Delta Variant’s Spread Prompts Reconsideration of Mask Guidance

Throughout the pandemic, masks have ranked among the most contentious public health measures in the United States, symbolizing a bitter partisan divide over the role of government and individual liberties.

Now, with a new variant of the coronavirus rapidly spreading across the globe, masks are again the focus of conflicting views, and fears, about the course of pandemic and the restrictions required to manage it.

The renewed concerns follow the wildfire growth of the Delta variant, a highly infectious form of the virus first detected in India and later identified in at least 85 countries. It now accounts for one

Skims Is the Official Underwear of the U.S. Olympic Team

Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear brand, Skims, will provide the official underwear, loungewear and pajamas for female American athletes at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.

Ms. Kardashian West announced the partnership on Monday, sharing images of Team U.S.A. athletes modeling the collection on Instagram.

“Ever since I was 10 years old, I’ve heard every single detail about the Olympics,” Ms. Kardashian West wrote in the post, alluding to Caitlyn Jenner, who won a gold medal in the decathlon event at the 1976 Olympic Games and was married to her mother, Kris Jenner. “When I received the call inviting

Singapore wants to stop counting Covid cases. It could be a model for other countries

(CNN) — As countries around the Asia-Pacific region tighten restrictions once again to curb potential breakouts of the Delta coronavirus variant, Singapore has laid out a new vision for life to return to normal.
The roadmap, proposed by three members of Singapore’s Covid-19 task force, would scrap lockdowns and mass contact tracing and allow for a return to quarantine-free travel and the resumption of large gatherings. It would even stop counting the daily Covid cases.
The proposal is a radical departure from the so-called “zero transmission” model adopted by several countries and territories — including rival Asian business hub Hong

The Revolutionary Conformity of the ’70s “Clone” Look

“When I think back on having lived through the time, it was like gay guys were escaping from this stereotype that was just inculcated into the culture of sissies and faggots,” says Woodruff. “Part of escaping from that was costuming. And it goes back to these American fashion lineages like cowboys, sailors, lumberjacks, mechanics. Things that are traditionally masculine vocations. [The clone] became this amalgam and then Parker really took off with it.”

But not everyone was equally free to wear the costume. “The clone look was certainly about a white gay man’s response and engagement with those archetypes,” says …

J Hotel Shanghai Tower: World’s highest hotel opens in China

(CNN) — Shanghai’s already-hot hotel scene just keeps getting hotter.

The J Hotel Shanghai Tower, which opened on June 19, isn’t just another high-end property.

It claims to be the highest hotel in the world. The J Hotel occupies the top floors of the Shanghai Tower — which at 632 meters (about 2,000 feet) is the tallest building in all of China.

Aside from impressive bragging rights, what is the hotel actually like? The J has 165 rooms, of which 34 are suites. There’s 24/7 personal butler service, an indoor swimming pool, toiletries by Hermes and Diptyque, magnolia petal-shaped bathtubs,

High Lumber Prices Add Urgency to a Decades-Old Trade Fight

In 2016, toward the end of the Obama administration, the American lumber industry petitioned the government to impose duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports in response to what it contended were unfair trade practices. The proceedings continued under the Trump administration, which in 2017 imposed duties of 20.2 percent for most Canadian producers. The rate was lowered to 9 percent last year.

The status of the long-running dispute took on a new urgency as the price of lumber soared over the past year. The National Association of Home Builders estimated in April that higher lumber costs had added nearly $36,000 …

AstraZeneca Booster Shot Lifts Immune Response, Study Finds

A third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford generated a strong immune response in clinical trial volunteers, Oxford researchers reported on Monday.

The finding indicates that the AstraZeneca vaccine could be an option should third shots end up being needed, for example, to extend immunity. To date, the vaccine has been given as two doses, typically between four and 12 weeks apart.

The new data, detailed in a preprint manuscript that has not yet been peer reviewed, came from 90 study volunteers in Britain who were among the earliest to receive the shots

They Came to Slay: L.G.B.T.Q. Trailblazers

L.G.B.T.Q. people unite every June, Pride Month, to celebrate milestones like the Stonewall uprising and the activists who have made significant contributions to the advancement of gay rights.

Often overlooked, however, are the unsung heroes of color who have broken ground and continue to make strides. In a year when at least 29 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been killed, and as states are moving to restrict the participation of transgender women and girls in sports, Black L.G.B.T.Q. artists, performers, entrepreneurs and designers are using their talents to protect and heal, as they have for years.

“I’m willing to help

Macron and Le Pen Parties Both Battered in French Regional Elections

PARIS — It had seemed inevitable: another face-off in next year’s French presidential election between President Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, the leader of the rightist, anti-immigrant National Rally Party.

But after nationwide regional elections on Sunday, a rerun of the second round of the 2017 election appeared far less certain as both Mr. Macron’s centrist party, La République en Marche, and Ms. Le Pen’s party failed to win a single one of France’s 13 mainland regions.

The defeat was particularly crushing for Ms. Le Pen. She had portrayed the regional elections as a bellwether of her rise to