An oxygen emergency in India

Email sent: May 5, 2021 6:03pm

President Biden aims to vaccinate 70 percent of US adults by Independence Day; India faces a critical oxygen shortage.


Tonight's Sentences was written by Gregory Svirnovskiy.

The White House shifts its vaccine strategy
Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • President Joe Biden is aiming to ensure that 70 percent of US adults have had at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot by July 4. While his first two vaccination goals, getting 100 million and then 200 million people jabbed in his administration’s first 100 days, were relatively easy to achieve, this new benchmark may be trickier. [CNBC / Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Kevin Breuninger]
  • The reason: vaccine hesitancy. The rate of vaccinations has slowed considerably, and certain states are no longer finding enough takers to use their vaccine stock immediately. To vaccinate the 35 million more people needed to hit its new benchmark, the White House is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on efforts like community outreach, vaccine education, and supporting rural health clinics. [CNN / Kate Sullivan, Betsy Klein, and Maegan Vazquez
  • The White House is also shifting its vaccine distribution strategy. States will have the option to decline vaccine doses if they deem demand too low. Those extra doses will then go into a federal bank, and optioned out to states where demand is higher.  [Washington Post / Isaac Stanley-Becker]
  • This week, Iowa turned down nearly 75 percent of the vaccine doses offered to the state. Louisiana, which one of has the country’s lowest vaccination rates at just 27 percent, hasn’t accepted the government’s full allotment of vaccines in weeks. [AP / Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire]
  • Meanwhile, mask use continues to decline among Americans, particularly in light of the updated CDC guidelines on outdoor mask-wearing. 47% of unvaccinated respondents say they wear a mask every time they leave the house. Among vaccinated people, that number is down from 74% in mid-April to 63% today. [Ipsos]
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In India, a public clamoring for lockdowns and oxygen
  • India’s Supreme Court is ordering the government to present a plan that would address oxygen shortfalls in New Delhi hospitals. As India struggles with one of the world’s worst Covid-19 outbreaks, with over 382,000 new cases counted Wednesday, oxygen has become incredibly scarce. And the government is falling short. Just 40% of New Delhi hospitals’ oxygen needs are being met. [AP / Ashok Sharma]
  • This week, India officially broke 20 million cases since the beginning of the pandemic, to go along with 222,408 deaths (both likely undercounts). Opposition leaders, such as Rahul Gandhi, and domestic business leaders are calling for a renewed nationwide lockdown. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thus far resisted. [Reuters]
  • Modi had called for state officials to consider lockdowns a last resort, advocating first for “micro-containment zones,” specific Covid-19 hot spots where movement is limited. Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, three of India's largest cities, have each enacted full shutdowns in the absence of unified government action. [Fortune / Biman Mukherji]
  • “I just want to make it clear that a lockdown is now the only option because of a complete lack of strategy” by the government, Gandhi tweeted yesterday. “They allowed, rather, they actively helped the virus reach this stage where there’s no other way to stop it. A crime has been committed against India.” [Twitter]
  • Chief White House Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci encouraged Indian officials to shut down the country, and the White House began restricting travel to and from India, citing an increased risk for Covid-19 spread and variant propagation. [Axios / Oriana Gonzalez]
Clicks on stories about former President Donald Trump have fallen 91% since January, suggesting Trump lost his status at the center of the national conversation when he lost hold of the presidency — and his ability to tweet.

[Axios / Neal Rothschild]

  • House Republicans have turned on Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a frequent critic of Trump; they look set to strip her of her position as the third-highest-ranking member in the chamber. [CNN / Stephen Collinson]
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has missed the deadline to form a coalition government in the Knesset with himself in charge. His political future is in question, as President Reuven Rivlin will now likely give one of the 13 opposition parties a chance at forming a government. [Haaretz / Jonathan Lis and Jack Khoury]
  • Fewer than 380,000 people have been vaccinated in Iraq, a country of 40 million, as health officials fight to vaccinate an apathetic and distrustful population amid rising case numbers. [AP / Abdulrahman Zeyad]
  • It’s highly likely the Scottish Nationalist Party will win the most seats in Scotland’s election this year. What that means for supporters' hopes of a new referendum on Scottish independence is complicated. [AP / Jill Lawless and Renee Graham]
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"I want to be clear, Peloton made a mistake in our initial response to the CPSC's request. We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologize."

[Peloton CEO John Foley after the company recalled all its treadmills following news of a child's death and 70 reported injuries. For weeks, Peloton had been fighting the Consumer Product Safety Commission's request for a total recall.]

Congress takes on sexual assault in the military

Congress wants to change how the military prosecutes sex crimes. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand explains her bill. [Spotify / Sean Rameswaram]

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