5 things to know for July 6: Covid, ransomware, condo search, gun violence, Hong Kong
Florida is battening down the hatches today as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches, bringing with it possibly deadly storm surge.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
(You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
US states with below-average vaccination rates have almost triple the rate of new Covid-19 cases compared to states with above-average vaccination rates, new data shows. This huge disparity underscores the “two Americas” that are emerging as life returns to normal in some areas and cases surge again in others. In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed plans to lift most lockdown rules by the middle of the month, despite rising cases. “We must reconcile ourselves sadly to more deaths from Covid,” he said. His perspective is causing concern among health experts. In Thailand, a leaked memo from the country’s health ministry is raising doubts about the efficacy of China’s Sinovac vaccine.
2. Ransomware attack
Between 800 and 1,500 businesses have been hit by a ransomware attack on software vendor Kaseya, whose products are widely used by IT management companies. An analysis of the malicious software shows it was created by REvil, a ransomware gang believed to operate out of Eastern Europe or Russia. The group is demanding a $70 million payment in Bitcoin for a decryptor tool. The White House is urging companies that believe their systems were compromised to immediately report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, but the full impact of the incident may not be felt until today, when many people return to work after the long weekend. Several high-profile cyberattacks have hit the US in recent months, and preventing them has become a White House priority.
3. Condo collapse
Search and rescue efforts at the Surfside condo collapse site have grown even more urgent as Elsa barrels toward the state. The tropical storm is expected to impact the west coast of Florida but could bring rain and dangerous winds that would complicate the search. Sunday evening’s demolition of the rest of the building has made efforts easier, though residents were not allowed to retrieve their belongings before the building was felled. It’s been almost two weeks since the collapse, but rescue teams are still holding out hope that they may find survivors in the rubble. So far, 117 people remain unaccounted for and 28 people are confirmed to have died.
4. Gun violence
At least 150 people were killed by gun violence in more than 400 shootings across the US during the Fourth of July weekend. The deadly spate is part of a larger surge in violent crime that has set major cities on edge. So far this year, gun violence incidents in New York have spiked almost 40% over the same period in 2020, with 767 shootings and 885 victims. This weekend, the city saw 26 victims in 21 shootings from Friday to Sunday. In Chicago, Police Superintendent David Brown called July 4 the “most challenging weekend of the year.” According to Chicago Police Department data, 83 people were shot, including 14 killed, in shootings from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday.
5. Hong Kong
Hong Kong authorities say they’ve thwarted an alleged plot, organized by advocates for the city’s independence from China, to bomb public places. The suspects allegedly scouted two court buildings and were targeting three tunnels that are part of the city’s most important transport infrastructure. The senior superintendent of the police’s National Security Department said the alleged plan was “shocking because it seems to target a lot of people.” Unrest has simmered in Hong Kong since 2019, when opposition to a bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China morphed into a larger movement calling for universal suffrage and justice for police misconduct. A new wave of unease came last year after Beijing enacted a controversial national security law in the city without local input.
Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani are married
He’s a little bit country, she’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.
Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow reunite for July 4
The other “Friends” reunion people are talking about.
A tiny, 50,000-year-old engraved bone is changing how we think about Neanderthals
Next time you’re caught doodling, just explain that you’re displaying a higher intelligence that will charm future scientists.
Matthew McConaughey declares America ‘going through puberty’ in Independence Day message
French beachgoers are about to face the most bitter culture war you’ve never heard of
Apparently it’s very, VERY serious business whether you go to the beach in July or August. The drama!
That’s how much of India’s wealth was held by the country’s top 1% by the end of 2020, marking a huge jump in wealth inequality exacerbated by the pandemic. Like in other countries, India’s billionaires have only gotten richer, while lower-income people struggle more.
“We had a complete failure of the state today.”
Giorgi Tabagari, director of Tbilisi Pride, after LGBTQ campaigners in the country of Georgia had to scrap plans for a pride march. Activists faced incidents of violence before the march, including the ransacking of their offices. They blamed the Prime Minister for using “irresponsible” language leading up to the event.
Out of the primordial pool
Today, we present a combination of words you probably never thought you’d read: a delightful artistic swimming routine about Darwin’s theory of evolution. (Click here to view.)