Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Friday, July 30, 2021:


CDC INTERNAL REPORT: The Delta variant is more contagious than Ebola and as contagious as the chickenpox, according to an internal CDC document that led the agency to reverse its mask guidance this week. That document was leaked to several news outlets but has not been made public by the CDC. It’s based on studies of several recent outbreaks, including a July 4 cluster in Cape Cod, that show Delta may be transmitted as easily by vaccinated people as by those who aren’t vaccinated. The CDC data still show that vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death. WASH POST

INCENTIVES & MANDATES: To that end, President Biden laid out new rules and incentives in the rush to get the U.S. vaccination numbers up. He called on state and local governments to offer $100 to residents who get vaccinated now. Federal employees will have to get vaccinated or face regular testing, and that extends to the military. Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas are the latest cities where masks are a requirement again indoors, regardless of vaccination status. NY TIMES


Sunisa Lee stepped in for Simone Biles, and she delivered. Lee nailed every routine in the women’s gymnastics all-around final to win the gold, including a bars routine considered the hardest in the world. The 18-year-old Hmong American keeps the streak alive of U.S. women winning the event at every Olympics since 2004. Watch her family back home in Minnesota react as she takes the gold: SEE IT


The federal eviction moratorium is set to lapse this weekend, putting millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes. Congressional Democrats are trying to pass a last-minute extension, but its prospects are dim after the White House said it would allow the ban to expire but urged states to speed up the rollout of federal rental assistance funds. Landlords say the moratorium is costing them billions of dollars a month. POLITICO


New Jersey is the first state to offer free nurse visits to mothers immediately after they give birth, regardless of whether they are insured. The new measure signed by Gov. Phil Murphy is meant to cut down on maternal and infant mortality rates. New Jersey has one of the highest rates of mothers who die from pregnancy-related complications, with Black mothers seven times more likely to die than white moms. The state program will offer families up to three free wellness checks from registered nurses after their baby is born. It will be available to adoptive parents and parents who experience stillbirth, too. NORTHJERSEY.COM


The U.S. economy grew at a disappointing rate in the second quarter, but the country is now back to pre-pandemic levels of output. GDP rose 1.6% in the quarter for an annualized rate of 6.5%. That’s incredibly strong -- and it shows the economy is rebounding much faster than it did after the Great Recession -- but still below the expectations of 8%. The data showed that the ongoing supply chain disruptions are hamstringing growth, especially in sectors like the housing market. YAHOO FINANCE


The founder of the electric truck start-up Nikola has been indicted on charges that he defrauded investors by claiming that the company was much further along in the development of its trucks than it actually was. Trevor Milton is accused of making misleading statements like claiming that Nikola’s semitruck could be driven by its own power, and even commissioning a commercial that showed it driving down a hill, when in fact the vehicle was just pushed. Milton pleaded not guilty and is out on bail. NBC NEWS


Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for breach of contract after the studio opened Black Widow in theaters and on demand at the same time. Johansson’s suit argues that the decision had the effect of depressing ticket sales, which the box office numbers bear out. As the star of the film, Johansson’s salary was tied to how well it did in theaters, and she claims she lost $50 million due to the “day and date” release strategy. Disney says the suit is "without merit." WSJ


Could it be… an original movie --  for adults -- that has no explosions, car chases or superheroes, and is actually supposed to be good? Stillwater, starring Matt Damon as a father who travels to France to get his daughter out of prison, opens exclusively in theaters today. The film got a standing ovation when it premiered at Cannes earlier this month, and the critics here are calling it “thoughtful” and “intelligent.” There’s also The Green Knight, a medieval fantasy thriller with Dev Patel that’s getting raves. And if the kids are bored, Disney’s Jungle Cruise, starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, premieres in theaters or on Disney+ for an extra $30. INDIEWIRE


...Adam Driver, Lady Gaga, Al Pacino and an unrecognizable Jared Leto on the posters for House of Gucci: SEE THEM

…London’s newest tourist attraction, dubbed “The Mound,” basically a man-made hill of grass, mud and scaffolding that promises postcard views of the city. The public response has been so universally negative that the attraction was shut down until further notice: SEE IT


The biggest buzzword in Silicon Valley these days is “the metaverse.” Mark Zuckerberg says it’s what he wants Facebook to eventually become. Broadly speaking, the metaverse is a blending of the physical and digital world into a virtual reality that you would experience with the help of smart glasses or special headsets. As Cheddar’s J.D. Durkin explains, chance are you’ve already visited: WATCH

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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