World News

Ski patrollers shave their beards, and a tradition, to wear N95 masks.

Tony Cammarata dreaded the news he had to deliver to his employees: They were losing their beards.

Mr. Cammarata, who oversees the ski patrol for an area in the Rocky Mountains west of Denver, had to clamp down on the facial hair so that the patrol could properly wear their N95 respirator masks.

But he knew this would be a tough measure for the men on his crew (47 of the resort’s 56 patrollers).

“You could tell people they’re not getting a merit increase, that you’re cutting their skiing privileges,” Mr. Cammarata said. “It’s not as bad as telling them they have to shave. The whole beard thing is ingrained in our culture.”

By and large, ski patrol members cutting their beards see it as a small inconvenience for the sake of safety and keeping the slopes active. But all the shaving has come with some peculiarities.

In ski areas like Arapahoe Basin, about 80 percent of the male patrollers have had to drastically change (or introduce) shaving regimens. A chart issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighting the variety of facial hairstyles permitted with a fitted respirator mask has become a go-to resource.

“It’s one of the funniest government-issued documents I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Cammarata said. “It’s a pictogram with 40-plus styles of facial hair.”

Bearded patrollers say their facial hair serves as protection against the elements — a warm layer in strong winds, blizzards and frigid temperatures.

Still, many patrollers are finding a silver lining. “Most of us look a lot younger and less weathered,” said Hunter Mortensen, a longtime Breckenridge ski patroller who recently shaved for the first time in 10 years.

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Nelly Kaplan, whose films explored female strength, dies of Covid at 89.

Nelly Kaplan, whose witty, satire-tinged French films about female empowerment and revenge made her a distinctive voice in a male-dominated era, died on Nov. 12 in Geneva. She was 89.

The Société des Réalisateurs de Films, the French filmmakers’ association, announced her death on its website. French news agencies, quoting a relative, said the cause was Covid-19.

Ms. Kaplan, who was born in Argentina, arrived in Paris in her early 20s and became both a filmmaking and a romantic partner of Abel Gance, the French director known for the innovative silent movie “Napoleon” (1927). In 1969 she drew acclaim with her first feature, “A Very Curious Girl.” (The French title was “La Fiancée du Pirate,” or “The Pirate’s Fiancée.”)

It starred Bernadette Lafont, an actress already well known from the New Wave films of Claude Chabrol and others, as Marie, a young servant who is preyed upon by men in her village until she turns the tables on them by charging for sexual favors and tape-recording the encounters, ultimately exposing the townspeople’s hypocrisy.

That film was the centerpiece of “Wild Things: The Ferocious Films of Nelly Kaplan,” a retrospective at the Quad Cinema in Manhattan in 2019 that helped fuel a new appreciation of her work and her characters.

“While very much of its time, ‘A Very Curious Girl’ remains amazingly fresh after 50 years,” the film critic J. Hoberman wrote in The Times then. “Marie’s triumph is not just a victory for her sex and class but, given the explicitly xenophobic nature of the smug patriarchal order that she upends, a win for outsiders and outcasts of all varieties.”

Ms. Kaplan made only a few feature films after that, and none achieved the level of acclaim that her debut did.

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The W.H.O. rejects the antiviral drug remdesivir as a Covid-19 treatment.

The World Health Organization on Thursday recommended against using the antiviral remdesivir, a drug that had generated intense interest as a treatment for Covid-19.

An expert panel “concluded that remdesivir has no meaningful effect on mortality or on other important outcomes for patients, such as the need for mechanical ventilation or time to clinical improvement,” the W.H.O. announced. The panel published its review in the journal The BMJ. The report did not rule out the use of the drug altogether as a Covid treatment, but said evidence was lacking to recommend its use.

Gilead Sciences, manufacturer of remdesivir, whose trade name is Veklury, said in a statement that its drug “is recognized as a standard of care for the treatment of hospitalized patients with Covid-19 in guidelines from numerous credible national organizations, including the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Infectious Diseases Society of America, Japan, U.K., and Germany.” It added that there are “multiple randomized, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals that demonstrate the clinical benefits of Veklury.”

The potential utility of remdesivir had been the subject of debate and skepticism for months, and especially in recent weeks, after the Food and Drug Administration approved it as the first treatment for Covid-19 in late October. One large study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, found that the drug reduced recovery time in hospitalized patients from 15 to 11 days. Two other trials the agency considered, sponsored by Gilead, did not include placebo controls, which are considered critical to judging effectiveness.

President Trump was administered remdesivir along with other treatments last month when he was hospitalized with Covid.

