Should I Send My Kids Back to School? A Parent’s Toughest Call

All summer, as information about how the coronavirus affects children has trickled in, I’ve been updating a balance sheet in my head. Every study I read, every expert I talked to, was filling in columns on this sheet: reasons for and against sending my children back to school come September. Into the con column went…

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The Midwest Sees a Spike as Covid-19 Cases Decline Elsewhere

Here’s what you need to know: ImageTheodore Roosevelt High School’s volunteer marching band practices in Des Moines, Iowa. Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota all added more cases in a recent seven-day stretch than in any previous week of the pandemic.Credit…Kathryn Gamble for The New York Times As U.S. cases decline elsewhere, the…

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How to Stop the Next Pandemic

This graph can tell you a lot about your future. Each bar shows how many new infectious diseases emerged in a year. In 1944, there was one. In ’48, three. We have no immunity to new pathogens. Each disease on this list posed a new pandemic threat. It was around 1960 when the number began…

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Bird-Watching With Nick Flynn and Lili Taylor

It took a few years for Nick Flynn to get comfortable at his girlfriend’s weekend home. “I wasn’t immediately taken with it,” said Mr. Flynn, 60, a poet and the author of four memoirs, including “This Is the Night Our House Will Catch Fire,” published late last month. “It felt a little … you know,…

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The State Fair Is Canceled. Deep-Fried Oreos Are Not.

Last October, to kick off her 20th year as a vendor at the North Carolina State Fair, Felicia Turrentine-Daniel unveiled the Chickenator: a cinnamon roll sliced like a hamburger bun to hold a deep-fried chicken breast, bacon, pepper Jack cheese and a drizzle of honeyed Sriracha. “We make sure that we bring in something new…

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The Many Sides to Dan Brown

Ever since his breakout with “The Da Vinci Code,” the novelist Dan Brown has been renowned for his twisty, adrenaline-fueled yet cerebral plots involving cryptography, symbology, smart and sexy lady sidekicks, secret and violent religious cults, and unhinged zealots bent on mass murder and destruction. His new book, on the other hand, features a mouse…

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Help! What Are the Best Precautions When Traveling by Car?

Dear Tripped Up, I am 78 and my wife is 76; we’re both in good health. We are planning to drive from Chicago to Santa Monica before Thanksgiving. We are concerned about how to handle hotels, meals, bathrooms and gas stops during the pandemic. How can we stay safe? Paul Dear Paul, Travel is complicated…

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‘Sudden’ Cardiac Arrests Often Aren’t So Sudden

Most “sudden” cardiac arrests are not sudden, in the sense that most patients have visited a doctor or gone to a hospital during the two weeks before they happen. Researchers used a Danish registry of 28,955 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests recorded from 2001 to 2014 to track the patients’ interactions with doctors and hospitals in the…

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This ‘Gamer Grandma’ Has More Than 900,000 ‘Grandkids’

Shirley Curry has clocked thousands of hours of gameplay since the 1990s. She’s been a gamer longer than many of today’s top competitors have been alive. Still, when people rave about her charming walk-throughs of the blockbuster role-playing game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, she feels their praise is out of place. “When people say…

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These Scientists Are Giving Themselves D.I.Y. Coronavirus Vaccines

In April, more than three months before any coronavirus vaccine would enter large clinical trials, the mayor of a picturesque island town in the Pacific Northwest invited a microbiologist friend to vaccinate him. The exchange occurred on the mayor’s Facebook page, to the horror of several Friday Harbor residents following it. “Should I pop up…

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