An evolving virus and 18 months of ever-changing pandemic messaging have left Americans angry, exhausted and skeptical of public health advice

Employees at an electronics store in Manhattan last week. The C.D.C. has recommended mask-wearing for everyone in areas of rapid spread. Photo: Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael D. Shear

WASHINGTON — A week of public health reversals from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has left Americans with pandemic whiplash, sowing confusion about coronavirus vaccines and mask-wearing as the delta variant upends what people thought they knew about how to stay safe.

Vaccines remain effective and highly protective against hospitalization and death, even among those infected with the extremely contagious delta variant. Mask-wearing prevents transmission of the virus to those most at risk.

But the crisis President Joe Biden once thought he had under control is…


Fed up with the imbalance between online influencers and brands, Lindsey Lee Lugrin and Isha Mehra created a platform to change that

Lindsey Lee Lugrin, right, and Isha Mehra have created an app where online influencers can share information in a collective effort to raise their pay. Photo: Amanda Hakan for The New York Times

By Taylor Lorenz

LOS ANGELES — Six years ago, Lindsey Lee Lugrin, a budding social media creator and model, was given the chance to be featured in a Marc by Marc Jacobs ad campaign. She was paid $1,000.

Lugrin was thrilled. But after seeing her face plastered on billboards and in ads across the internet, she realized she had undervalued herself.

As she spoke with more influencers, who create social media posts for brands in exchange for payment or a cut of advertising fees, Lugrin became aware of other pay disparities. …


Reconsidering pseudonymity and what it means to “be yourself” online

Photo: Matt Flores

By John Herrman

In early July, when England’s soccer team lost the European Championship final to Italy on its home turf, the crushing defeat was followed by a torrent of racist abuse on social media directed at the team’s Black players. The messages — part of an ongoing pattern of social media bigotry — were condemned by politicians, platforms, teammates and fans.

They were also blamed, in part, on a familiar figure: the masked troll. He has been popping up a lot lately. Depending who you are, he may be the source of all political disinformation; one of an army…


The White House has teamed up with TikTok stars, while some states are paying “local micro influencers” for pro-vaccine campaigns

Ellie Zeiler, 17, a TikTok creator, at her home in Escondido, Calif. Photo: Maggie Shannon for The New York Times

By Taylor Lorenz

LOS ANGELES — Ellie Zeiler, 17, a TikTok creator with over 10 million followers, received an email in June from Village Marketing, an influencer marketing agency. It said it was reaching out on behalf of another party: the White House.

Would Zeiler, a high school senior who usually posts short fashion and lifestyle videos, be willing, the agency wondered, to participate in a White House-backed campaign encouraging her audience to get vaccinated against the coronavirus?

“There is a massive need to grow awareness within the 12–18 age range,” Village Marketing wrote to Zeiler’s business email. …


Dan Brown has a lesser-known advice book. The trouble is, it seems impossible to buy.

Illustration: Lina Müller/The New York Times

By Caity Weaver

Chloe Gordon, a 32-year-old filmmaker, describes herself as “a person who somewhat ironically engages” with the work of novelist Dan Brown. She has read all but one of the eight books Brown has published under his name.

So when she stumbled upon an internet rumor that identified Brown as the author of a tongue-in-cheek dating guide from 1995 called “187 Men to Avoid: A Survival Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman,” she immediately ordered it on Amazon.

The 96-page novelty book, originally published under the name Danielle Brown, promised very short descriptions of men the author considered…


People who once rejected the vaccine or simply waited too long are now grappling with the consequences, often in raw, public ways

Glen Arnell, right, and Mindy Greene visited her husband, Russ Greene, at Utah Valley Specialty Hospital. Mr. Greene was hospitalized with complications from Covid-19 after choosing not to receive a vaccination for the virus. Photo: Kim Raff for The New York Times

By Jack Healy

PROVO, Utah — As Mindy Greene spent another day in the COVID intensive care unit, listening to the whirring machines that now breathed for her 42-year-old husband, Russ, she opened her phone and tapped out a message.

“We did not get the vaccine,” she wrote on Facebook. “I read all kinds of things about the vaccine and it scared me. So I made the decision and prayed about it and got the impression that we would be ok.”

They were not.

Her husband, the father to their four children, was now hovering between life and death, tentacles…


The discovery of multiple nooses has set off heated debates about the responsibility of companies and the ability of workers to speak their mind

The construction site for an Amazon warehouse in Windsor, Conn. It is due to open next spring. Yehyun Kim for The New York Times

By Davey Alba

WINDSOR, Conn. — The town of Windsor has developed a niche in the world of warehouses and manufacturing, taking advantage of wide open spaces and crisscrossing interstates in nearby Hartford. Walgreens has a large facility here, as does Dollar Tree.

So when Amazon approached the town last year with a proposal to add a large distribution center — adding up to 1,000 jobs — local officials considered it a great opportunity.

“There are other mayors and selectmen that would give their left arm to have Amazon in their town,” Mayor Donald Trinks said. …


Smaller brands are working with athletes in different ways, like giving them equity or roles in developing products, and are paying more attention to their personal stories

“As athletes we’re always going to struggle with that sense that we only have value if we can run fast, jump far or throw far,” the steeplechaser Colleen Quigley said. Photo: Leah Nash for The New York Times

By Sapna Maheshwari

Athleta, the activewear brand for women and girls owned by Gap Inc., had never sponsored an athlete when it approached six-time Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix in 2019, shortly after she took Nike to task for its pay practices for pregnant runners.

The smaller company was interested in supporting Felix’s career, and said it would not penalize her for losing races or choosing to have more children. (Nike changed its policy for pregnant athletes after the criticism by Felix, whose contract with the company ended in 2017.) …


More than 1,500 employees for the video game giant, which is facing an explosive state lawsuit, have called for executives to take sexual harassment seriously

Photo: Fábio Silva

By Kellen Browning and Mike Isaac

More than 1,500 workers for video game maker Activision Blizzard walked out from their jobs this week. Thousands signed a letter rebuking their employer. And even as the CEO apologized, current and former employees said they would not stop raising a ruckus.

Shay Stein, who used to work at Activision, said it was “heartbreaking.” Lisa Welch, a former vice president, said she felt “profound disappointment.” Others took to Twitter or waved signs outside one of the company’s offices Wednesday to share their anger.

Activision, known for its hugely popular “Call of Duty,” “World of…


The CDC’s new masking advice was based in part on unpublished data showing that the virus can thrive in the airways of vaccinated people

A salon in Los Angeles this week, where indoor mask mandates were reinstated on July 15. Photo: Alex Welsh for The New York Times

By Apoorva Mandavilli

The recommendation that vaccinated people in some parts of the country dust off their masks was based largely on one troublesome finding, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New research showed that vaccinated people infected with the delta variant carry tremendous amounts of the virus in the nose and throat, she said in an email responding to questions from The New York Times.

The finding contradicts what scientists had observed in vaccinated people infected with previous versions of the virus, who mostly seemed incapable of infecting others.

That conclusion…

The New York Times

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