Your Monday Briefing

By Carole Landry

Good morning.

We’re covering President Trump’s battle with the coronavirus, the growing U.S.- India alliance against China and the death of the Japanese designer Kenzo.

ImagePresident Trump’s supporters outside the Walter Reed hospital in Bethesda, Md., on Sunday. 
President Trump’s supporters outside the Walter Reed hospital in Bethesda, Md., on Sunday. Credit...Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

In a video message from the Walter Reed military medical complex, President Trump said he was “starting to feel good” but acknowledged that the coming days would reveal the severity of his coronavirus infection.

“You don’t know, over the next period of a few days, I guess that’s the real test,” he said in the video released late Saturday, a day after he was hospitalized. “So we’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days.”

The White House and the president’s doctor have been sending mixed messages about the president’s situation. On Sunday, his medical team acknowledged delivering an overly rosy description of the president’s illness over the weekend.

The doctors said that Mr. Trump had a “high fever” on Friday, and that his oxygen levels had dropped on Friday and again on Saturday.

Those details, along with the disclosure that Mr. Trump is on the steroid dexamethasone, suggest that his illness has progressed beyond a mild case of Covid-19.

Here are our latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other virus developments:

  • With coronavirus infections emerging in President Trump’s inner circle, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will cut short a trip to Asia this week, canceling stops in South Korea and Mongolia but continuing with a visit to Japan.

  • Pope Francis criticized the failures of global cooperation in response to the pandemic and argued that weakened health care systems had cost lives among older people, in a document released on Sunday.

  • More than 100,000 people in India have died from the coronavirus, the government said on Saturday, even as officials planned to lift more restrictions in hopes of reviving the crippled economy.

  • Millions in South Korea canceled family gatherings during this year’s Chuseok harvest festival, which ran through the weekend, bringing anxiety to a normally joyful time of year.

An Indian army convoy on the move in the Himalayas this month.  Credit...Dar Yasin/Associated Press

The U.S. and India have taken their shared anger toward Beijing and forged stronger diplomatic and military ties.

But social justice advocates worry that the Trump administration is turning a blind eye to India’s rights abuses against Muslims under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Kenzo at his home in Paris in January last year. Credit...Joel Saget/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Kenzo Takada, whose exuberant prints helped bring Japanese fashion to the world, died on Sunday at a hospital in Paris. He was 81.

The cause was complications of the coronavirus, a spokeswoman for the designer said, adding that he had been sick for a few weeks.

Mr. Takada, who was generally referred to only as Kenzo, shook up the established French fashion world after arriving from Japan in 1964. That he died in the middle of a Paris Fashion Week that has been struggling to go on despite the pandemic seemed symbolic.

Credit...Victoria Jones/Press Association, via Associated Press

More than 57,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Britain and new cases are again on the rise. Yet many Londoners are flouting rules aimed at preventing the spread. Above, sheltering from the rain in London’s Soho on Saturday.

Our European economics correspondent asks how a city that rallied in the face of the German Blitz turned into one so cavalier that there is now “a widely shared sense that Britain, famously rule-abiding, is now operating without adult supervision.”

Brexit: Britain’s divorce with the European Union entered a make-or-break phase over the weekend as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Commission president agreed that the two sides would aim for a final settlement to be in place on Dec. 31.

Bollywood: India has been captivated by the story of Sushant Singh Rajput, a 34-year-old actor whose death was ruled a suicide by the police in Mumbai. News outlets have focused on every twist in a tale that for many encapsulates the Indian film industry’s hypocrisy and elitism.

Algeria: A year after a popular uprising ousted the 20-year autocrat Abdelaziz Bouteflika and led the army to jail much of his ruling oligarchy, hopes are fading for an overhaul of the political system and real democracy.

Credit...EPA, via Shutterstock

Snapshot: Above, fires from artillery strikes in Stepanakert, the main city in Nagorno-Karabakh, on Sunday. Armenia’s prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, said the recent flare-up had taken on a far more dangerous dimension because of Turkey’s direct military intervention in support of Azerbaijan — sometimes deploying U.S.-supplied F-16 jets.

What we’re reading: This MentalFloss article on the history of a culinary standby. Kim Severson, one of our correspondents who reports on food culture, writes, “I thought this was just another story about mashed potatoes, but it’s a wild historical ride that weaves in the dietary habits of wild llamas, Charles Darwin’s little potato project and a can of Pringles.”

Credit...Christopher Simpson for The New York Times

Cook: For swordfish with caramelized eggplant and capers, first broil the eggplant, then simmer with wine, diced fresh tomatoes, olives and capers for a silky caponata-like sauce.

Listen: The pianist Lang Lang’s seriousness of purpose permeates his new recording of Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations, but so do the superstar artist’s indulgences, our music critic writes.

Watch: Research shows that looking at footage of animals can make you happier, so here’s a list of live feeds that will bring koalas, penguins, puppies and more straight to your screen.

Whether you want to pass the time or get seriously creative, our At Home collection has ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

Almost exactly 35 years ago, Super Mario Bros., the iconic video game from Nintendo, debuted — making a high-jumping plumber named Mario the Japanese video game company’s equivalent of Mickey Mouse. We’ve compiled 35 things to consider about the overachieving plumber. Here are a few.

1. First, it’s the game that is 35, not Mario. He’s 39. Mario debuted in 1981 in another famous Nintendo game, Donkey Kong, in which he runs up a series of girders, jumps over barrels and climbs ladders to rescue a woman kidnapped by a giant ape.

2. In the early years of video games, characters were defined less by who they were than by what they could do. Pac-Man gobbled dots and chased — or was chased by — ghosts. Sonic ran fast. Mario jumped. In fact, before the creators of Donkey Kong called him Mario, they called him “Jumpman.”

3. Mario is so famous that even his brother, Luigi — who was playable in Super Mario Bros. in two-player mode — is a superstar. Luigi has more personality; he’s a nervous worrier and an underdog in the shadow of his famous sibling. Nintendo marketed 2013 as the Year of Luigi. Did you celebrate?

4. It’s unclear what Mario’s last name is. Sometimes Nintendo officials have said it is Mario (hence Mario and Luigi being the “Mario Bros.”), which would make him Mario Mario. Other times, they’ve said he doesn’t have one.

5. There’s also Wario, a sort of evil Mario, relation unknown. He has starred in over a dozen games, like Wario Land and WarioWare.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Carole

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 on President Trump’s coronavirus infection.
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