10 things you need to know today: May 5, 2021

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Harold Maass
·7 min read
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President Biden on Tuesday updated his target for his administration's vaccination campaign, aiming to have 70 percent of American adults receive at least one vaccine shot by July 4. Biden also called for getting 60 percent, or 160 million adults, fully vaccinated by the summer Independence Day holiday. The U.S. surpassed Biden's goal of administering 200 million shots during his first 100 days in office. He set his new goal as pressure rises on the White House to speed up the return to normal life as new coronavirus cases and deaths fall. About 40 percent of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated now. The White House also said it would order unused vaccines to be made available to states with high demand for shots. [The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal]


Derek Chauvin's lawyer on Tuesday filed for a new trial for the former Minneapolis police officer, who was convicted of second- and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, for the killing of George Floyd last May. The lawyer, Eric Nelson, argued that several factors prevented a fair trial, including prosecutorial misconduct and the judge's decisions against moving the trial and sequestering the jury, or granting a new trial due to publicity that intimidated defense expert witnesses. Nelson also alleged jury misconduct. Nelson's motion was widely expected. Appellate courts generally set a high standard for granting new trials. "Given that the evidence was pretty overwhelming, it would take a lot for an appellate court to reverse his conviction," said Mary Moriarty, a Minneapolis defense lawyer. [Star Tribune, The New York Times]


India's COVID-19 crisis reached a chilling milestone on Tuesday, with the country surpassing 20 million total cases. COVID-19 deaths in the country reached 220,000. India's number of total cases has doubled in the past three months as infections and deaths skyrocketed, and a top expert warned that the next few weeks would be "horrible" for the nation of nearly 1.4 billion people. The devastating surge started in February as new, highly contagious variants of the virus spread and the government made widely criticized decisions to permit mass religious and election-campaign gatherings later suspected as super-spreader events. The U.S. has one-fourth the population of India but has reported nearly 580,000 deaths. [The Associated Press]


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a new coalition government by Tuesday's deadline. The task now belongs to Israel's President Reuven Rivlin. It's not clear how Rivlin will proceed as he's expected to consult with the leaders of the parties elected to the Knesset earlier this year, but he may give Netanyahu's rivals a chance to govern, pushing Likud, which remains the largest party in parliament, into the opposition for the first time in 12 years. Netanyahu fell short of forming a government after his far-right allies refused to join a government supported by Raam, a small Islamist Arab party, The New York Times notes. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]


Pfizer said on Tuesday it expects to apply for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine for children between ages 2 and 11 in September. On Monday, it was reported that the Food and Drug Administration is set to authorize Pfizer's vaccine for adolescents between ages 12 and 15 by early next week. A study to examine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine among those between 6 months and 11 years old is ongoing. Additionally, Pfizer said it's expecting to seek authorization for its vaccine among children between 6 months and 2 years in the fourth quarter of 2021. Pfizer also announced Tuesday it plans to file for a full FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the month, which CNBC notes would mean "the company will be able to market the shot directly to consumers." [The New York Times, CNN]


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday he had been hearing mounting concerns from GOP lawmakers about the ability of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to "carry out the message" as the No. 3 House Republican. He was captured on a hot mic telling a Fox News host he had "had it" with Cheney, who survived an effort to remove her from the post after she voted in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump on charges that he incited the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. This week she triggered renewed complaints after she clashed with Trump over his continuing false claims that vote fraud cost him the November election. Cheney's spokesperson, Jeremy Adler, said her critics are trying to "perpetuate lies" about the election. [CNN, Axios]


Mexican authorities on Tuesday promised a thorough investigation of a Mexico City subway train overpass collapse that killed at least 24 people, authorities said. The victims included children. More than 60 people were injured. Mangled train cars were left hanging from the crumbled overpass after a support beam failed as a train passed over it, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said. The precarious position of the train cars delayed rescue efforts, but crews were able to get inside to work after a crane was brought in to hold up the train. Sheinbaum called for an extensive inquiry to determine what happened. "If there's a need for an external investigation, there will be one," Sheinbaum, said. "We will get to the truth, and we will get justice." [NBC News]


A Wisconsin National Guard soldier faces charges related to the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The soldier, Abram Markofski, was charged, along with an associate, with four counts that included violent entry or disorderly conduct, and entering restricted spaces, the Justice Department said on Tuesday. Markofski, a private first class, enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2019, a spokesman for the Wisconsin National Guard said. He is the fourth U.S. service member to be arrested in connection with the rioting by supporters of former President Donald Trump trying to prevent Congress from certifying Trump's election loss to President Biden. At least 41 veterans have been charged. [The Washington Post]


Former President Donald Trump, who has been banned for months from social media platforms, has launched a blog on his website. The new platform is called "From the Desk of Donald J. Trump." It will provide him with a way to communicate directly with his followers, something he has only done sporadically since being banned from Twitter and Facebook as he faced allegations that he incited the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The news came ahead of an expected Wednesday announcement by Facebook's Oversight Board on whether it will extend Trump's Facebook and Instagram suspensions indefinitely. It was assigned the task of examining the ban by Facebook, which also owns Instagram, in January. [Fox News, Fox Business]


U.S. births fell by 4 percent in 2020 to 3,605,201, the lowest level since 1979, according to a report published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Birth rates in the country have been falling for years, but last year's drop was the biggest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years. The total fertility rate, which shows the average number of babies a woman will have over her lifetime, fell to 1.64, the lowest rate since the government began tracking the figure in the 1930s. There was a 7 percent drop in December, nine months after coronavirus lockdowns began. The Brookings Institution has predicted "a large, lasting baby bust" in 2021 as the full effects of the pandemic are felt. [CBS News, The Wall Street Journal]

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