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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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As President Trump continued his war against fake news this week, reporters around the country produced groundbreaking investigative reporting from the halls of nursing homes to the halls of power. Three longform reads that you should spend some time with this weekend:

  • The New Yorker's Rachel Aviv exposed the world of elder abuse via guardianships in Clark County, Nevada, detailing how seniors can lose control of their homes, assets, and livelihoods — all by a very legal process. It's commonly practiced in areas known for their extensive retirement communities, allowing lightly-trained legal guardians to sell off seniors' estates for extensive profit while providing them with a minimum of care.
  • BuzzFeed News' Joseph Bernstein obtained emails and documents from Breitbart News and examined how the right-wing news site's most popular personality interacted and worked to bring alt-right ideas into the public sphere. Come for Steve Bannon texting Milo Yiannopoulos "Dude!!! LMAO!" but stay for the revelation of Yiannopoulos' passwords, which are riddled with anti-Semitic and Nazi references.
  • The Atlantic's Caitlin Flanagan produced a harrowing account of the hazing death of Tim Piazza, a fraternity pledge at Penn State University, all while systemically exposing the procedures in place to shield the larger fraternity industry from similar incidents. While the minute-by-minute account of Piazza's abuse compiled via a grand jury presentment is terrifying enough, it's Flanagan's interview with his parents that might linger the longest.

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

6 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
8 hours ago - Health

Why we need to know COVID's origins

The WHO's headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.

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