10 Things in Politics: Fauci predicts booster shot for some

Hope you had a nice weekend! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Send tips to [email protected] or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here’s what we’re talking about:


What we’re watching today: President Joe Biden welcomes Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to the White House.


Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

1. THE LATEST ON DELTA: Dr. Anthony Fauci sees “two kinds of America” as the Delta coronavirus variant accelerates COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated. Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper that a vaccine booster shot “might likely happen” for Americans with compromised immune systems. Fauci added that a key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel was still studying preliminary data from Israel and Pfizer suggesting the drugmaker’s vaccine had a lower efficacy in preventing infection during the Delta variant’s spread (though it remained highly protective against hospitalization from the virus).

Officials say they’re lost amid a sea of misinformation: As I go into these town-hall meetings someone said, ‘Don’t call it a vaccine, call it a bioweapon.’ And they talk about mind control,” Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas told CNN of his efforts to urge more people to get vaccinated.

Other countries are moving swiftly to impose mandates: The French parliament approved a law mandating vaccinations for all healthcare workers and vaccine passports for all restaurants and domestic travel. More details on how proof of vaccinations will eventually apply to anyone 12 or older.


Bill and Melinda Gates
Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates. Kamil Zihnioglu/Reuters

2. Inside the turmoil at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: The couple’s split and the public claims of improprieties by Bill Gates have led to a sense of unease within one of the world’s largest charitable foundations. Melinda French Gates is set to address staffers Wednesday for the first time since the divorce plans went public. Read why ​​Warren Buffett’s departure was particularly unsettling for some employees.


3. Senators say they are close to a bipartisan infrastructure bill: Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio says the two sides are “90% of the way there” when it comes to putting a roughly $US1 ($AU1) trillion infrastructure plan on paper, the Associated Press reports. Disagreements remain over public-transit spending. Here’s where things stand after last week’s failed vote.


4. Pelosi adds another Republican to Capitol riot panel: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to join the select committee. Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans who voted for Donald Trump’s second impeachment, joins Rep. Liz Cheney, another well-known Trump critic, on the panel. Pelosi said she might name more Republicans to the committee after the House GOP leadership pulled its five selections when Pelosi blocked two of them. More on what lays ahead for the investigation into the insurrection.


5. Civilian casualties in Afghanistan are hitting record highs: Nearly 800 civilians were killed and more 1,600 wounded from May to June, the highest numbers for that two-month stretch since at least 2009, a UN mission found, The Washington Post reports. The mission said it expected the violence to grow deadlier as fighting moved toward urban areas with the US and coalition forces’ withdrawal. The UN mission also expressed concerns about the Afghan Air Force.


6. The climate crisis is upending real estate too: In California, Redfin estimates that $US2 ($AU3) trillion worth of housing value is being jeopardized by wildfires. As for the East Coast, homes in markets like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia lost billions in value from 2005 to 2017 because of flood vulnerability. Here’s why experts say insurance can save only so much.


7. A Republican lawmaker invested up to $US500K in Johnson & Johnson: Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma bought up to $US500 ($AU680),000 in Johnson & Johnson stock as part of a series of trades last month in a joint account. Meanwhile, another lawmaker had to pay a fine for improperly disclosing trades. Rep. Blake Moore, a Republican from Utah, failed to disclose stock and stock-option trades together worth at least $US70,000 ($AU95,183) and as much as $US1 ($AU1).1 million.

See which other stocks members of Congress are trading.


Bob Moses Robert Parris Moses civil rights leaders. This Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 file photo shows Bob Moses, a director of the Mississippi Summer Project and organizer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) answering questions about Freedom Summer in 1964 during a national youth summit hosted by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, Miss. Today's protests across America against racial injustice are being watched closely by people who five decades ago faced jail cells, bloody assaults, snarling dogs and even potential assassination in the battle against institutional racism. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
The civil-rights icon Bob Moses in February 2014. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

8. Remembering Bob Moses: “Moses, a civil-rights activist who endured beatings and jail while leading Black voter-registration drives in the American South during the 1960s and later helped improve minority education in math, has died,” the AP reports. He was 86. Moses fought against segregation and was a key leader during 1964’s “Freedom Summer” in Mississippi. More on his legacy.


9. Americans report fewer friends: Just 13% of those polled by the Survey Center on American Life said they had 10 or more close friends, down from 33% in a 1990 Gallup survey. The coronavirus pandemic is the most obvious culprit, a researcher said, but there’s more.


Dean Boxall celebrates at the Tokyo Olympics

10. All the moments you missed at the Olympics: An Australian swim coach humped a plexiglass divider after Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus beat Katie Ledecky in the 400-meter freestyle at the Olympics. Watch the full celebration for yourself. It’s something.

Simone Biles was not quite herself: She’s still on track to compete for every gymnastics medal, but her qualifying performance was weaker than usual.

A robot stole the show at the US basketball game: A basketball-shooting robot was making easy buckets from the free-throw line at halftime. Then the robot started dropping dimes from the 3-point line and half-court.

A robot takes shots on the basketball court during halftime of USA-France at Tokyo 2020.
This basketball robot was the star of the show. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

There was good news for the red, white, and blue: Lee Kiefer became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in individual foil. And Anastasija Zolotic made history for American women in taekwondo.

And the best moment so far: Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia had the slowest qualifying time in the men’s 400 meters freestyle. He shocked the world by winning gold.

See the latest Olympic updates here.


Today’s trivia question: Sticking with the Olympics, Eddie Eagan is the only person who’s won a gold medal in both the Winter Olympics and the Summer Olympics. Which sports did the American medal in? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected].