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As the pandemic came to life, it also stole hopes

The Covid-19 scythe was ruthless as it was devastating nation after nation, demanding everything types of people in a death toll now approaching 2 million.

The elderly, especially those in nursing homes, have been reduced to tragic proportions. The same goes for health care workers, black Americans and native people. At various times, it was New Yorkers, Northern Italians, Peruvians, Brazilians, Indians.

People in many professions have suffered: teachers, police, politicians and former professional athletes; university professors, preachers, musicians and journalists. The couples died within days of each other. Even a survivor of the 1918 Spanish Flu died.

Here is another, less obvious category: those who were starting new chapters in their lives – a second act career, a home after homelessness, freedom after unjust imprisonment, love regained, parenthood. For them, in the words of poet Philip Larkin, the loss was “time / ripped unused”.

The Yale School of Drama class of 1980 included a young woman named Margaret Holloway, an aspiring director, comedian and playwright full of promise. Mental illness and addiction stepped in, and Ms. Holloway became a tousled, often homeless New Haven street figure, accelerating change with dramatic readings from Shakespeare. Finally, over the past few years, she has regained stability: permanent residence in a retirement home with regular meals, clean clothes, and visits from friends.

Willie Levi, whose life has been so long marked by near bondage, was released 11 years at the end. He and other men with intellectual disabilities were sent in 1974 to a turkey processing plant in Iowa; for decades they were confined to a miserable dormitory, earned a pitiful salary, and suffered abuse. It was not until 2009, spurred on by newspaper articles, that local authorities intervened and freed the men.

Myles Coker was sent to life imprisonment for heroin trafficking, leaving his two young sons without a father present. But by an oversight, Mr. Coker was never informed that the sentence was reducible. His sons and his lawyer understood this, and after nearly 23 years in prison, Mr Coker was released. He still had six years of freedom.

The road to a career or a stable job can be long and difficult for many. Several victims of the pandemic have walked this road and reached a settlement, but hardly had time to live there.

The Halfway Club at Casale, the oldest restaurant in Reno, Nevada, had been part of Tony Stempeck’s family for over 80 years. When her mother passed away on September 26, it did pass to her. He died less than a month later.

Yves-Emmanuel Segui was a pharmacist in his native Ivory Coast; after emigrating to the United States, it took him eight years to pass the exam necessary to practice here, and seven more to find stable employment in the field. He died less than a year later.

Marni Xiong, a community and labor organizer in St. Paul, Minnesota, had political ambitions – she was considering becoming the city’s first Hmong mayor. She was on the right track when she was elected president of the school board in January. Six months later, Ms. Xiong was dead.

Vanee Sykes discovered her calling six years ago, upon release from prison for a white collar crime: to establish and lead programs to help women make the transition from prison to family life.

After years of more lows than highs in theater, Nick Cordero achieved success in the 2014 musical “Bullets Over Broadway”, leading to a succession of other Broadway roles. He died on July 5.

In Brazil, José Luiz da Silva, the son of a poor peasant, achieved a celebrity of a different kind. His “What, am I worried?” The response to a 2016 social media post mocking his small stature and high-pitched voice went viral, and he was rocketed to internet stardom – which he turned into TV and music video appearances. .

Covid victims had reached so many other stages before their deaths. Israel Sauz, the assistant night shift manager of a gas station in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had been a father for only three weeks; Lorena Borjas, an activist on behalf of transgender people, many of whom are immigrants, became a citizen last year; David Toren had doggedly sought to recover a precious painting that had been looted from his family by the Nazis; he had possession of it for only five of his 94 years.

Stuart Cohen, a taxi driver, discovered Buddhism. Kimarlee Nguyen, an English high school student and accomplished short story writer, had started a novel. Raymond Copeland, a New York sanitation worker, had found love after raising his three daughters as a widower; he was considering buying a house with his fiancee.

As his friend Mike Arroyo said, perhaps speaking of so many Covid victims, “Ray was living his best life the past two years.

Daniel J. Wakin is the editor of the Times ‘The Those We Lost’ obituary project.

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Governor Cuomo hopes to prevent a new fast-moving COVID-19 strain from entering the US from the UK

Dozens of European Union (EU) countries today began banning flights from the United Kingdom (United Kingdom) in an effort to prevent a new, rapidly spreading strain of COVID-19 from reaching the continent.

