First Thing: US reaches Biden’s 70% first-shot goal

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<span>Photograph: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

Good morning.

At least 70% of adults in the US have received one Covid-19 vaccination shot, reaching a target set by Joe Biden for 4 July.

This comes as the Delta variant of the virus surges among unvaccinated communities, with the US getting an average of 72,000 new cases of Covid-19 per day – higher than last summer’s surge.

  • “Breakthrough” infections of vaccinated individuals are rare, said Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well,” she said.

  • More than 90% of all cases, and more than 95% that resulted in hospitalizations or deaths, were among unvaccinated people, a state-by-state study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed. That same study found that less than 1% of fully vaccinated people experienced a breakthrough infection.

Meanwhile, San Francisco and six other California Bay Area counties have reimposed mask mandates for indoor spaces amid the surge, less than two months after a statewide loosening of restrictions. This comes as San Francisco’s infection rate has skyrocketed to nearly 20 times what it was at its lowest point in June.

Amazon warehouse workers could get second chance to form union

Alabama Amazon warehouse workers voted in April rejecting the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union after Amazon launched a hard-fought campaign to stop workers from joining. An official at the US National Labor Relations Board has since determined that this campaign and Amazon’s tactics against unionization tainted the election sufficiently to warrant a do-over.

Simone Biles competes again in Olympics

Simone Biles competes in the floor event of the artistic gymnastic women&#x002019;s qualification during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo.
Simone Biles competes in the floor event of the artistic gymnastic women’s qualification during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo. Photograph: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

After withdrawing from three event finals and an all-around final to protect her safety and her mental health, Simone Biles has returned to the Tokyo Olympics in the balance beam final. Team USA gymnast Sunisa Lee, who won gold in the women’s individual all-around, will also compete.

In other news …

Donald Trump supporters enter the US Capitol&#x002019;s Rotunda on 6 January 2021.
Donald Trump supporters enter the US Capitol’s Rotunda on 6 January 2021. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
  • A third police officer who defended the US Capitol during the 6 January attack has killed himself.

  • Internet and internet access in Cuba has become a hot-button topic, especially after Havana shut off online access for 72 hours.

  • Cigna call center employees are petitioning for better working conditions, which they say are currently driven by high production demands, fear of being fired, lack of training, and long processing times for customers to receive reimbursement for Covid-19 testing costs.

  • Comedian Kathy Griffin is undergoing surgery for lung cancer, “even though I never smoked,” she said.

Stat of the day: roughly 1.4m households ‘very likely’ to be evicted from their rentals in the next two months

The White House said yesterday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was “unable to find legal authority for a new, targeted eviction moratorium”, leaving more than a million Americans at risk of losing their homes as the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant worsens, according to Census Bureau data.

Don’t miss: the lost history of the electric car

The failure of the electric car in the early 20th century was not all purely technical – there was a psychological component in which consumers did not want to feel limited by the uncertainty of when they’d be able to recharge an electric vehicle’s battery. This uncertainty helped pave the way for decades of a gas-guzzling car culture that dictated foreign policy around the world.

Climate check: working from home may not work

It was always assumed that remote work was better for the environment, with a lack of rush hour commute and bumper-and-bumper to traffic. But climate calculations are more complicated than just looking at how packed the roadways are in the mornings and evenings.

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Last Thing: Like butter

Bone marrow. Bourbon. Rosemary and sage. Chocolate. Chefs around the world are taking butter and transforming it into something beyond. The once-maligned spread of the anti-saturated fat health trend days, these days, butter is having a second coming, with one restaurant in Colorado going so far as serving a “flight” of butters.

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