Your Tuesday Briefing

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

How Covax fell short

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.”

Related: The E.U. foreign policy chief criticized the bloc for falling short of vaccine donations to Africa and Latin America, creating a vacuum that China is filling.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

Germany will offer vaccine booster shots to older people and people with underlying health conditions starting in September.

YouTube suspended Sky News Australia for spreading coronavirus misinformation.

Simone Biles is back for one event

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.

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 U.S. gymnast Jade Carey won gold on the floor exercise with what she called “the best floor routine I’ve ever done in my life.”

Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu claimed the top prize in women’s badminton doubles, extending the country’s success in the sport.

Japan’s baseball team defeated the U.S. and will face off against South Korea on Wednesday, with the winner automatically advancing to the gold medal game.

New Zealand weight lifter Laurel Hubbard made history as the first openly transgender woman to participate in the Olympics.

Poland offered asylum to a Belarusian sprinter who feared being jailed in her home country after criticizing her coaches.

U.S. offers refugee status to more Afghans

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.


Asia News

Police in Malaysia blocked opposition lawmakers from protesting a two-week shutdown of Parliament, Al Jazeera reports.

More than 300 people died in recent floods in China, authorities said on Monday.

Hong Kong authorities arrested Anthony Wong Yiu-ming, a Cantopop singer who performed at a pro-democracy rally.

Around the World

The E.U. is sending firefighting planes to help Turkey battle deadly blazes tearing through its coast for the sixth day, the A.P. reports.

A fast-moving brush fire in Hawaii has burned more than 40,000 acres.

New York City is pushing homeless people off the streets of Manhattan in record numbers.

Haitian officials said they received death threats for refusing to tamper with evidence in the investigation of President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination.

A Morning Read

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.


996 work culture

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.

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

Cumin, chile and Sichuan peppercorns are the stars of this bold tofu stir-fry.


Do you get migraines? The right mix of foods may help.

What to Watch

Stream a deadpan Moroccan comedy, a nail-biting Indian crime thriller and more international films.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Cuisine with spanakopita and souvlaki (five letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

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 [email protected].

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