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States beg for Warp Speed billions to distribute COVID-19 vaccines

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.


  • Warp Speed is the $10 billion initiative to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine timeline. Early projections said it would take years to develop and distribute a vaccine, but it increasingly looks like one will be approved for use this year.

The big picture: CDC director Robert Redfield has estimated that price tag at $6 billion.

  • States have thus far gotten $200 million, with another $140 million on the way before the New Year, reports WashPost.
  • "It's kind of like setting up tent poles without having the tent," Maine CDC director Nirav Shah told reporters.

Between the lines: The CDC is asking for Pfizer's vaccine candidate. The company laid out a timeline earlier this month that said it could request an emergency use authorization by late February.

How it works: Pfizer has a facility in Michigan where vaccine vials will be packed into dry ice pods, NPR reports.

  • These "pods will be loaded into boxes that can keep these ultra-cold temperatures for up to 10 days. And they'll be moved around the country in cargo planes and trucks by carriers like UPS and FedEx."

The bottom line: "As far as trying to reach all populations with effective vaccine, that's going to be a real challenge," said Mississippi's state health director Thomas Dobbs.

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 11 highlights

Day 11 of the Tokyo Olympic Games Norway's Karsten Warholm smash the world record in the 400-meter hurdles — and so did the second-placed American Rai Benjamin on Tuesday.

The big picture: Meanwhile, in men's basketball Team USA overcame a tough challenge from Spain to win 95-81 and advance to the semifinals, with Kevin Durant scoring 29 points for the Americans.

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Raven Saunders says U.S. athletes planned "X" protests "for weeks"

Raven Saunders, the American Olympian facing a possible investigation for making a protest gesture on the podium over the weekend, told the New York Times Monday that U.S. athletes had planned "for weeks" to demonstrate against oppression.

Why it matters: Protests are banned at the Tokyo Games. Saunders told the NYT a group of American Olympians had settled on the "X" symbol, which she gestured on the podium after winning silver in the shot put Sunday, to represent "unity with oppressed people."

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Study: Social media giants failed to remove 84% of antisemitic posts

Five social media giants failed to remove 84% of antisemitic posts in May and June — and Facebook performed the worst despite announcing new rules to tackle the problem, a new report finds.

Driving the news: The Center for Countering Digital Hatred (CCDH) notes in its study that it reported 714 posts containing "anti-Jewish hatred" to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and TikTok — which were collectively viewed 7.3 million times. These "clearly violated" company policies, according to the CCDH.

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Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard: "It gets better"

Speaking to reporters after becoming the first openly transgender woman to compete in the Olympics, Laurel Hubbard on Tuesday expressed gratitude for the opportunity to compete as an athlete and the hope that her story will help convince

What she's saying: "All I have ever really wanted as an athlete is just to be regarded as an athlete," Hubbard, said in response to a question from Axios. "I suppose the thing I have been so grateful here in Tokyo is just being given those opportunities to just go through life as any other athlete."

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Amazon may have violated law in Alabama warehouse vote, NLRB says

Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., should hold a new election to determine whether to unionize with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, the National Labor Relations Board said in a preliminary finding Monday.

Driving the news: The e-commerce giant may have illegally interfered in a mail-in election tallied in April on whether workers at the plant should unionize, according to a statement from an NLRB hearing officer assigned to the case.

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Evictions lead to rare clash between the White House and Dems

The White House and Democratic leaders have been dueling— publicly and privately — over who should take responsibility for extending an eviction moratorium that could protect millions of people on the verge of homelessness.

Why it matters: It's a rare moment of dysfunction between the usually-in-lockstep Biden team and congressional leadership.

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Lindsey Graham tests positive for COVID-19

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, despite being vaccinated.

Why it matters: Graham emphasized that the mildness of his symptoms is due to being vaccinated. If he had been unvaccinated his symptoms would be "far worse," he said.

U.S. consulting with U.K., Romania and Israel on response to alleged Iran attack

The British and Romanian governments summoned the Iranian ambassadors to London and Bucharest on Monday to protest last week's drone strike on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman, which both countries have attributed to Iran.

The latest: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a briefing Monday that the U.S. is consulting with the U.K., Romania and Israel to prepare a collective response to the alleged Iranian attack.

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