(Want to get this newsletter in your inbox? Here’s the sign-up.)
Good evening. It was an extraordinary news day; let’s break it down.
1. President Trump’s positive coronavirus test sent a shudder around the world and instantly upended the presidential race just a month before the election.
A lot has happened since that announcement this morning, but here’s where things stand as of late this afternoon.
Mr. Trump left the White House tonight, pictured above, to undergo tests at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and will remain there for “a few days” on the advice of his doctors. He currently has a fever, congestion and a cough, people close to him said.
The president’s schedule today was cleared, and Vice President Mike Pence filled in for the president for the only event that remained on his calendar — a phone call with governors. The White House officials said Mr. Trump remained able to carry out his duties.
Joe Biden, who appeared with the president at a debate on Tuesday, tested negative for the coronavirus. But experts warned that it could take days after exposure for the virus to reach detectable levels.
The positive test sent government officials scrambling to determine who else might have been exposed. These are the public officials and members of Mr. Trump’s circle who have recently tested positive or negative. The first lady is isolating at the White House after testing positive.
2. The next week is the critical phase of Mr. Trump’s illness.
The president received a promising experimental treatment: an antibody cocktail developed by the biotech company Regeneron, according tothe White House.
Mr. Trump, who is 74, is in a high-risk group for falling seriously ill with Covid-19. Older men have a greater chance of becoming severely ill from the virus, though many recover quickly.
For the moment, Mr. Trump is said to remain well enough to discharge his duties. If the illness were to become worse, the president under the 25th Amendment could temporarily transfer his powers to Mr. Pence, who tested negative. Not since 1981, when Ronald Reagan was shot, has a president been known to confront a life-threatening episode in office.
3. The president’s positive coronavirus test injects a volatile new element into the presidential race. A rally scheduled for tonight in Orland, Fla., was canceled, above.
The unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent, but the decline masks a worrying trend: Many women, who were hit hard early in the pandemic as service sector jobs evaporated and child-care responsibilities kept them at home, have stopped looking for jobs and dropped out of the work force entirely.
Congress recessed for the weekend without an agreement on a new aid package. Speaker Nancy Pelosi floated the possibility that Mr. Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis could change the tenor of the negotiations.
5. In a secretly taped conversation, Melania Trump mocked the plight of migrant children who were separated from their parents at the border. She also ranted about Christmas decorations at the White House.
The 2018 conversation between the first lady and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former aide and confidante, was broadcast on CNN last night, before Mrs. Trump’s positive coronavirus test was disclosed. She complained about the criticism leveled at President Trump and his administration that summer for separating families in a crackdown on illegal immigration.
Separately, the Trump administration said it would cut its already rock-bottom refugee admissions still deeper for the upcoming year, to 15,000 from 18,000. Both numbers are slivers of the 110,000 slots that President Barack Obama approved in 2016.
6. Our reporters analyzed an audio recording of the grand jury inquiry into the killing of Breonna Taylor.
The audio files, which are about 15 hours long, do not include recommendations from prosecutors about which charges they think should be brought against the police officers involved in the shooting. The Kentucky attorney general, Daniel Cameron, has said that jurors were told that the two officers who shot Ms. Taylor were justified in their actions.
The move came after a grand juror filed a court motion asking for the proceedings to be made public, and accused Mr. Cameron of using the jurors to deflect blame over the decision. The jurors indicted a former officer last week with endangering Ms. Taylor’s neighbors but did not charge either of the officers who fatally shot her.
7. The people of the Amazon are living the most extreme versions of our planet’s urgent problems. Above, a member of the Uru Eu Wau Wau Indigenous group.
Our Opinion section asked a dozen experts to explain the situation and to imagine a better future. The project covers how human development is wreaking havoc on the region (and the world), the impact of religion in spreading disease, the untapped pharmaceutical treasures, and more.
We also looked at what made 2020 a record fire season. It started with lightning, as this animation shows, but climate change played a crucial role. “If the lightning caused the home run, global warming put runners on base,” a climate scientist at Stanford University said.
8. Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest marathoner ever. He’s also running’s philosopher in chief.
Kipchoge, who became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours, will race for the first time since his Vienna triumph last October at the London Marathon on Sunday. In redefining human limits, he also thinks hard about the meaning of his quest.
Back in the U.S., a rapid-fire W.N.B.A. season will end with a finals collision between the league’s top two teams: the Las Vegas Aces and the Seattle Storm.
9. Not even a pandemic can stop the vibrant colors of fall.
Six writers in six states — Massachusetts, Ohio, West Virginia, Maine, Tennessee and Colorado — named their favorite drives and hikes to try this fall. Apple cider doughnuts, a highway ghost and sightings of otters, beavers and wild turkeys may be included.
Looking ahead toward another fall tradition, one of our editors (and a dad) really likes frightening young children at Halloween. “Without tears and some light emotional scarring, Halloween is just another saccharine Hallmark holiday,” Erik Vance writes. He hopes making children tremble isn’t a thing of the past.
If a cozy read is more your speed, here are 17 new books to watch for this month.
10. And finally, Super Mario at 35.
In 1985, Super Mario Bros. made a high-jumping plumber named Mario Nintendo’s equivalent of Mickey Mouse. The game was revelatory:a challenging, dreamlike cartoon that scrolled across a TV screen. The latest iteration of the game lets 35 people play the original game simultaneously.
We asked Stephen Totilo, a gaming expert, to name 35 things to consider about the overachieving plumber and why he remains popular. His favorite Mario jump: “I nominate the triple jump from Super Mario 64 — a trio of high-arc leaps, accompanied by three giddy yelps,” he writes. “That might be the best thing in gaming ever.”
Have a playful weekend.
Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.
Want to catch up on past briefings? You can browse them here.
What did you like? What do you want to see here? Let us know at email@example.com.