Your Tuesday Briefing


We’re covering Covax’s failures and Simone Biles’s return at the Olympics.

The multibillion-dollar alliance of international health systems and nonprofits was supposed to ensure that poor countries received vaccines as quickly as rich ones. Instead, Covax struggled in its attempts to secure doses, falling half a billion short of its target, and is now failing to actually deliver the vaccine.

Chad received 100,000 doses in June, but five weeks later some 94,000 doses remain unused. Nearby in Benin, only 267 shots were being given each day — a pace so slow that 110,000 of the program’s AstraZeneca doses expired.

The shortfalls are leaving poor countries dangerously unprotected as the Delta variant of the coronavirus runs rampant. And without billions more vaccines, experts warn, new variants could keep emerging across the globe.

Quotable: “Covax hasn’t failed, but it is failing,” said Dr. Ayoade Alakija, a co-chair of the African Union’s vaccine delivery program. “We really have no other options. For the sake of humanity, Covax must work.”

The star of the U.S. gymnastics team said she would compete in the balance beam final at the Tokyo Games, after she withdrew from most events because of mental health concerns.

Biles, who withdrew from the team final nearly a week ago, said it would have been dangerous to perform her complicated and daring routines because she had lost the ability to gauge where she was in the air in relation to the ground.

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The gymnast, 24, is considering retirement, but she has hinted that she might return for the 2024 Games in Paris to honor her French coaches.

Details: The balance beam event on Tuesday will wrap up the women’s gymnastics competition. There will be stiff competition from Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing of China, who ranked first and second in the qualifying round.

The latest from the Olympics:

The State Department is offering potential refugee status to Afghans who assisted the U.S. during the war in their country, including people who worked for news outlets and other nongovernmental organizations.

The move will protect Afghans “who may be at risk due to their U.S. affiliation,” but who were not eligible for a special immigrant visa program, the department said in a statement.

Context: The White House has been under intense pressure to offer protections to Afghans with ties to the U.S., especially as Taliban fighters rapidly win new territory and threaten major cities. On Monday, the Afghan president blamed the American troops’ speedy pullout for the worsening violence in his country.

Venice has banned the big cruise ships that normally fill its lagoon and canals. Some tourists were surprised to be docked hours away from the city’s famous sights.

The reporter Vivian Wang wrote about Chinese work culture in The Morning today. Here’s a condensed version.

To understand work culture in China, start with a number: 996. It’s shorthand for the grueling schedule that has become the norm at many Chinese firms: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.

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The term originated in the technology sector around five years ago, when companies were racing to compete with Silicon Valley. China’s economy has since grown into the second-largest in the world.

But recently, more tech workers are resisting the at-all-costs culture. This year, 996 shot back into the news after two workers died at Pinduoduo, an e-commerce giant.

Some companies have taken steps to improve work-life balance. Kuaishou, a short-video app, in July ended a policy requiring its staff to work on weekends twice a month. One division of another tech giant, Tencent, began encouraging workers to go home at 6 p.m. — though only on Wednesdays.

It’s also clear that many are sick of the grind. Some Gen Zers have turned to reading Mao Zedong’s writings on communism to rage against capitalist exploitation. And an online craze this year called on young people to “tangping,” or “lie flat” — essentially, to opt out of the rat race.

What to Cook

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Melina

P.S. Lauren Lopez joined The Times from the National Basketball Association as S.V.P. of talent management.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about a new chapter of the pandemic.

You can reach Melina and the team at


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