For the new analysis, the panel reviewed evidence from four trials, including one conducted by the N.I.H. and another sponsored by the W.H.O. and recently posted to a preprint server, which included some 5,000 patients, the largest to date. The paper has not been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

The results from that trial “brought into question some of the benefit that had been seen earlier, in the N.I.H. study,” said Dr. Bram Rochwerg, an associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and a co-chair of the W.H.O. panel.

Remdesivir has been authorized for emergency use since the spring in the United States, and in October, Gilead reported that it had generated $873 million in revenue thus far this year.

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A Chinese drugmaker reports progress on a vaccine candidate.

As China rushes to keep up with the global race to find a coronavirus vaccine, a state-owned drugmaker is reporting promising results for a candidate after administering doses to nearly a million people in the country.

For the past few months, the company, Sinopharm, has been inoculating people — including its employees and their families — outside of the traditional testing process as part of an emergency-use policy, even though its two vaccine candidates have not been formally proved safe or effective.

China’s push to be the first country to bring a vaccine to market before the completion of late-stage trials has prompted scientists to warn that the government is gambling with the health of its people.

Sinopharm’s chairman, Liu Jingzhen, told the local news media on Tuesday that only a few people had reported mild symptoms from one of its vaccines, and that no one had suffered serious adverse reactions. “Our progress so far, from research and development to clinical trials and production and emergency use, is leading the world in all aspects,” he said without offering evidence.

Though members of the public in China have long been skeptical of vaccines after a spate of quality scandals, many have been lining up to be inoculated. Last week, Mr. Liu said that 56,000 people who had taken the company’s vaccine had traveled abroad, and that none contracted Covid-19.

The coronavirus is largely under control in China, so local drugmakers have looked abroad to recruit trial participants. Mr. Liu told Chuanguan News on Tuesday that Sinopharm had inoculated nearly 60,000 people as part of late-stage human testing that it was conducting in 10 countries, including Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. He said that 40,000 of those inoculated showed promising results, though he did not provide details.

The report comes as two American drugmakers pulled ahead this week in the global vaccine race. Moderna announced on Monday that its vaccine was 94.5 percent effective, while Pfizer said on Wednesday that the results of its late-stage trial showed its vaccine was 95 percent effective with no serious side effects. China has four candidates in late-stage human testing.

In other news around the world:

South Korea reported 363 new coronavirus cases on Friday, its highest caseload since late August, when the country was hit by a second wave of infections. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun urged the public to avoid social gatherings and to stay home as much as possible. He also warned that the latest spike, which is concentrated mainly in the Seoul metropolitan area, was threatening the country’s vaunted K-Quarantine strategy of fighting the virus while keeping the economy running.

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Senator Rick Scott of Florida is the latest member of Congress to test positive.

Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, said Friday he had tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest prominent lawmaker to contract the rapidly spreading virus that has infected at least eight members of Congress over the past week.

Mr. Scott, 67, said he has been in quarantine at his home in Naples since last Friday, after he came into contact with someone in Florida who later tested positive for the virus. He said he took multiple rapid tests earlier in the week that came back negative, but a P.C.R. test he took Tuesday came back positive Friday.

P.C.R.-based tests are slower, but much more accurate than rapid tests, which are prone to missing the virus when it is present at only low levels in the body. It can also take several days after an exposure for someone to turn positive on a coronavirus test, even if they are already infected.

In a statement, Mr. Scott said he was “feeling good” and experiencing only “very mild symptoms.” He said he would work from home until it is safe to return to Washington. The Senate is not expected to resume work until the end of the month.

He encouraged Americans to wear masks, keep their distance from others and go into quarantine if they encounter someone who is positive for the virus.

“As we approach Thanksgiving, we know this holiday will be different this year,” he said. “But, listen to public health officials and follow their guidance. We will beat this together, but we all have to be responsible.”

Some months ago, Mr. Scott opposed a mask mandates but argued that everyone should choose to wear them. Like most lawmakers, he has taken off his mask when speaking at a microphone. In the past month, reporters at news conferences have started insisting that lawmakers keep their masks on.

Since Nov. 12, eight members of Congress — including two senators, Mr. Scott and Chuck Grassley of Iowa — have reported testing positive for the virus.

Mr. Grassley, 87, a Republican who announced that he had tested positive on Tuesday, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that he remained “symptom free & in isolation.”

Members of the House who tested positive over the past week include six Republicans: Don Young, 87, of Alaska; Tim Walberg, 69, of Michigan; Dan Newhouse, 65, of Washington; and Doug Lamborn, 66, of Colorado; and two Democrats, Cheri Bustos, 59, of Illinois; Ed Perlmutter, 67, of Colorado.

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Jordan, once a model of virus control, is now a hot spot.

