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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.
The Hill's 12:30 Report: Vaccinations near 40 percent threshold | Fauci predicts significant 'drop' in COVID cases | State Dept. urges Americans to leave India amid devastating COVID wave | FDA unveils menthol cigarette ban | GDP roars to 6.4 percent | Five takeaways from Biden's address | Sights and sounds | Pelosi, Harris elbow bump | Dems caught on hot mic
LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS Let's GOOOOOOOOO:
Via The Wall Street Journal's Robbie Whelan and Jon Kamp , with more than 37 percent of Americans fully vaccinated from COVID-19, cases are starting to significantly drop. https://on.wsj.com/331nWKc
Good news from Anthony Fauci Anthony Fauci Spotify declines to weigh in on Rogan’s vaccine remarks, but touts his success Only 0.03 percent of vaccinated people test positive for COVID-19, Wisconsin officials say Kansas senator blames misinformation, bureaucrats for vaccine hesitancy MORE , the nation's leading infectious diseases expert: "When you get to somewhere between 40 and 50%, I believe you're going to start seeing real change, the start of a precipitous drop in cases … When you do, that's when people are going to be able to start doing things that they've been craving."
Why 40 percent is the threshold? : That's based on countries, such as Israel, that are ahead of us in vaccinations.
Are any states in that 40 percent threshold yet? : Yes! "More than 40% of adults currently are vaccinated in at least 17 states from Hawaii to the Dakotas and several states in the Northeast, federal data show. In several of these places, including New Jersey, Vermont, New York and Connecticut, newly reported cases have begun falling again after increases earlier this spring."
The full story : https://on.wsj.com/331nWKc
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. : 32,233,258
U.S. death toll : 574,355
Breakdown of the numbers : https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S. : 235 million shots have been given.
Seven-day average of doses administered : An average of 2.67 million doses
For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.
Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH
Happy Thursday! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to [email protected] — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook .
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NEWS THIS MORNING Menthols and marijuana are doing a little switcheroo:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just unveiled a plan to ban menthol cigarettes and all flavors of cigars in the U.S. https://bit.ly/2SeVpPm
Keep in mind : "The move is one of the most aggressive actions against tobacco the FDA has taken since it gained regulatory authority in 2009, but the ban is likely to take years to implement and will surely face immense opposition from the tobacco industry and its advocates in Congress."
As India is grappling with a deadly wave of COVID cases, the U.S. State Department is urging Americans to leave the country. https://bit.ly/2Px1Ps0
Why : Its health care system is so stretched that it's nearing a breaking point.
Details : "In a level 4 travel alert, the highest level that can be issued by the State Department, the U.S. Embassy in India sounded the alarm over the availability of medical care and pressed Americans to take advantage of the daily flights that are available out of India back to the U.S."
"The economy grew at an annualized rate of 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2021, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday." https://bit.ly/3u4FWzq
What that means : "The figure is up from 4.3 percent in the previous quarter and an early indication that the economy could reach annual growth levels this year not seen since the 1980s."
IN THE WHITE HOUSE Yep, it was a bit eerie to watch:
Via The Hill's Scott Wong and Mike Lillis , "The last time House and Senate lawmakers gathered together in the chamber was Jan. 6, when Republicans tried unsuccessfully to overturn Joe Biden' s election victory — an effort that led to a deadly attack on the Capitol by a mob of Donald Trump Donald Trump Giuliani investigation focused on firing of US ambassador: report FBI warned Giuliani, Ron Johnson Russia was attempting to meddle in US election in 2020: report Cheney on fist bump with Biden: ‘We’re not sworn enemies. We’re Americans’ MORE ‘ s loyalists." https://bit.ly/2R7JX7J
"The echoes of that harrowing rampage were tough to miss Wednesday night, when Biden, on the eve of the 100th day of his presidency, delivered his first joint address to Congress in the same House chamber, with many of those same lawmakers sitting in the audience."
The full story : https://bit.ly/2R7JX7J
- A calm case for big action: Biden proposed major proposals with moderate rhetoric
- Pictures spoke a thousand words : Think of all the empty seats
- The barely mentioned elephant in the room : Trump hardly came up
- The big idea — a test of democracy : America has "to prove that democracy works," Biden said.
- Biden proves elusive target for GOP : "Republicans have struggled to get traction against Biden, and nothing he said Wednesday made their job any easier."
Context and details for each : https://bit.ly/2SeN0eP
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Pelosi to GOP lawmakers: Get vaccinated and we’ll get back to normal The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Fauci predicts significant ‘drop’ in COVID cases as vaccinations near threshold Cruz responds to footage of him dozing off during Biden speech MORE (D-Calif.) and Vice President Harris greeted each other with elbow bumps : Here's video: https://bit.ly/3dYFBZn
Overheard on hot mics : The Hill's Reid Wilson tweeted, "The mic on the PBS feed is picking up a few Dems talking about what Obama did, though no real clear context. I just keep hearing 'what Obama did.'" https://bit.ly/2RdVdQ0
Watch : https://bit.ly/2R9D71k
Welcome, Chief Justice Roberts : Photo of Roberts entering the chamber: https://bit.ly/3nvmQjz
Spotted : Here's a group of Senate Democrats huddling together on the House floor. Photo from C-SPAN's Craig Caplan : https://bit.ly/3dZMRUX
What a cool photo :
NOTABLE TWEETS: I bet this is a scary feeling:
Watch : https://bit.ly/3nxPYqi
Watch : https://bit.ly/2S8VVy9
The Senate is in. The House is out. President Biden is in Georgia today. Vice President Harris is in Baltimore.
9 a.m. EDT: President Biden received the President's Daily Brief.
10:10 a.m. EDT: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden Jill Biden Biden speech interrupted by protesters The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Fauci predicts significant ‘drop’ in COVID cases as vaccinations near threshold Biden picks dandelion flower for Jill from White House lawn MORE left for Georgia.
11:30 a.m. EDT: Up to four roll call votes in the Senate. The Senate's full agenda today : https://bit.ly/3nBesPl
1:15 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris travels to Baltimore.
1:25 p.m. EDT: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden meet with former President Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter Bidens to meet with Carters during Georgia trip Biden orders flags to be flown at half-staff to honor Mondale The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Tensions rise as U.S. waits for Derek Chauvin verdict MORE and former first lady Rosalynn Carter in Plains, Ga.
1:45 p.m. EDT : A roll call vote in the Senate.
2:20 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris tours a COVID vaccination site.
4:10 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris returns to Washington, D.C.
6 p.m. EDT: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden participate in a drive-in car rally in Duluth, Ga.
9:20 a.m. EDT: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden return to the White House.
WHAT TO WATCH
2:55 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris delivers remarks on the progress made in Biden's first 100 days. Livestream : https://bit.ly/2R7iZx0
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF…:
Today is National Shrimp Scampi Day .
His reaction is pretty funny.
Watch : https://bit.ly/3u7KwNs
And because you made it this far, here is one. jealous. pet: https://bit.ly/3vxibA7
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