Covid-19 Immunity, Palestinians, Biden: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering promising new results from a large study on the coronavirus, renewed cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and the incoming Biden administration.


Credit…Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

Blood samples from recovered Covid-19 patients suggest a powerful immune response that could last years, and maybe even decades, researchers reported.

In the most comprehensive and long-ranging study of immune memory to the coronavirus to date, the study found that most people who have recovered still have enough immune cells to fend off the virus and prevent illness eight months after infection. These cells may persist in the body for a very, very long time to come.

Though not yet peer-reviewed nor published in a scientific journal, the research may come as a relief to those concerned that vaccines might have to be administered repeatedly to keep the pandemic under control.

Quote: “That amount of memory would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalized disease, severe disease, for many years,” said Shane Crotty, a virologist who helped lead the new study.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:


Credit…Hazem Bader/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority said that it was resuming its cooperation with Israel, ending six months of financial hardship for tens of thousands of West Bank residents and signaling relief over the election of Joe Biden, who is expected to support the viability of a future Palestinian state.

The authority originally cut off security coordination with Israel in protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex the occupied West Bank, a move the Trump administration indicated it supported. But these plans fell apart when Mr. Netanyahu agreed to suspend his annexation push in exchange for landmark normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Iran nuclear: President Trump was dissuaded from moving ahead with a military strike on Iran during a meeting on Thursday, after international inspectors reported a significant increase in the country’s stockpile of nuclear material. Mr. Biden hopes to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal once he takes office.

Afghanistan: The Pentagon has announced a reduction down to 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan before Mr. Biden takes office, leaving him, without his consultation, the smallest force in Afghanistan envisioned by American counterterrorism planners. Afghan officials fear the cuts will encourage the Taliban to keep fighting.


Credit…Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden named key members of his White House staff on Tuesday, saying he’s “building an administration that looks like America.” Those on the list include Mike Donilon, the chief strategist for his campaign and a decades-long friend and adviser, and Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, who will oversee public outreach.

Mr. Biden is also seeking climate-ambitious candidates to fulfill posts across his cabinet, including at agencies that are not at the forefront of environmental policy such as the departments of Justice, Agriculture and Defense. His earliest executive orders would reportedly include the revival of an Obama-era mandate that every agency in the government incorporate climate change into its policies.

Trump campaign: Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, asked the president’s campaign to pay him $ 20,000 a day for legal work challenging the election results. The campaign appears to have said no, though it is unclear how much Mr. Giuliani will ultimately be compensated.

Looking ahead: President Trump will soon present the country with a historic dilemma: an ex-president with substantial criminal liability.

Credit…Jean Chung for The New York Times

Hagoromo chalk, above, is a cult favorite of elite academics, artists and others around the world who praise it for its silky feel, vibrant colors, scant dust and nearly unbreakable quality. Mathematicians in particular are prone to waxing poetic about it, and buying it in bulk.

But its continued existence is an unlikely story that bridges two countries long at odds. Here, our writers take a ride through the decidedly low-tech assembly process.

Ethiopia: With the conflict between the Ethiopian government and powerful military forces in the country’s northern region of Tigray increasing, international aid groups say that they have been prevented from helping the tens of thousands of people displaced by the violence.

British politics: Britain’s main opposition party, Labour, readmitted its former leader Jeremy Corbyn after he reversed course on comments last month that suggested that problems with the party’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations had been “overstated.”

Dresden heist: The German police on Tuesday arrested three men and said they were searching for two others in connection with the theft of gold, diamonds and precious stones from three highly prized collections of Baroque royal jewels in a museum in Dresden last year.

Twitter: On Tuesday, the social media network said it would introduce a feature allowing users to make posts that will automatically disappear after 24 hours. Jack Dorsey, its chief executive, testified with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about their platforms, misinformation and the 2020 election. Mr. Dorsey said at the hearing that Twitter would no longer make policy exceptions for President Trump after he leaves office.

Credit…Marjorie Law

Snapshot: Above, Marjorie Law, a 22-year-old Slytherin, transporting herself to Hogwarts from Santa Clarita, Calif. On TikTok, Gen Z “Harry Potter” fans edit themselves into the movies in a quest for escapism, representation and community.

Not dead yet: The website of Radio France Internationale this week accidentally published about 100 prewritten obituaries for such prominent figures as Queen Elizabeth II of England; Pelé, the Brazilian soccer legend; Clint Eastwood; Brigitte Bardot; and dozens of other celebrities and world leaders.

What we’re reading: This Vanity Fair tell-all from the former best friend of Ivanka Trump. It’s as much a portrait of a waning childhood friendship as it is a glimpse into the Manhattan elite of the 1990s.

Credit…Yossy Arefi for The New York Times (Photography and Styling)

Cook: This simple lentil and sweet potato salad has a little secret: a toasty, brown butter vinaigrette perfumed with sage.

Watch: With travel significantly curtailed, the closest you can get to Paris may be onscreen. Let these movies — and a glass of Champagne — take you there.

Do: Getting back to your workout routine after recovering from Covid-19 requires some caution. Here are tips for taking it slow.

As the weather cools, hunker down with At Home, our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe indoors.

The first female president of the European Central Bank spoke to our reporter from Frankfurt. The conversation has been excerpted, edited and condensed.

One of your priorities at the E.C.B. is putting together a plan to take on climate change. Do women bring a different set of perceptions to combating the damage it is causing?

I think women bring various powers to the table. One is the power of the purse, because I think that in many, many instances women are the decision makers when it comes to consuming. Second, I think they bring the power of life. I think that actually giving birth gives you a sense of prosperity, heritage, transmission, that is quite special.

I think maternity is central to making sure that our children inherit something that is sustainable, that they can live in, live with and transmit to other generations. I also think that women are resilient, and I think that there are plenty of studies now that are showing that. And resilience in the face of change is something that is very needed.

Credit…Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

How else can you enhance international cooperation, especially in our time of lockdown?

A multinational approach to some of these global issues is needed more than ever. It’s more fashionable to argue against globalization, to argue against multilateralism, but frankly we are learning something from the current pandemic. It is that we have to cooperate. It is that we have to disclose to each other what goes wrong.

I would say that if the United States can return to the W.H.O. and the W.T.O., and exercise the kind of leadership that is expected from the largest economy in the world, it would be certainly helpful in order to tackle some of the global issues that have no borders.


That’s it for this briefing. Thanks for starting your day with me.

— Natasha


Thank you
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach Natasha and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the second coronavirus wave in Europe.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Country rocker? (five letters). You can find all of our puzzles here.
• The word “shanzha” — a fruit found in China — appeared for the first time in The Times yesterday, according to the Twitter account @NYT_first_said.
• Tracy Ma, a visual editor at The Times, recently discussed what makes a creative visual package in this It’s Nice That video.

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