Similarly, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling on US federal officials to act swiftly to prevent the mutant virus from entering the United States by stopping or limiting transatlantic flights to New York and New Jersey. According to Syracuse.com, their pleas have so far been unanswered, and the US federal government has yet to react to this new development.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that the new variant of the virus is 70 percent more transmissible than existing strains, and scientists say it is responsible for the wave of new cases now hitting southern England.

In an urgent address to his nation, Johnson instituted stricter lockdown measures, ordering the closure of non-essential businesses in the affected areas of southern England, including London. It also banned all non-essential travel in the region and told the British they would have to redo their vacation plans, with no mixing of homes allowed in the interior.

During a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Cuomo emphasized the urgency of containing the most infectious new strain. “Today, that variant is getting on a plane and landing at JFK,” he said. “Doing nothing is negligence. It is gross negligence. “

Cuomo explained that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates airports at state borders, does not have the authority to cancel flights due to health concerns. The Port Authority also does not have the ability to require that incoming passengers meet certain health requirements. Those policies can only be enacted, Cuomo said, at the federal level.

New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said that so far, New York State health officials have not detected the new variant of the virus. But it could happen quickly.

“That is what kept me awake last night,” said the governor. “This is the mistake we made” in early 2020, when COVID-19 first entered the United States via flights from Europe. “Where is HHS? Where is the CDC? Where is the NIH? “Cuomo said.

The World Health Organization has determined that this variant of COVID-19 spreads more aggressively than previous strains, but “there is no evidence to suggest that it is more lethal or causes a more serious disease,” as the prime minister emphasized. Briton in yesterday’s speech.

President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for the Surgeon General of the United States, Vivek Murthy, said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’: “We don’t have evidence yet that this is a more deadly virus for a person who gets it.” according to AP News. He added: “There is no reason to believe that the vaccines that have been developed will not be effective against this virus either.”

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Single senator launches hopes for Latin American and women’s museums – for now

“The so-called critical theory underlying this movement does not celebrate diversity; it harnesses diversity, ”he said. “He sharpens all those hyphens like knives and daggers. It turned our college campuses into grievance contests and cowardly Orwellian crowds to nullify anyone who dared to express an original thought.

Speaking to Mr Menendez, he said Latino and women’s history should be part of existing Smithsonian museums, and as these topics were not properly represented there, this should be the focus of Congress, and not the building of new institutions.

Mr. Menendez, furious, was far from convinced.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Sixty million Latinos in this country are watching tonight because it’s a highly anticipated moment. Univision, Telemundo, affiliates across the country, national organizations and others have been waiting for this moment – a moment that everyone in Congress in the United States agrees with except one colleague.

He argued that Latinos were just as entitled to their own cultural institution as African Americans and Native Americans, to whom the Smithsonian Museums have been devoted in recent years. When Mr. Lee said these groups had their histories “virtually erased” by the government seeking to enslave or eradicate them, giving them a unique right to dedicated federal facilities, Mr. Menendez said Latinos, they too had been “systematically excluded. “

Mr. Lee is not the first to worry about the Smithsonian’s divide into several identity-based museums. This concern, along with budgetary issues, has been one of the main points of opposition to a Latin museum in recent years amid sweeping lobbying campaigns for it.

But Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who tried to pass the bill creating a women’s history museum, lamented that “it seems wrong” that a single senator subverts a clear majority that favored women. institutions.

“Surely, in a year when we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, now is the time, now is the time to finally adopt the legislation unanimously recommended by an independent commission to create a museum of the history of American women in our nation’s capital, ”Ms. Collins said. “I regret that this does not happen tonight, but we will not give up the fight.”

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Trump hopes to use party machinery to retain control of GOP

As President Trump brazenly seeks to delay election certification in hopes of reversing his defeat, he is also making a less publicized but equally bold offer to maintain control of the Republican National Committee even after he leaves.

Ronna McDaniel, Mr. Trump’s hand-picked president, got the support of the president for re-election for another term in January, when the party is expected to meet for its winter meeting. But his intention to come forward with Mr. Trump’s blessing has prompted a behind-the-scenes proxy battle, dividing Republicans between those who believe the National Party should not be a political affiliate of the incumbent president and others happy that Mr. Trump remains in control of it.

