Your Friday briefing


We cover the US preparing for Covid booster shots and the firing of a US diplomat over the deportation of Haitian migrants.

A day after drug regulators authorized the third injection of the Pfizer vaccine for some Americans, a panel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specified who would qualify.

CDC science advisors unanimously supported the booster injection for adults over age 65 and for residents of long-term care facilities. They also endorsed admissions for people ages 18 to 64 with underlying conditions. At the end of the week, people should be able to receive the injections.

U.S. drug regulators on Wednesday had approved the booster shots for older and high-risk adults and those in high-exposure jobs.

Our science and global health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli broke off the debate about boosters.

Why are booster shots necessary for these vulnerable populations?

There’s very little disagreement about whether older adults — over 80, for example — should get the booster shot. The evidence is pretty clear: they’re at high risk, and their immunity isn’t great at first and it wears off quickly.

But the question many experts ask is, “What’s the point here?” We don’t want to risk infection in older adults, but for everyone else, avoiding all infections may not be the right goal, because these vaccines will never deliver.

What they are saying is that the purpose of these vaccines should instead be to prevent serious illness and hospitalization. And there the data does not yet show a decrease in young people.

What about the counter-arguments from WHO officials and countries with much lower vaccination rates that the US should spread the wealth?

In practice, Covax has had a lot of trouble getting the vaccine companies and countries to keep their promises. By the end of this year, they will be about 25 percent less than their target. Obviously it’s not as simple as making doses for rich countries and making doses for poor countries at the same time.

The reality is that billions of people are still unvaccinated and there is a limit to the number of vaccines that can be made. Many public health experts I’ve spoken to have said that if we continue to give rich people boosters when the majority of the world’s population has not had a dose, we actually run the risk of creating new variants that can be more dangerous. are Delta.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

As Germans geared up to vote for her successor on Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled across the country and was unexpectedly involved in campaigning — a sign that her conservatives were still in a dangerous position.

For weeks, polls have shown that the Social Democratic Party is in the lead, ahead of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union. But in the last week, the Conservatives have narrowed the gap to about three percentage points.

For Germany and for Merkel’s legacy, there is a lot at stake. Merkel has been in power since 2005 and many young people in the country have only known her as their leader.

context: For years, the Social Democrats were the forgotten junior partner in government. Now they are conducting one of their strongest campaigns in years, marked by clear messages on issues from raising the minimum wage to creating more affordable housing. Their candidate, Olaf Scholz, called himself the best candidate to succeed Merkel.

Daniel Foote, the senior US diplomat who oversees Haiti policy, has submitted a letter to the State Department condemning the Biden administration’s “inhumane, counterproductive decision” to return Haitian migrants to a country that destroyed by a major earthquake and political unrest has been severely criticized. .

About 1,400 Haitian migrants who had traveled to the Texas border from Mexico and Central America have been deported since Sunday, as Haitian officials pleaded with the US for a “humanitarian moratorium.”

Foote was named special envoy to Haiti in July, just weeks after President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his bedroom during a nighttime raid on his home. In his letter, Foote criticized a “cycle of international political interventions in Haiti” that “has produced consistently catastrophic results.”

Details: Foote is said to have pushed for more oversight and more responsibilities in his work as an envoy to Haiti, efforts that were rebuffed by senior State Department officials.

News from Asia and Australia

There are now two Australians: one with Covid and one who has managed to keep it out. In Perth, offices, pubs and stadiums are overcrowded and as always. In Sydney, residents are approaching their 14th week of lockdown. The confidence of 2020, when lockdowns triggered the outbreaks, has been replaced by doubt, fatigue and a struggle over how much freedom or risk should be allowed in a Delta-defined future.

The “Close-Up” exhibition, which opened Sunday at the Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland, asks visitors to reflect on how female artists view their portrait subjects, reports Nina Siegal for The Times.

Curated by Theodora Vischer, the exhibition of approximately 100 works of art presents portraits from 1870 to the present day by nine women, including Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Cindy Sherman, and Marlene Dumas. It asks: is there such a thing as the “female gaze”? If the “masculine gaze” refers to the way men view the female body as a subject, what happens when women take portraits? Do they view their subjects differently?

“The show allows you to take part in an alternative form of art history,” said Donatien Grau, a French art critic and curator. It is, he said, art history seen through the eyes of female artists.

To make spicy tomato-coconut bisque. And here are 24 low-fuss, high-reward dinner recipes.


Michael Gandolfini, son of James, steps into the role made famous by his father: Tony Soprano.

what to watch

The film “In Balanchine’s Classroom”, about choreographer George Balanchine, is “both captivating and heartbreaking,” writes our reviewer.

Now time to play

Here’s today’s mini crossword and a clue: language group that gives us “gumbo”, “marimba” and “chimpanzee” (five letters).

And here’s today’s Spelling Bee.

Here you will find all our puzzles.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Until next time. — Melina

PS The latest installment in our series of virtual events on climate change, Netting Zero, is about international freight and solutions to reduce industry emissions. You can sign up here.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about gerrymandering in upstate New York.

Natasha Frost wrote the Arts and Ideas section. You can reach Melina and the team at

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