Jordan, which was commended worldwide for its early efforts to counter the pandemic, has now become one of the hardest-hit countries in the region, along with Lebanon and Iran.

The country has averaged more than 5,000 coronavirus cases a day in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. On Wednesday, Jordan recorded 7,933 cases, its highest number since March, according to the health minister.

The government attributed the recent sharp increase to the infection of 1,893 people at two factories in the southern city of Aqaba.

“It’s not just the U.S. and Europe facing devastating second waves,” said Nazanin Ash, the International Rescue Committee’s vice president of policy and practice. “Crisis-affected countries, which are already dealing with unfathomable levels of hunger, economic distress, crippled health systems and infrastructure, are now facing second waves that could be even more devastating than the first.”

In addition to Jordan’s domestic problems with poverty and health care, it must also assist the Syrian refugees who make up more than 10 percent of the country’s population, according to the World Food Program.

In March, the government imposed some of the tightest restrictions in the world as the virus spread in surrounding countries. The lockdown forbid people to leave their homes, suspended schools, banned public gatherings and closed borders and airports. In May, Jordan relaxed most public health restrictions.

Over all, Jordan has had 163,926 cases and 1,969 deaths, Johns Hopkins reported.

Last week, the country held parliamentary elections with the lowest turnout in a decade, followed by a lockdown and a curfew for four days.

The lockdown did not stop some candidates and their supporters from venturing out and celebrating with gunfire. Crowds were seen, many of them not wearing masks, in videos that spread on social media.

The brief lawlessness prompted an apology from the prime minister, and the minister of interior was forced to resign. Citing the crowds and celebrations, the government predicted a new spike in cases.

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The vaccines will probably work. Making them fast will be the hard part.

The promising news that not just one but two coronavirus vaccines were more than 90 percent effective in early results has buoyed hopes that an end to the pandemic is in sight.

But even if the vaccines are authorized soon by federal regulators — the companies developing them have said they expect to apply soon — only a sliver of the American public will be able to get one by the end of the year. The two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have estimated they will have 45 million doses, or enough to vaccinate 22.5 million Americans, by January.

Industry analysts and company executives are optimistic that hundreds of millions of doses will be made by next spring. But the companies — backed with billions of dollars in federal money — will have to overcome hurdles they’ve encountered in the early days of making vaccines. Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines use new technology that has never been approved for widespread use. They are ramping up into the millions for the first time. Other challenges include promptly securing raw vaccine ingredients and mastering the art of creating consistent, high-quality batches.

Operation Warp Speed — the federal effort to accelerate vaccine development — set as a goal producing 300 million doses this year, but fell far short of that, reflecting just how difficult and unpredictable the manufacturing process has been.

Pfizer said this summer that it expected to make 100 million doses by year’s end, but has now said it can produce only half that goal.

“Manufacturing a biological product is a science and an art in some ways,” said Prashant Yadav, who studies health care supply chains at the Center for Global Development in Washington.

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Boris Johnson is stalled under quarantine at home, and other news around the world.

For Prime Minister Boris Johnson, this was supposed to be a critical week to reset his government after a tumultuous round of infighting that led to the abrupt ouster of his most influential adviser, Dominic Cummings.

Instead, Mr. Johnson began a 14-day quarantine in his Downing Street residence on Monday after being exposed to a member of Parliament who tested positive for the coronavirus.

The prime minister insisted he was “fit as a butcher’s dog” and was merely heeding the rules of Britain’s test-and-trace program. But Mr. Johnson’s enforced isolation will hobble his plan to regain momentum with public appearances and policy announcements after days of corrosive palace intrigue among his closest advisers.

The prime minister’s second close call with the virus — last April, he was hospitalized with a severe case of Covid-19 — deepens the sense of a government that cannot seem to get out of its own way.

Mr. Johnson’s exposure to the virus this time came during a meeting with Conservative lawmakers, one of whom, Lee Anderson, later developed symptoms and tested positive. A photo showed the two men standing barely three feet apart — neither wearing a mask — which raised questions about whether Downing Street practices proper social distancing, even after the outbreak that infected Mr. Johnson in March.

As a recovered patient, Mr. Johnson said his body was “bursting with antibodies.” He did not broach the risk of re-infection, which, while possible, is rare.

During his self-isolation Mr. Johnson plans to work from his apartment, which is above 11 Downing Street. He will also have access to his office at No. 10 next door without walking through parts of the building where others work.

Mr. Johnson will maintain a full schedule of events, conducted remotely, and hopes to use a video link to take part in Prime Minister’s Questions, his weekly grilling by the leader of the opposition in the House of Commons.

