5 things to know for August 2: Coronavirus, infrastructure, climate, Taliban, Myanmar

5 things to know for August 2: Coronavirus, infrastructure, climate, Taliban, Myanmar

Zucchini is a vastly underrated vegetable. For all you gardeners out there, we’ve got some ideas on how to use up all that summer squash.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Coronavirus

To understand why the CDC changed its face mask guidance for vaccinated people, just look at what happened in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The town, which attracts thousands of visitors for the Fourth of July, saw a Covid-19 outbreak in the weeks around the holiday — and about 75% of cases were among fully vaccinated people. That suggests that even those who got the shot can spread the virus. Still, CDC data shows 99.99% of fully vaccinated Americans haven’t had a breakthrough case that resulted in hospitalization or death. It’s the unvaccinated who are currently filling up hospitals.

2. Infrastructure

After months of negotiation, a bipartisan group of senators has finalized the text of a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill. The more than 2,000-page legislation includes federal funding for roads, bridges, passenger and freight rail, and the electric grid, among other projects. The Senate could still make amendments to the bill before voting, but Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he expects the legislation to pass the chamber in a matter of days. It would then need approval from the House — where it could face pushback from progressives who feel it doesn’t go far enough — before making its way to President Biden’s desk.

3. Climate crisis

There were 91 large wildfires burning across the US as of yesterday. The blazes have burned more than 1.8 million acres, with more than 400,000 acres burned in Oregon by the Bootleg Fire alone. Monsoon rains moving into the West could stomp out some of the fires, but lightning and gusty winds could contribute to new ones. The US isn’t alone: More than 100 blazes have swept Turkey in the past week, too. In Lagos, Nigeria — Africa’s most populous city — residents are facing a different climate change problem: destructive floods and rising seas. Experts warn it could soon be unlivable.

4. Taliban

The Taliban is threatening to seize its first of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals. Fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan government intensified over the weekend, and US airstrikes have been hitting Taliban targets in three cities considered to be “endangered” by Taliban advances. The clashes have been especially heavy in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. Local journalists say the Taliban now controls several districts of the city, which sits on strategic routes in all directions. This comes as the US is in its final stages of withdrawing from Afghanistan. Since American troops started pulling out in May, the Taliban has rapidly gained control of large parts of the country. The speed at which it has gained on the government has shocked many and prompted concerns that Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, could be next to fall.

5. Myanmar

Myanmar’s military ruler has declared himself prime minister of the country. In a speech yesterday, he announced a newly formed caretaker government and pledged to hold elections by 2023. The move comes exactly six months after Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup and detained the country’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Since then, military authorities have faced months of protests and responded with deadly force. The strikes have brought cities to a standstill and sparked armed conflicts in borderlands.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Actor Saginaw Grant has died

The prolific Native American character actor was known for his roles in “Breaking Bad” and “The Lone Ranger.” He was 85.

A slice of Princess Diana’s wedding cake is going up for auction

The aforementioned wedding took place 40 years ago. We have questions.

This woman has the largest mouth in the world

Literally, that is, according to Guinness World Records.

An orca was freed after being stuck on a rocky beach for hours

We love a good animal rescue story.

A salon celebrated nurses with free makeovers

If anyone deserves some time for self-care, it’s the people who have seen the worst of the pandemic.

OLYMPICS UPDATE

Team USA’s Simone Biles will take part in tomorrow’s balance beam final after withdrawing from previous events to protect her mental health.

Dutch runner Sifan Hassan fell with one lap to go during her 1,500 meter heat. She got back up, kept on running and still managed to finish first. Later this morning, she’ll be going for the gold in the 5,000 meter final.

Follow the latest Olympic updates and highlights here.

TODAY’S NUMBER

$102 million

That’s about how much Donald Trump’s political organization amassed in cash reserves going into July. It’s an unprecedented amount for a former president to have stockpiled at this stage in the election cycle.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“There are a lot of reasons why refugees left their countries. It makes me so proud to represent these people and let them know anything is possible.”

Jamal Mohammed, a Sudanese athlete who will compete for the Refugee Olympic Team this week. He left his home in Darfur in 2010 and now lives in Israel.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Under the sea

It’s easy to forget about the wonders that exist in our world. An underwater photographer offers us a window into the waters of the Cortes Bank for some majestic views of marine life. (Click here to view.)

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