👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ The FDA is expected to authorize Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children as young as 12 by next week. The Pfizer vaccine was authorized by the FDA for people 16 and older in December, while Moderna is currently authorized for ages 18 and up. Children now account for 22.4% of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. (New York Times / NPR / Washington Post / Associated Press)
2/ The number of people getting their first Covid-19 vaccine dose has declined in at least 47 states as the country approaches 150 million vaccinated people. The average number of people getting a first or single dose vaccine each day has fallen by about 50% from the April 13 peak. While the 11-day safety-based pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is partly responsible, health officials say the decline is the mark of a successful campaign as the people most eager to get vaccinated have already gotten their shots. Biden, meanwhile, set a July 4th goal for the country to have 160 million adults in the U.S. fully vaccinated, and 70% of adults having at least one vaccine shot. More than 56% of adult Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 105 million are fully vaccinated. (Bloomberg / New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
3/ The White House will reallocate some Covid-19 vaccine doses away from states with lower demand to those where demand remains high. States will continue to receive weekly vaccine allotments based on their populations, but the new policy puts unordered doses into a federal bank for other states to order from. States with greater demand for vaccines can request and receive up to 50% of their regular allocation. Previously, unordered doses carried over week to week. (Washington Post / Politico / USA Today)
4/ America’s “new normal” temperature is one degree hotter than it was two decades ago, according to NOAA’s updated set of climate averages for the contiguous U.S. based on the 30-year period from 1991 to 2020. The 30-year average temperature for the contiguous U.S. hit a record high of 53.28 degrees. Twenty years ago, normal was 52.3 degrees based on data from 1971 to 2000, and the average U.S. temperature for the 20th century was 52 degrees. The U.S. is not just hotter, but also wetter in the eastern and central parts of the nation, and drier in the West than a decade earlier. (Associated Press / Washington Post)
5/ More than 180 businesses, executives, and community leaders released letters calling for expanded voting access in Texas, saying they oppose “any changes that would restrict eligible voters’ access to the ballot.” The letters criticize two voting bills currently advancing through the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature, including the reallocation of polling machines, limiting early voting options, and adding criminal penalties to various parts of the election process. “These provisions, among others, will inevitably damage our competitiveness in attracting businesses and workers to Houston,” the group, called Fair Elections Texas, said. “Voter suppression is a stain on our reputation that could cost our region millions of dollars.” (NBC News / New York Times / ABC News)
6/ House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said Republican lawmakers are questioning whether Rep. Liz Cheney can continue in her leadership role as she continues to criticize Trump and reject his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. “I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” McCarthy said on Fox News. “We all need to be working as one if we we’re able to win the majority.” Cheney, the party’s No. 3, accused Trump of “poisoning” U.S. democracy by repeating his false claims about the 2020 election and that Republicans should not “whitewash” the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, saying Trump’s role in fomenting it “is a line that cannot be crossed.” During an off-air moment caught on a hot mic, McCarthy told Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy: “I think she’s got real problems. I’ve had it with […] I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. […] Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.” (Bloomberg / CNN / Axios / New York Times / Politico)
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