New and frightening COVID-19 variants are infecting people at a record pace. That puts all of us at risk of having to go back to square one.

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Watch: How likely is a universal vaccine to combat all variants? Doctor answers your COVID-19 questions

Coronavirus variants are threatening our progress

For the first time in over a year, people are starting to feel hope that the pandemic has finally turned a corner. Nearly a third of Americans are fully vaccinated, and the CDC has relaxed its recommendations on outdoor masks. But it's not that simple:

In reality, we're entering one of the most precarious moments in the pandemic.

We're in a critical race between vaccines and variants of the virus, and despite all the progress we've made in recent months, the outcome is far from certain. Fewer than one in 10 people on the planet has had even a single dose of any COVID-19 vaccine, while new and frightening variants are infecting people at a record pace. And that puts all of us - even, in a worst-case scenario, the vaccinated among us - at risk of having to go back to square one.

"It's not looking good, just to be totally honest," said leading virologist Dr. James Hildreth. The big question now is, have we seen the worst variations this virus has to offer? More and more, scientists are leaning into the camp of not so sure about that.

Here are three ways the variants could win:

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Inside Steve Cohen's massive hedge-fund network

An Insider review found more than 80 hedge funds connected to Point72 founder Steve Cohen, including big names and former managers. Insider used LinkedIn, past media reports, industry sources, and more to compile the list:

Steve Cohen's decades-long career in finance has made him billions of dollars across two different hedge funds and led to the creation of more than 80 other firms.

Dozens of people who have worked for the famed stock picker - who was forced to close his first fund after a yearslong battle with the Justice Department - have gone on to found their own funds.

Notable names to come from now-closed SAC Capital and Cohen's current fund, the $20 billion Point72, include the founder of the $8 billion fund Melvin Capital, Gabe Plotkin, and the founder of $1.8 billion Honeycomb Asset Management, David Fiszel.

See Cohen's hedge-fund family tree:

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Influencers were promised a Hollywood dream. What they got was much different.

Clubhouse Media Group, headed up by real-estate operator Amir Ben-Yohanan, built a business running a chain of TikTok influencer mansions. In exchange for living rent-free in the luxe setup, influencers are expected to create branded videos for CMG, but many said the luxury wasn't worth the cost:

At the end of a long driveway in Beverly Hills, California, sits a 12,000-square-foot mansion designed by the mid-century architect William Beckett.

The multimillion-dollar home, just a few minutes' drive from the Playboy Mansion and a celebrity hot spot, the Beverly Hills Hotel, is decked out with a wine cellar, a home theater, and a meditation garden. For the past year, it's been home to a rotating cast of Gen Z internet stars.

In the 15-second videos that its tenants posted on TikTok, living in a Clubhouse mansion appeared to be a dream gig. But insiders said the lifestyle came at a cost. Behind the scenes, some influencers said, Ben-Yohanan bullied influencers - many of whom are teenagers - and spoke to them in ways they found to be inappropriate and, at times, misogynistic.

Read more about the influencer mansions:

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Watch: Do coronavirus vaccines affect fertility?

Some Peloton customers reported concerns as early as 2019

Earlier this week, Peloton recalled all of its treadmills after weeks of scrutiny from customers and federal regulators. But before the recall, some customers said they experienced injuries, mechanical malfunctions, a lack of sufficient guidance - and a sluggish response from the company: 

Cary Kelly, a seasoned marathon runner, says she lost her footing two minutes into a workout on her Peloton Tread+ in May 2019.

When she fell, she says she landed facedown on the treadmill. According to Kelly, the machine then propelled her prone body backward so forcefully her legs broke through the wall. Unable to move, she says she remained stuck in this position as the treadmill belt continued moving beneath her, tearing into her skin on her face and neck.

"It seemed like a million minutes, like I was there forever," Kelly said.

Five Peloton customers shared their experiences:

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Lastly, here are some headlines you might have missed last week.

- Matt

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