While many Republicans are reluctant to openly criticize their president at a time when he refuses to admit he has lost, the debate crystallizes the larger question of who the party is and whether it will function as a ship. for Mr. Trump’s ambitions to run again. four years.

Mr. Trump will have no political infrastructure once he leaves office, except for a political action committee he recently formed, and in the absence of a formal campaign, he hopes to press the RNC to give him one, said people close to his thinking.

Mr. Trump’s continued influence could also have implications for some of the national committee’s most critical assets: its election data and donor lists contain thousands of names of contributors and detailed information about supporters.

Election data in particular is the focus of attention. Mr Trump sees control of the lists he has helped build over the past four years as a way to hold on to power – and to neutralize potential contenders for party supremacy, according to Republicans close to the White House .

It’s an alarming power play for a number of RNC members, party strategists, and former committee aides. Handing over control of the committee to a potential candidate in 2024 is a move they believe would risk breaking the party’s long-standing commitment to neutrality in nomination contests.

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How Trump hopes to use party machines to retain control of the GOP

In a statement, Ms McDaniel sought to allay some of the concerns, saying, “The 168 RNC members choose who will lead the RNC, I hope to gain their support, and that is the most important endorsement.

Committee spokesperson Mike Reed said Ms McDaniel and the committee had always followed the rules not to endorse candidates for the Republican primary. “This policy of remaining completely neutral in the primaries will continue for as long as she is president,” Reed said.

Senior Republican officials close to McDaniel said they were already seeking new arrangements between the RNC and the Trump campaign on donor and data lists, which would provide Mr. Trump with copies of some lists but also leave them available to other candidates through the committee bias. Beyond that, these Republicans said, there are limits to the RNC’s influence in the party primaries.

Ms McDaniel, originally from Michigan, has a golden political pedigree: she is the niece of Senator Mitt Romney of Utah and the granddaughter of George Romney, a governor of Michigan for three terms. She earned Mr. Trump’s trust in part by urging him to take trips to his home state during the 2016 campaign, which he credits for helping him win there.

She has told people she has no plans to run for another term after 2022, a person briefed on the talks said, a move that could secure her exit before the start of the 2024 presidential cycle.

So far, no one has appeared to challenge Ms McDaniel, but some influential Republicans are trying to garner support for Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who has just lost his reelection bid and is highly regarded by pro-Trump Republicans and skeptics. same in Washington. Mr. Gardner did not respond to two emails asking if he had an interest in the presidency.

Current and former committee members who may prove to be the most formidable have told their associates that they will not show up. This includes Mr. Barbour – whose uncle, former Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, took over the party after Republicans lost the presidency in 1992 – and Reince Priebus, Mr. Trump’s first chief of staff and former president. of the RNC.

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How Trump hopes to use party machines to retain control of the GOP

In a statement, Ms McDaniel sought to allay some of the concerns, saying, “The 168 RNC members choose who will lead the RNC, I hope to gain their support, and that is the most important endorsement.

Committee spokesperson Mike Reed said Ms McDaniel and the committee had always followed the rules not to endorse candidates for the Republican primary. “This policy of remaining completely neutral in the primaries will continue for as long as she is president,” Reed said.

Senior Republican officials close to McDaniel said they were already seeking new arrangements between the RNC and the Trump campaign on donor and data lists, which would provide Mr. Trump with copies of some lists but also leave them available to other candidates through the committee bias. Beyond that, these Republicans said, there are limits to the RNC’s influence in the party primaries.

Ms McDaniel, originally from Michigan, has a golden political pedigree: she is the niece of Senator Mitt Romney of Utah and the granddaughter of George Romney, a governor of Michigan for three terms. She earned Mr. Trump’s trust in part by urging him to take trips to his home state during the 2016 campaign, which he credits for helping him win there.

She has told people she has no plans to run for another term after 2022, a person briefed on the talks said, a move that could secure her exit before the start of the 2024 presidential cycle.

So far, no one has appeared to challenge Ms McDaniel, but some influential Republicans are trying to garner support for Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who has just lost his reelection bid and is highly regarded by pro-Trump Republicans and skeptics. same in Washington. Mr. Gardner did not respond to two emails asking if he had an interest in the presidency.

