Amazon walks back its order for employees to delete TikTok from their phones

Amazon says its request that its employees delete TikTok from their cellphones on Friday was made in error.

The company’s IT department on Friday morning ordered its employees to delete TikTok from their cellphones in an email sent to staff, saying the popular video app posed “security risks” and that employees would lose mobile access to their work email if they did not comply. By Friday afternoon, the company had walked back that order.

“This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error. There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok,” a …

Unpacking the twisty genre of political fanfiction through Curtis Sittenfeld’s Rodham

Welcome, book clubbers! This July, the Vox Book Club is delving into Rodham, Curtis Sittenfeld’s alternate history that explores a world in which Hillary Rodham never married Bill Clinton. Instead, Sittenfeld’s Hillary becomes a senator on her own — and she ends up running for president against Bill.

There are a lot of possible approaches to take with a book like Rodham, so this month, we’re changing up our usual discussion format to investigate the book theme by theme as opposed to chapter by chapter. This week, we’re talking about Rodham as a form of political RPF.

RPF, …

Housing segregation left Black Americans more vulnerable to Covid-19

One thing hasn’t changed as a new surge of coronavirus cases has swelled across the United States: Black Americans continue to disproportionately get infected by and die from this novel pathogen.

The Los Angeles County health department reported this week that Black residents were dying at twice the rate its white residents were. The same is true of Black Alabamans. In Florida, Black people account for a higher share of Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths than their share of the population.

The George Floyd protests forced a difficult conversation about the trade-offs of congregating in large groups during a pandemic and …

America still doesn’t have enough N95 masks

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In the early weeks of the pandemic, it was nearly impossible to buy N95 masks. These masks, unlike surgical masks or cloth masks, are tight-fitting and filter airborne particles that can carry the virus, making them a key source of protection for health care workers, some of whom have died after being exposed to Covid-19 at their medical facilities. Now, as the United States continues to reopen and the number cases and hospitalizations surge, that troubling shortage of personal protective equipment — and especially N95 masks — is once again a problem.

A survey from …