Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Thursday, July 29, 2021:


THE CARROT: New York City will start offering $100 on the spot to residents who go to a city-run vaccination site for their first vaccine dose. That’s the first major test of a new kind of incentive program for people to get the shot: cold hard cash. Meanwhile, Missouri -- one of the biggest Delta variant hotspots -- says it has doubled the number of daily vaccines since it unveiled a new $10,000 lottery. DAILY NEWS

THE STICK: Google is the latest large employer and the first of the big tech companies to say that anyone who is returning to the office has to be vaccinated, period. Facebook is mandating vaccines for on-campus staff, too, and Netflix is mandating vaccines for anyone who works on set. President Biden is expected to announce a blanket vaccine policy across the federal government today. Federal employees who don’t want to get the vaccine will be subject to regular testing. ITV


The efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine appears to slip slightly, from 96% to 84%, after about six months, according to new data released by the pharmaceutical giant. The vaccine remained extremely effective at preventing severe disease even after six months. The study could add momentum to Pfizer’s case that booster shots are going to be necessary for the general population, though federal public health officials have so far disagreed with that. STAT


Senate Democrats and Republicans have reached a deal on a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package that would funnel billions into the country’s roads, bridges, ports, transit, water and other “physical infrastructure” programs. All 50 Democrats and 17 Republicans have voted to advance the bipartisan framework, a major part of President Biden’s agenda. The agreement on the basic framework still needs final approval in both chambers but is now more likely than not to pass after the bipartisan breakthrough. WASH POST


The U.S. is back on top in the overall medal count after a huge day in swimming. Caeleb Dressel took his first solo gold, setting a new Olympic record in the 100m freestyle that makes him the fastest swimmer in the world. Bobby Finke won gold in the 800m, while Katie Ledecky took silver as part of the team relay. The women’s gymnastics all-around is happening this morning, and it’s expected to be a nail-biter with Simone Biles on the sidelines. Suni Lee is Team USA’s best hope for a fifth-straight gold in the event. ESPN


The Federal Reserve is not particularly worried that the Delta variant poses a significant threat to the economy. The central bank is holding its benchmark interest rate near zero, citing continued economic progress and “transitory” inflation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted that the “economic implications” from each successive COVID wave have gone down. “We’ve kind of learned to live with it,” he said. REUTERS


The online brokerage Robinhood starts a new era as a public company today when it debuts on the Nasdaq under the ticker ‘HOOD.’ The company priced shares at $38 -- that’s at the lower end of the range, and a sign of lukewarm investor demand. Robinhood is reserving an unusually high percentage of its offering shares to the legion of retail investors who made the platform so popular, though it's not clear they're particularly interested. Ever since the ‘meme stock’ craze earlier this year, Robinhood has been the focus of a virtually endless stream of regulatory probes and legal battles. Just before the IPO, Wall St. regulators opened another investigation into whether CEO Vlad Tenev is even licensed to run a brokerage. YAHOO FINANCE


Arthur, the beloved educational children’s show about a lovable aardvark navigating a diverse cartoon world, is ending after 25 years. The PBS series will air its final season next year, though reruns will continue on PBS Kids. Through the years, Arthur became a sensation on social media, leading many users to post their favorite memes in response to the news of the show’s end: SEE THEM


Adele is said to be considering a residency at the new Resorts World Casino in Vegas in a deal that could pay her more than $100,000 per night. The singer is rumored to be in the process of recording her much-anticipated next album in NYC, where she’s been seen out and about with her new boyfriend, NBA superagent Rich Paul. PEOPLE


...Bryan Cranston, posting a request for prayers as his Breaking Bad co-star Bob Odenkirk remains hospitalized after collapsing on the set of Better Caul Saul. Odenkirk is in stable condition after a “heart-related incident,” according to his rep: SEE POST

...Gawker, back online and under new ownership, five years after the infamous gossip blog was put out of business by a litigious Hulk Hogan: READ THE WELCOME LETTER


A woman in Germany walked around for weeks unaware that she was carrying a winning lottery ticket worth $39 million in her purse. German lotto officials say the unidentified 45-year-old woman was the sole winner of a draw on July 9 but was oblivious to that fact until recently. Luckily for her, the prize had not expired. Billions of dollars in lottery winnings go unclaimed every year in the U.S. alone, like a $77 million winning Powerball ticket sold in Georgia in 2011 that was never claimed. CHEDDAR

Listen to the N2K Podcast! Looking for more context and analysis on the big stories of the day? Check out our podcast! Hosts Jill and Carlo break down the headlines, every weekday morning Listen on Apple or Spotify, or watch on YouTube, and send us your feedback!

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