74 of Our Favorite Facts for 2020

Each day, our editors collect the most interesting, striking or delightful facts to appear in articles throughout the paper. Here are 74 from the past year that were the most revealing.


1. Japan’s legal system has a 99 percent conviction rate.
Carlos Ghosn, at Home but Waiting for the Next Move

2. Fishing remains the United States’ second most dangerous profession, after logging.
Overtaken by Frigid Seas, Hours From Help, There Was Little Chance of Survival

3. McSorley’s Old Ale House, established in 1854 in the East Village, served beer to Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon.
After 190 Years, the ‘Most Famous Bar You’ve Never Heard of’ Avoids Last Call

4. The Lehigh Valley in Eastern Pennsylvania is within an eight-hour drive of one-third of American consumers.
What the Rebirth of This Old Steel Center Means for Trump

8. In Thailand, the military has staged 18 coups since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932.
Thai Soldier in Mass Shooting Had Business Clash With His Commander

9. About 95 percent of Egypt’s population lives on about 4 percent of the land, a green belt roughly half the

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U.K. Authorizes Covid-19 Vaccine From Oxford and AstraZeneca

LONDON — Britain on Wednesday became the first country to give emergency authorization to the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, clearing the path for a cheap and easy-to-store shot that much of the world will rely on to help end the pandemic.

In a bold departure from prevailing strategies around the world, the British government also decided to begin giving as many people as possible a first dose of coronavirus vaccines, rather than holding back supplies for quick second shots, greatly expanding the number of people who will be inoculated.

That decision put Britain at the vanguard of a far-reaching and uncertain experiment in speeding up vaccinations, one that some scientists believe will curb the suffering wrought by a pandemic that has been killing hundreds of people each day in Britain and thousands more around the world.

The effects of delaying second doses as a way of giving more people the partial protection of a single dose are not fully known. Britain, believed by experts to be the first country to undertake such a plan, will also delay second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been in use there for several weeks and

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Runners’ Post-Pandemic Dreams – The New York Times

This was a different and difficult year for running, with the Olympics delayed, major marathons and races canceled, and even group runs largely off the table.We asked readers what they dream about doing as soon as it’s safe to gather again. Here’s what some of our running readers had to say. (Responses have been edited and condensed.)

If you have future running dreams you want to tell us about, please add them in the comments.

I look forward to the day where I can train for my first marathon, feel nervous five minutes before the start of the race, wonder if I should really wait in line for this toilet or if I have it in me to keep going for X miles, sprinting through the finish line despite feeling like I was so done just two miles back, living for that warm shower right after when I can feel all of my chaffed patches of skin sting, going for what surely is over 1,000 calories of fuel packed into a loaded burger paired with sweet potato fries at the local pub, and then going home and immediately falling asleep, dreaming of the next time I can

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Soothing Anxiety and Stress: Advice From the Year in Well

For many of us, 2020 was an exceptionally stressful year, dominated by fears about the coronavirus pandemic. Even with the vaccine on the horizon, we’re likely to need some stress management strategies to carry us into 2021. There’s lots of advice in this guide by Tara Parker-Pope, How to Be Better at Stress. Stress doesn’t have to get you down, she writes: “Approach it the right way, and it won’t rule your life — it can even be good for you. Here are ways to deal with stress, reduce its harm and even use your daily stress to make you stronger.”

Following are more tips from the past year’s stories by Well writers.

By Kari Leibowitz and Alia Crum

These are stressful times. As a result of coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19, millions of Americans aren’t just worried about their health, but also about their livelihoods and their futures. At the same time, warnings abound that stress itself is bad for our health and might even make us more susceptible to the illness. The irony is obvious.

Fortunately, there is an alternative approach: We can actually use that stress

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US Will Require UK Travelers to Have a Negative Coronavirus Test

People traveling immediately after the holiday may face uncertainty: Many private testing clinics and labs are closed on Christmas Day, so testing within the 72-hour window may prove difficult, especially for the P.C.R. screening, which must be sent to a lab and can take several days to process.

The rapid antigen test, a relatively new tool to detect the virus, gives a result in around 30 minutes, but it is not as widely available, although it is cheaper. Heathrow Airport, for example, charges passengers about $130 for P.C.R. results with 48 hours and about $60 for antigen tests with results within 45 minutes.

