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Evening Briefing: A goal of 70 percent vaccinated

Email sent: May 4, 2021 6:37pm
Plus Mexico City begins subway crash inquiry and Netanyahu fails to form government.

Your Tuesday Evening Briefing

By Whet Moser and Jade-Snow Moy

Good evening. Here’s the latest.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

1. President Biden set a new goal of vaccinating 70 percent of American adults, at least partially, by July 4.

As the pace of U.S. vaccination has slowed, Biden announced the new strategy to boost the campaign, directing thousands of pharmacies to offer walk-in appointments, creating more pop-up and mobile clinics and shipping more Covid vaccine doses to rural facilities.

As of Monday, at least 56 percent of adults — 147 million people — had received at least one shot. “We are going to make it easier than ever to get vaccinated,” Biden said. “This is your choice. It’s life and death.”

Despite a flood of vaccines available, the average number of people getting a first or second shot each day has fallen by about 50 percent from the peak on April 13.

Pfizer, which brought in $3.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021 from its vaccine, expects to ask the F.D.A. in September for emergency authorization to administer it to children between the ages of 2 and 11, and to have clinical trial data on its safety for pregnant women by early August, the company said.

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Alejandro Cegarra for The New York Times

2. Officials in Mexico City struggled to identify victims of a subway crash.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador vowed to begin an inquiry into the collapse of a metro overpass that sent a train plunging to the ground late Monday, killing at least 24 people and injuring dozens more. Children were among the dead, the city’s mayor said.

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By Tuesday afternoon, only five of the dead had been identified, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said. Here’s what we know so far.

Ever since it opened nearly a decade ago, the subway line had been plagued with structural weaknesses that led engineers to warn of potential accidents. In recent years, Mexico City’s subway system, the second largest in the Americas, has become a symbol of urban decay.

Pool photo by Ronen Zvulun

3. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a new Israeli government.

His hopes for a coalition fell short because his far-right allies refused to join a government supported by a small Islamist Arab party, which was willing to back him in return for benefits for Israel’s Arab minority.

President Reuven Rivlin may now give an eclectic camp of anti-Netanyahu parties a chance to form a government, or he could ask Parliament to put forward a candidate. He has three days to decide.

In the wake of the Mount Meron stampede, which killed 45 people, The Times learned that the government had a plan to limit attendance at the pilgrimage site to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but it was ignored.

Elizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times

4. In New York, the decision to reopen in two weeks has left some residents exhilarated and others dubious.

“It doesn’t quite feel real,” said a high school sophomore from Manhattan. “We’ve lived like this for quite a long time, this happened all a little fast.” Above, a subway exit in Brooklyn.

But the reopening is not across the board. Goldman Sachs is asking employees in the U.S. and Britain to “be in a position to return to the office” by mid- to late June, as many of the city’s larger corporations continue to plan slow reopenings. The Broadway League has said that most theaters will remain closed until September. And with social-distancing restrictions still in place, the vast majority of restaurants and bars can’t fully reopen to prepandemic crowds.

The city’s postpandemic transformation could include Park Avenue, with plans to restore its pedestrian malls to their original splendor.

Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

5. The possible ouster of Representative Liz Cheney from her leadership post looms over House Republicans.

Cheney has been vocal about criticizing Donald Trump and his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, and there now appears to be an inevitable confrontation over her position.

“I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, said of the third-ranking Republican. McCarthy appears to have soured on her as she contradicts him on whether Trump should continue to play a leading role in the party.

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Eric Gay/Associated Press

6. Big businesses are weighing in on voting rights in Texas, after weeks of silence.

A new group, which includes Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Unilever, Salesforce and Patagonia, released a letter opposing “any changes that would restrict eligible voters’ access to the ballot,” wading into the debate over Republican legislators’ proposed restrictions on balloting. Above, people opposed to the voter bills in Austin.

A separate letter signed by more than 100 Houston executives directly criticized the proposed legislation, equating the efforts with “voter suppression.”

Since trouncing Democrats at every level in last November’s elections, Texas Republicans have turned on one another over voter-fraud conspiracy theories and the pandemic.

Thomas Wells/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, via Associated Press

7. After severe weather killed at least three people in the South, more is expected.

Tens of thousands of people were without power in Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, as high winds, punishing rains and tornadoes caused damage across the South. Above, downed trees in Calhoun City, Miss.

A tornado watch was issued for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida until 11 p.m. tonight. Powerful storms were expected to move into the Mid-Atlantic region tonight, as the Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for parts of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington until 8 p.m. local time.

Lorenz Huber for The New York Times

8. China is taking a big lead in electric car production.

The country is building factories for electric cars almost as fast as the rest of the world combined, led by industry veterans, start-ups and car-industry rookies. Above, Geely’s Zeekr factory in Hangzhou Bay.

The joint venture of the e-commerce giant Alibaba and two state-backed firms, IM Motors, plans to begin delivering cars next year. Evergrande, a troubled real-estate firm, plans to make almost as many fully electric cars as all of North America by 2025, and its car unit has almost the same market capitalization as G.M.

And China has the infrastructure to support an electric-car boom: over 800,000 public charging stations, almost twice as many as the rest of the world. If you’re in the market for an electric car, here’s some advice.

Cristina Spanò

9. If you’re languishing, here’s how to flourish.

With vaccinations on the rise, hope is in the spring air. But how long will it take before life finally feels good? The answer may be in your own hands.

The first step is to think about how you’re doing. Our quiz can help. Next, start small: Savor moments, list what you’re grateful for, do five good deeds, find purpose in routine. From there, you might be ready to try something new.

Tommaso Del Panta

10. And finally, the furniture equivalent of sweatpants is in.

Low-slung, super-squishy sofas and chairs are a trend that’s been bubbling up for years, and after a year in which many people opted for all-day pajamas, they’re suddenly hot commodities. Above, Gubi’s new Pacha sofa, based on Pierre Paulin’s 1975 design.

European furniture manufacturers are digging through their archives for items that evoke plush 1970s lounges, like Cassina’s 1969 Soriana line. Last month, Cassina reintroduced the collection, which had been out of production since 1982. “For us, it was kind of a no-brainer,” said the company’s chief executive.

Have a plush evening.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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