capitol Hill, NCAA: Your Weekend Briefing

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Here are the best stories of the week and a glimpse of the future.

1. The coming months could be a painful chapter in the Americas’ fight against the pandemic.

Falling infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus have masked an increase in more contagious forms of the coronavirus, scientists say. As of March 13, variant B.1.1.7, which devastated Britain and wreaked havoc in Europe, accounted for around 27% of new cases nationwide, up from just 1% in early February.

The best way to think about B.1.1.7 and other variants is to treat them as separate outbreaks, one expert said.

Currently, most vaccines appear to be effective against the variants. But public health officials are deeply concerned that future iterations may require Americans to receive regular boosters or even new vaccines. Above, a vaccination site in Los Angeles.

More than three million people in the United States now receive Covid vaccines every day. We answered the most common questions about the side effects of vaccination.

2. We learned even more about the driver who crashed his car into two Capitol Hill cops on Friday, leaving one dead and the other injured. He was fatally shot after exiting the vehicle with a knife.

3. Donald Trump’s supporters who thought they were sending just one donation have been indicted time and time again by his campaign operation.

A Times investigation found the charges were part of an intentional ploy to boost the earnings of ailing Mr Trumps during the presidential campaign. Recurring online donations have been implemented by default, and a fine print disclaimer and disclaimer have become increasingly difficult to find.

Refund requests have increased, and complaints to banks and credit card companies have skyrocketed. The magnitude of the money involved is staggering for politics: In total, the Trump campaign and the Republican Party raised $ 1.2 billion with WinRed, a for-profit donation processing service, and repaid about it. 10%.

In fact, the overcharges were an interest-free loan that was ultimately paid off with some of the tens of millions of dollars Mr. Trump raised after the election under the guise of continuing his unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.

5. Ten witnesses to the death of George Floyds, aged 9 to 61, spoke this week during the trial of Derek Chauvins, united in their anger, sadness and guilt.

Together, they painted a picture of what happened in a corner of Minneapolis that went beyond the gruesome and widely circulated video of Mr. Floyd shouting he couldn’t breathe as Mr. Chauvin walked away. knelt on his neck. The often tearful testimonies highlighted the trauma of May 25, 2020 and the burden of witnessing a violent death in slow motion.

The more the knee was on his neck and the shimmies happened, the more you saw Floyd disappear, testified Donald Williams, a 33-year-old mixed martial arts fighter who works as a security guard.

The trial will resume on Monday. Catch up on the main takeaways so far.

6. Religious life in Jerusalem is returning to normal thanks to the deployment of vaccines from Israel, the world leader.

On Friday, crowds returned to the streets of the old town, with one of Christianity’s most solemn commemorations, the Good Friday procession, above, as Christians walked down the Via Dolorosa, along which they believe that Jesus carried the cross on which he was crucified.

Elsewhere, Easter is always very different. In New York, churches are hoping that increased attendance at services will bring back donations whose absence caused financial hardship during the pandemic.

And in Europe, Brexit ruined Easter for British chocolate makers, turning exports to Europe into a logistical nightmare.

7. We have all hit a wall.

You often wonder what time is it? What day is it? Why am I standing in front of the refrigerator staring at an old clove of garlic? You’re not alone. A year of uncertainty and loss has left many in a fog.

One expert said the condition can lead to anhedonia, or the loss of the ability to enjoy activities. Another said that the longevity of pandemics has contributed to the feeling that time moves differently and has weakened our ability to form meaningful new memories. Resilience seems rare.

Nearly 700 people responded to a The Times question about burnout. Perhaps some of the feelings of your fellow readers will strike you as true.

8. Gonzaga, the undefeated seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, will face Baylor for the championship on Monday night.

Jalen Suggs hit a 40-foot-3 pointer to the buzzer to give Gonzaga a 93-90 overtime victory over UCLA Baylor was barely challenged in the other semifinal, crushing Houston, 78-59.

But first, the women’s championship game. Arizona, the disruptive and defensive newcomer, ousted Connecticut, the most decorated program in women’s college basketball, Friday night to advance to the final. The Wildcats will play at tournament-seeded Stanford. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. EST on ESPN tonight.

9. Big Bird goes to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Alex Da Corte, known for his provocative and colorful installations, will present the beloved Sesame Street character this spring atop the New York Museum. But his version of the 8-foot-2 model of empathy and seriousness has a twist: the metal and fiberglass bird, now blue instead of yellow, will appear perched on a crescent moon and suspended on a mobile that swings in response to air. currents.

Also at the Met: A miniature portrait commissioned by the 17th century Mughal Emperor who built the Taj Mahal. Our reviewer Jason Farago explains how the stunning detail of the 8 inch painting reveals a masterclass in the political uses of cultural hybridity and stunning, superhuman beauty.

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