Current and former committee members who may prove to be the most formidable have told their associates that they will not show up. This includes Mr. Barbour – whose uncle, former Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, took over the party after Republicans lost the presidency in 1992 – and Reince Priebus, Mr. Trump’s first chief of staff and former president. of the RNC.

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Trump plans PAC in hopes of keeping GOP in check

President Trump plans to form a so-called Leadership Political Action Committee, a federal fundraising vehicle that will potentially allow him to retain his grip on the Republican Party even when he is removed from office, said Monday officials.

The announcement is expected as early as this week, just days after major news networks and newspapers, as well as the Associated Press, called the 2020 election for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

These committees can accept donations of up to $ 5,000 per donor per year – far less than the donation limits for committees formed by Mr. Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee – but a leadership PAC could accept donations. donations of an unlimited number of people. It could also accept donations from other political action committees.

A leadership PAC could spend an unlimited amount on so-called independent expenses to benefit other candidates, as well as fund travel, surveys and consultants. More importantly, it would almost certainly be a way in which Mr. Trump could maintain his influence in a party that has been largely remade in his image over the past four years.

Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said the committee had been in the works for some time.

“The president has always planned to do this, win or lose,” Murtaugh said, “so he can support the candidates and the issues he cares about, like tackling voter fraud.”

Still, a PAC could give the president an exit ramp after a deadly election battle, as well as keep him as a dominant figure as the next Republican presidential primary races begin for a new standard-bearer.

“President Trump isn’t going anywhere anytime soon,” said Matt Gorman, a Republican strategist. “He will fit into the national debate in a way unlike any of his predecessors.”

Ahead of the election, Mr. Trump told advisers, sometimes jokingly and sometimes not, that he could run again in 2024 if he loses to Mr. Biden.

Even as Mr. Biden gathered more than the 270 votes needed for the Electoral College to win, and led tens of thousands of votes in several battlefield states, Mr. Trump maintained that there had large-scale electoral fraud, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He has spearheaded his campaign to move forward with legal challenges in states like Arizona and Nevada, though most advisers believe the race is over and he should move on.

But Mr. Trump’s personal brand as a businessman is now tied to his political brand. And he’s made it clear he’s not easily backing down, even though advisers say he’ll likely be happy to leave the White House when his term ends.

Since the 2020 race was called on Saturday, Mr Trump has told advisers he is seriously considering running again in 2024 if the vote is certified for Mr Biden, a development previously reported by Axios.

Although the PAC leadership could not help him in such an effort, they could provide an interim vehicle that would allow him to travel and engage in political activity, even if he never runs again.

Kenneth P. Vogel contributed reporting.

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Victoria Spartz wins Indiana House seat, quashing hopes of Democrats’ turnaround

Against a wave of liberal enthusiasm from suburban voters alienated by President Trump, Victoria Spartz, a Republican senator, won the election Wednesday to a reliable Conservative House seat outside of Indianapolis, dashing Democratic hopes for reverse the siege to expand their majority.

Ms Spartz, who was born in Soviet Ukraine and used her success story to emphasize her belief in limited government, prevailed against Christina Hale, a former Democratic state lawmaker who presented herself as a resolution centrist. of problems, according to the Associated Press. His victory reflected the Republicans’ strong hold over suburban voters in the district even as Mr. Trump faced headwinds.

That she defeated Ms. Hale for the vacant seat vacated by Rep. Susan W. Brooks, Republican from Indiana, who is retiring, sent Democrats a wake-up call. They hoped to increase their majority by snatching seats in well-educated, wealthy suburbs like Indiana’s seahorse-shaped Fifth Congressional District, betting that the erosion of Mr. Trump’s support would drag Republicans with him.

Ms Spartz managed to beat the odds in the District, which backed Mr Trump in 2016 by eight points.

Ms Hale had explicitly campaigned on the cross-appeal, promoting legislation she passed with Vice President Mike Pence when he was state governor and pledging to work the other way next to the driveway once in Washington. Mimicking a playbook that swept through 31 Democrats running in Trump’s Districts in the House in 2018, she kept a laser focus on healthcare and berated Ms Spartz for her handling of the pandemic. left.

Ms Spartz’s overt appeals to Republican voters, however – warning of the dangers of socialism and playing on her past as a businesswoman – ultimately moved enough rural and conservative voters in the district, crushing pockets of suburban voters who had resented his boldly partisan message. .