Both tests are offered at major British airports — including Heathrow and Gatwick, London’s two major hubs, and Manchester Airport — but passengers must register in advance. It was unclear how many would be able to procure a test and get a result in time for travel.

The introduction of new travel restrictions led to concerns that travelers to the United States would flock to the airport, as Londoners did at train stations last Saturday when tighter domestic rules were announced. But employees at Heathrow on Friday described a normal,

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U.S. Will Require Negative Covid-19 Test for All Travelers From U.K.

People traveling immediately after the holiday may face uncertainty: Many private testing clinics and labs are closed on Christmas Day, so testing within the 72-hour window may prove difficult, especially for the P.C.R. screening, which must be sent to a lab and can take several days to process.

The rapid antigen test, a relatively new tool to detect the virus, gives a result in around 30 minutes, but it is not as widely available, although it is cheaper. Heathrow Airport, for example, charges passengers about $130 for P.C.R. results with 48 hours and about $60 for antigen tests with results within 45 minutes.

Both tests are offered at major British airports — including Heathrow and Gatwick, London’s two major hubs, and Manchester Airport — but passengers must register in advance. It was unclear how many would be able to procure a test and get a result in time for travel.

The introduction of new travel restrictions led to concerns that travelers to the United States would flock to the airport, as Londoners did at train stations last Saturday when tighter domestic rules were announced. But employees at Heathrow on Friday described a normal,

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Sugary Drinks May Be Bad for Aging

Sweetened drinks are not generally considered healthy for anyone, but they may be particularly harmful for the elderly.

Researchers report that consumption of both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks is associated with an increased risk for frailty in women over 60.

The scientists defined frailty as meeting at least three of five criteria: fatigue, reduced strength, low aerobic capacity, having five or more chronic illnesses, and having at least a 5 percent weight loss during the last two years.

The study, in PLOS Medicine, included 71,935 women who had filled out food-frequency and health questionnaires periodically from 1992 to 2014. During that time, 11,559 of the women met the criteria for frailty.

Women who drank two or more servings of sugar-sweetened beverages a day were 32 percent more likely to become frail than those who drank none. For artificially sweetened drinks, the results were similar — a 28 percent increased risk for women who had two or more servings a day. The study controlled for age, smoking, alcohol intake, and many other health and behavioral characteristics.

“This is a very large study with many years of follow-up,” said the lead author, Ellen A. Struijk, a researcher at the Autonomous

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Secret to Longevity? 4-Minute Bursts of Intense Exercise May Help

Another group began exercising moderately for longer sessions of 50 minutes twice a week. And the third group started a program of twice-weekly high-intensity interval training, or H.I.I.T., during which they cycled or jogged at a strenuous pace for four minutes, followed by four minutes of rest, with that sequence repeated four times.

Almost everyone kept up their assigned exercise routines for five years, an eternity in science, returning periodically to the lab for check-ins, tests and supervised group workouts. During that time, the scientists noted that quite a few of the participants in the control had dabbled with interval-training classes at local gyms, on their own initiative and apparently for fun. The other groups did not alter their routines.

After five years, the researchers checked death registries and found that about 4.6 percent of all of the original volunteers had passed away during the study, a lower number than in the wider Norwegian population of 70-year-olds, indicating these active older people were, on the whole, living longer than others of their age.

But they also found interesting, if slight, distinctions between the groups. The men and women in the high-intensity-intervals group were about 2 percent less likely to have

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‘Each Day Is Critical’: South Korea’s 11th-Hour Battle with Covid

SEOUL, South Korea — In several provinces across South Korea, there are no I.C.U. beds available to treat the rapidly rising number of Covid-19 patients. As of Monday, the government confirmed that there were only 42 beds available nationwide. In the Seoul metropolitan area, home to half of the country’s population and the majority of its recent infections, there were just six. ​

The latest explosion of coronavirus cases in South Korea has put the country on edge in a way that it has not been since the beginning of the pandemic. If cases can’t be brought under control and the strain on hospitals continues to deteriorate, the government may for the first time impose Level 3 restrictions, the highest level of social-distancing rules ​short of a lockdown in South Korea.

A quiet fear has taken hold in a country that for much of the year was held up as a model for the rest of the world. The streets of Seoul are growing more empty by the day. Supermarkets have reported brisk sales of instant noodles and meal kits. Restaurant owners are anxious they will be forced to close their doors to dine-in customers, taking orders for takeout only.

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