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Johnson & Johnson, Hong Kong, Sheet Pan Dinners: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. A third Covid-19 vaccine is poised for U.S. approval.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine strongly protects against severe Covid-19 and may reduce the spread of the virus by vaccinated people, according to new analyses of trials in the U.S., Brazil, five South American countries and South Africa, above. The Food and Drug Administration could authorize the vaccine for emergency use as early as Saturday, but supplies may be severely limited at first.

And there was more good news about the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. A large-scale study out of Israel found that the two-dose vaccine is protecting recipients about as well in wide actual use as it did in clinical studies.

2. As America’s vaccine efforts ramp up, a global campaign is just getting started.

Ghana received about 600,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine, above, in the first major shipment under Covax, an international program aimed at making vaccine access more equal. Ghana and other West African countries will begin vaccinations in the coming days, officials said.

Covax, put together by the World Health Organization and two international partners, has a goal of delivering two billion free doses of Covid-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries this year, which officials said would make it the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in history.

Many public health officials have criticized the unequal distribution of vaccines, as wealthy nations have bought up tens of millions of doses for their populations.

3. President Biden is signed an executive order that will kick off a review of supply chains crucial to U.S. manufacturing, like the automobile, pharmaceutical and clean energy industries.

The order is widely seen as the next step in an effort to counter the economic rise of China and to promote U.S. factory growth. China has periodically moved to ban the export of rare earth materials used in making electronics, fighter jets and weaponry. Early in the coronavirus pandemic, Beijing halted exports of surgical masks and protective gear.

In other administration news:


4. China’s effort to quash dissent is moving into Hong Kong’s classrooms.

New curriculum guidelines unveiled by the territory’s government aim to use history to instill a deep affinity for and loyalty to mainland China in the city’s youngest residents. Critics say it will turn the history they learn into pro-China propaganda.

The new lesson plans are part of a vast campaign to teach future generations a curated lesson about Hong Kong’s past. And the government has moved to literally rewrite history, backing the creation of a 66-volume chronicle of the city, projected to cost $100 million.


5. We’ve learned more about Tiger Woods’s extensive injuries.

His lower right leg was smashed and his right foot severely injured when his S.U.V. crashed on Tuesday, and his leg muscles swelled so much that surgeons had to cut open the tissue covering them to relieve pressure.

Such leg breaks are frequently seen among drivers in car accidents who put immense pressure on the brake. Recovery is typically long and perilous, experts say, calling into question his future in professional golf.

It will take traffic investigators days or weeks to investigate the crash, but Woods was said to have been driving at a “greater speed than normal” when his vehicle crossed a median strip and rolled over several times. Here’s the latest on what we know.


6. Pandemic-weary Americans are taking their rage and grief out on chief state executives.

Some Californians see Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decisions and actions during the pandemic as reason to launch a recall campaign, and the signatures are starting to add up. It’s unclear if the effort will pan out — every signature needs to be vetted — but even if it fails, Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, faces re-election next year.

In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, has been assailed for his strict enforcement of health precautions. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, also a Republican, was scrutinized for runaway infection rates in his state’s border cities.

And in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s national image as a leader during the pandemic is now under scrutiny amid questions about Covid-related nursing home deaths. And a former aide to the Democratic governor accused him of sexual harassment.

7. Race, class and power collided at Smith College when, in 2018, a Black student said she was racially profiled while eating in a college dorm.

The accusation got more attention than the outcome of the investigation, which found no evidence of bias — rather, that a guard was alerted only because the dorm had been closed for the summer and the janitor was supposed to notify security of any unauthorized people there.

A re-examination of the incident highlights simmering tensions at the elite 145-year-old liberal arts college over liberal orthodoxy and increasingly emboldened students.

In other college news, Calvin Tyler Jr. dropped out of Morgan State in Baltimore in 1963 to become a UPS driver because he couldn’t afford tuition. He worked his way up to the company’s executive suite and has now pledged $20 million to fund scholarships at the historically Black university.


8. The sheet pan, long the bedrock of many American restaurants and bakeries, has become a home cooking star.

Sheet pans were first popularized by Martha Stewart, who used them on her first TV show in the 1990s. Now a wave of recipes and a new genre of weeknight cooking provide an entire meal on the pan. Here’s how the unassuming pan became a social media darling, and what to look for when you buy one.

“If you saw how many sheet pans I owned, you would be quite horrified,” Ms. Stewart said. “I have a lot of sheet pans.”

Our Cooking team developed 20 sheet pan recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Above, gochujang chicken and roasted vegetables


9. Want to sleep like a baby? Try treating yourself like one.

Studies have indicated that sleep quality has been negatively impacted by Covid-related life changes. “Covid insomnia” was a breakout Google search from March 2020 to today, as was “Why can’t I sleep during quarantine?”

Our Parenting editor was among those restless sleepers, so she consulted experts to see if the “five S’s” used to calm fussy babies — swaddle, side or stomach position, shush, swing and suck — can also help adults snooze. Here’s what she found out.

Is your face still freezing mid-Zoom? Over the past year, we have slammed our home Wi-Fi networks with more devices than ever before. Wi-Fi 6 has arrived to aid our congested home wireless networks.


10. And finally, a new map rights our worldview.

Many of us grew up with highly distorted world maps that made Greenland the size of Africa (not even close) or Alaska larger than Mexico (also nope). This double-sided map crafted by a cosmologist, a mathematician and an astrophysicist aims to change that. They say it’s the least distorted world map ever made.

It’s like taking a 3-D globe and deflating it — on each side of the flat disk you have one of the two hemispheres. Antarctica and Australia are more accurately represented, and distances across oceans or across poles are accurate and easy to measure. Print it out and try for yourself.

Richard Gott, the astrophysicist on the team, recommends Elmer’s Glue and card stock paper.

Have a mind-blowing night.

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