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Coronavirus, Spain’s Children, Antibodies: Your Monday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering restrictions easing on children in Spain and Denmark, Germany’s ambitious antibodies study and a one-bowl chocolate cake recipe.

Millions of children have been unable to walk around the block or even exercise since the country’s coronavirus lockdown, the strictest in Europe, began in mid-March. The stay-at-home order has left countless children bored, exhausted and sometimes depressed.

Low-income families living in cramped quarters have most likely been hit especially hard, and children in therapy before the crisis may be most at risk of experiencing long-term effects. Spain’s lockdown has been extended into May, and on Sunday the country reported its lowest daily death toll in four weeks.

In contrast, Denmark let children return to elementary schools last Wednesday — the first country in the Western world to do so since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The move, a bold step toward normal life for the Danish government, is a test for how schools can function in the age of contagion.

In other developments:

At least 40 staff members in Afghanistan’s presidential palace in Kabul have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Afghan officials on Sunday.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe of France said on Sunday that the country’s lockdown had slowed infections and deaths but that normalcy was a long way away. The country is weighing its love of liberty against digital tracking to combat the crisis.

In Italy, the daily number of new cases fell to fewer than 4,000, down from around 6,000 in late March. For the first time in a month, new deaths dropped below 500 on Saturday.

An outbreak in the remote northern Russian region of Komi is worsening, despite regional officials insisting up until last week that there were no cases.

A shipment of 84 tons of equipment from Turkey to Britain, including 400,000 protective gowns, has been delayed as Britain’s medical workers worry about shortages

Volunteer virus patrol squads are popping up across India, stoking divisions as the world’s largest lockdown grinds on.

The police said as many as 100,000 people ignored a nationwide lockdown in Bangladesh to attend the funeral of a Muslim political leader on Saturday, prompting fears of a new outbreak.

Here are the latest updates on the pandemic, as well as maps of its spread.

The Times is providing free access to much of our coronavirus coverage, and our Coronavirus Briefing newsletter — like all of our newsletters — is free. Please consider supporting our journalism with a subscription.

Companies around the world are rolling out blood tests for coronavirus antibodies, heralded as crucial tools to restart the economy.

Germany, which has emerged as leader among Western nations for containing the contagion’s spread, has begun an ambitious study to test citizens for antibodies. The findings may reveal how deeply the coronavirus has penetrated society — key information to determine which restrictions are the safest to lift.

But other tests are raising concerns. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has allowed about 90 companies, many based in China, to sell tests without government vetting. The tests are often inaccurate, mistakenly showing antibodies in blood when none exist, and some doctors are misusing them.

Chile will become the first country to issue “immunity cards” to those who have antibodies to the virus, starting Monday. But critics say the research is still unclear on whether recovered patients are truly immune.

Case study: How did more than 1,000 sailors from a French naval ship test positive for the coronavirus? Signs show the vessel was insufficiently prepared for a pandemic.

Closer look: Is the virus lurking on your clothes, shoes or hair? You’ll feel better after reading this.

In memoriam: Confident the virus was under control, Joe Joyce, a beloved Brooklyn bar owner, set sail for Spain on a cruise in March. He died of virus complications this month.

Above, a health worker checking her protective equipment in New York.

Our science correspondent spoke to more than 20 experts to forecast a path forward for America as it grapples with the coronavirus. When can we emerge from our homes? How long, realistically, before we have a vaccine?

Lockdowns will end haltingly, immunity will become a societal advantage and many more Americans than the White House admits will die.

Until a vaccine or another protective measure emerges, there is no scenario in which it is safe to come out of hiding.

Canada shooting: A gunman dressed as a police officer killed at least 16 people in Nova Scotia, the police said. The motive was not immediately clear.

North Korea-U.S. relations: North Korea denied President Trump’s assertion that its leader, Kim Jong-un, sent him a letter, and suggested that Mr. Trump was using his vaunted relationship with Mr. Kim for “selfish purposes.”

U.S. presidential campaign: Senator Bernie Sanders’s supporters are unenthusiastic about backing former Vice President Joe Biden, raising questions about how many will show up at the ballot box for him in the general election against President Trump.

Snapshot: Above, children from the Uru Eu Wau Wau tribe in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Villages in the region, havens for Indigenous culture and bulwarks against deforestation, are facing extinction as President Jair Bolsonaro pushes commercial development.

European football: Soccer without fans is nothing. But as odd as it might be to play without crowds, the sport may not want to wait.

What we’re watching: This video from the Duluth Harbor Cam in Minnesota. “Watching huge cargo ships arrive and depart in Duluth is a thrill,” says Gina Lamb of Special Sections, who grew up in the Lake Superior port city. “It’s a good reminder of how connected we all are.”

Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, an investigative reporter for The Times, has spent nearly a decade reporting on how websites and apps collect information on users. When the coronavirus hit the U.S., she and her colleagues discovered that the data showed poor Americans were less likely to be able to stay home. Here are highlights from Jennifer’s chat with Times Insider.

What did you learn?

Orders telling people to stay at home are working in limiting movement, but people who are not under those orders are continuing to move around, and some people, particularly those who live in poorer areas, are more likely to keep moving because of their work.

It is good to feel that we’re all in this together, but the data shows that’s not the case. Some people are facing more risk than others.

How do you see the potential of location data helping to combat the coronavirus?

Epidemiologists and journalists are looking for ways this data might help model the trajectory of the pandemic and whether social-distancing measures are working — or whether, if they’re relaxed, that leads to a resurgence of the disease.

What was your previous reporting on location data about?

I was demonstrating the profound capabilities of location data and how intrusive it can be; many people are unaware of the fact that it is gathered at all. A lot of companies’ statements about location data are misleading. Saying the data is “anonymous” is not adequately conveying how much it can tell you about somebody, even if you don’t know his or her name. Companies should be willing to tell you exactly what they’re doing.

Why did those concerns not apply to the use of location data for this article?

There are a lot of privacy advocates I know who disagree with the idea that location data should be collected or stored at all.

I would say it’s possible for users to agree to provide this data. Some of the things that Google does — telling you how long your route home is likely to take — can be useful.

I think an important factor for my personal interest in participating was that this is a public health crisis, and this data could help illuminate some of the inequalities involved.

That’s it for this briefing. Here’s a spooky read if you can’t sleep. See you next time.

— Isabella

Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about an astrophysicist obsessed with the possibility of other life in the universe.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: pigeon’s perch (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times has introduced “Rabbit Hole,” a new narrative audio series about what the internet is doing to us, anchored by our tech columnist Kevin Roose.

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