Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

France thought it had beaten the coronavirus. But a roaring second wave has left French leaders scrambling for solutions to avoid another painful lockdown.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, on Wednesday announced a curfew for Paris and eight other major cities. The pressure on intensive care beds was intolerable, he said, adding, “Our caregivers are exhausted.”

If the virus was ever under control in France, that was before the summer. But experts say that after that period, the French, like so many others elsewhere in Europe, let their guard down.

The weekly number of new cases in Europe is now at its highest point since the start of the pandemic, rising to seven million from six million in 10 days, according to the regional director of the World Health Organization’s Europe office, Hans Kluge. The number of daily deaths has passed 1,000 for the first time in months, he said.

In an easy metaphor for a divided country, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden held individual, concurrent town hall meetings on separate networks instead of their scheduled virtual debate.

While Mr. Biden adopted a conciliatory tone, continuing to answer voters’ questions after the forum had ended, Mr. Trump was often on the offensive, sometimes sparring with his moderator or taking a more combative approach.

Here’s our guide to what happened and our fact check of both events.

Key moments:

  • Mr. Trump seemed to confirm a recent Times report that he has $400 million in outstanding debts. He called the sum “a tiny percentage of my net worth” and insisted none of it was owed to Russia.

  • Mr. Biden committed to giving an answer before the election about whether he would expand the number of Supreme Court justices, though he declined to indicate what that number might be.

  • The candidates differed on the topic of masks, with Mr. Biden brandishing his own while Mr. Trump suggested — largely inaccurately — that scientists were divided about their worth.

  • Trump refused to denounce the QAnon conspiracy theory, instead saying: “I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard.”

Will the events matter? Probably not. Presidential debates rarely cause major shifts in the polls, and these events were less memorable than a debate. But it’s often hard to know what matters in presidential politics.

What has emerged from your research that retirees should think about?

The importance of interdependence alongside independence — we all would do better in our later years if we’re connected and not isolated. And how do I maximize my health span, not just my life span?

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