In other developments around the world:

The authorities in South Australia have ordered 4,000 people to quarantine as the Australian state reported five new cases of the virus on Tuesday. The outbreak in the capital city of Adelaide was traced to a worker at a hotel where coronavirus patients are quarantined.

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California is ‘pulling the emergency brake’ on its reopening plans.

California’s governor announced Monday that the state is “pulling the emergency brake” on its reopening and reinstating broad restrictions, while Iowa’s governor reversed course and announced a mask mandate.

The announcements came as the United States reported its 11 millionth confirmed case on Sunday, with one million new cases over the past week alone. The country is averaging 150,000 new cases a day and will probably reach 250,000 total deaths sometime this week.

Daily case reports are rising in 48 states, and with little action from the Trump administration, governors and mayors across the country are taking new steps to try to halt the spread. On Monday, a sweeping stay-at-home advisory went into effect in Chicago, and Philadelphia announced strict new rules starting Friday, banning indoor gatherings and closing indoor dining at restaurants.

In California, which had been credited with getting the virus under control for a time, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said the state’s daily case numbers had doubled in the last 10 days, the fastest increase the state had seen since the beginning of the pandemic. The state reached one million known cases on Nov. 12, and the next day issued travel advisories.

The increases, he said, cross age and racial or ethnic groups and appear throughout the state.

Most of California’s larger counties were moved back into the most restrictive reopening tier, meaning that indoor dining and some other businesses would have to shut down again. Mr. Newsom said the state was also studying curfew options.

Mr. Newsom added that emergency health care facilities the state set up during the beginning of the pandemic were being prepared. One facility will open in the next week or so in Imperial County, a border county that was hit hard over the summer, he said.

State leaders including Mr. Newsom have told residents not to gather with people from outside their households, and to resist visiting relatives over the holidays.

Much of the recent rise in cases, state officials say, appears to have grown from at-home parties or family gatherings.

But in what is likely to be remembered as one of the governor’s more damaging moments in the pandemic, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Mr. Newsom attended an outdoor dinner for one of his political advisers at the French Laundry, a Napa Valley restaurant, with guests from several households.

The gathering on Nov. 6 did not technically violate the state’s rules, because there is no formal limit on the number of households at each outdoor restaurant table, but as critics noted, the governor’s attendance undermined the spirit of restrictions.

Mr. Newsom apologized on Monday, saying that he should have turned around and left when he realized there were more guests at the party than he expected.

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Al Howard, the officer who saved Martin Luther King after a stabbing, died of Covid-19.

Officer Al Howard, 31 years old and on the job three years, was driving a New York Police Department patrol car with a rookie he’d just met, Officer Philip Romano. A call came over the radio: There was a disturbance at Blumstein’s department store in Harlem.

They arrived to find chaos on the second floor. At its center, in a dark suit and tie and sitting still as stone in a chair, was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., then 29. There was a letter opener jutting out of his chest. He had been signing copies of his book “Stride Toward Freedom,” about the Montgomery bus boycott, when a young woman approached and stabbed him.

An advertising executive for The Amsterdam News, a prominent Black newspaper, grabbed the woman and restrained her until a security officer took over. Stunned local leaders and politicians looked on as another woman, fearing for Dr. King’s life, reached to pull the blade out. The officers, knowing that the blade might have been saving Dr. King from bleeding to death, stopped her in time.

The two patrolmen hatched a fast plan, and Officer Howard turned to the crowd. The sight of a Black police officer in Harlem was no longer a novelty — the traditionally Irish-American N.Y.P.D. force would have some 1,200 Black officers by 1960 — but Officer Howard nonetheless stood out.

Officer Howard announced that Dr. King would be taken out through the front door on 125th Street and asked that a path be cleared. It worked. He stayed out front, as if waiting, while Officer Romano and others carried Dr. King to an ambulance out the back.

Officer Howard rose in the department, though not because of his actions at Blumstein’s. The earliest commendation in his personnel file arrived two months later, for arresting a man with a gun. He worked bigger cases later, helping in the hunt for the serial killer Son of Sam and with a drug squad doing extensive heroin investigations in the Bronx.

After Officer Howard retired, he took over Showman’s, a jazz club in Harlem. “If you wanted to hear the best jazz in the world, you could come to Showman’s and not pay a cover,” his son said.

The coronavirus shut down Showman’s in March. Mr. Howard stayed home and kept busy, but finally had enough of lockdown. He and Mona Lopez, his companion and partner at Showman’s, were regular visitors to Las Vegas, and they flew there in September. On the way home the following week, Mr. Howard fell ill with what appeared to be a cold but was actually Covid-19. He died several days later. He was 93.

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