U.S. to send more vaccines overseas, Bidens infrastructure plan, Amazon Sidewalk: 5 Things podcast

On today’s episode of 5 Things: The move to send more vaccines overseas comes at a time of massive vaccine inequality around the world. Plus, a legal fight continues over eviction moratoriums, negotiations continue on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, Amazon Sidewalk will share your internet connection and Avengers Campus opens at Disneyland.

Hit play on the podcast player above and read along with the transcript below. 

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning, I’m Taylor Wilson, and this is 5 Things you need to know Friday, the 4th of June 2021. Today, the U.S. commits to increase vaccine exports around the world, plus real estate groups won a stop to eviction moratoriums and more.

Taylor Wilson:

Here are some of the top headlines:

Taylor Wilson:

The United States will begin increasing its vaccine exports around the world. The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will donate 75% of its surplus doses to the UN-backed COVAX vaccine program. The mission has been supplying COVID-19 vaccines around the world for months and is focused on fair vaccine access. The U.S, will donate some 80 million doses by the end of the month. Initially, 25 million doses are being sent out, with 19 million to COVAX, including 6 million for Latin America, 7 million for Asia, and 5 million for Africa. The US plans to keep 25% of its overall excess supply in case of emergencies and to share with political allies.

Taylor Wilson:

The U.S. is going through one of the most aggressive and successful vaccination campaigns on earth, with 51% of Americans having received at least one dose. But many countries only have a sliver of their people vaccinated, and Latin America in particular continues to see major surges of COVID-19 as shutdowns continue and economies are devastated. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Thursday that the U.S. will retain some say on where vaccines go, but that the U.S. will not use vaccines to try and secure favors from other countries.

Jake Sullivan:

The United States will have the authority to say the doses are going here as opposed to there, but that will be done in very close consultation and partnership with COVAX, and crucially, according to COVAX’s formula. And then using the COVAX logistics capacity and delivery capacity to ensure that these doses actually translate into shots in arms that help save people’s lives. The United States is not asking anything of any country to whom we’re giving doses. We’re not seeking to extract concessions. We’re not extorting. We’re not imposing conditions the way that other countries who are providing doses are doing. We are doing none of those things. These are doses that are being given, donated free and clear to these countries for the sole purpose of improving the public health situation and helping in the pandemic.

Taylor Wilson:

Health experts continue to worry that countries without U.S. or other global vaccine partners may suffer. Iran, for instance, has just 3% of its 83 million people at least partially vaccinated, and is not a U.S. ally. There’s also major income inequality related to who is getting vaccines. 85% of shots around the world have gone to high- and upper-middle-income countries while just 0.3% of doses have been administered in low-income countries. According to data compiled by The New York Times, wealthy people in poor countries are also getting vaccinated. Many people are increasingly traveling to the US and other mass vaccination countries to get their shots before returning home.

Taylor Wilson:

A coalition of real estate groups asked the Supreme Court Thursday to block the federal government from enforcing an eviction moratorium. The moratorium was put in place last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The appeal comes a day after a three-judge panel in Washington allowed the moratorium to continue. As COVID-19 took hold in the US last year and millions of Americans lost their jobs, Congress approved a ban on landlords evicting tenants. That ban expired in July, but the CDC then imposed its own moratorium in September. President Joe Biden extended the ban in March despite objections from landlords and the real estate business. That moratorium is currently set to expire on June 30th. Though dozens of states have imposed their own moratoriums, still, even while allowing the moratorium to continue, the three-judge appeals panel this week acknowledged that a president had never attempted such an action under federal law, but it also admitted that no public health crisis has approached the scale and severity of the coronavirus pandemic in generations.

Taylor Wilson:

Talks continue on what began as President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan. Republicans continue to reject what they see as liberal social programs that don’t belong to an infrastructure package. Biden made a major concession this week. He won’t scrap the Trump administration’s corporate tax cuts. Instead, the latest version of the plan would beef up tax enforcement for the wealthiest, and it would make sure that the largest corporations pay a minimum of 15%. Biden reduced the cost of the plan to $1.7 trillion last month, while Republicans last countered at $928 billion. On Friday, Biden plans to meet with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the lead Republican negotiator on the deal.

Taylor Wilson:

Amazon’s new Sidewalk feature will share your internet connection with your neighbors. Sidewalk is a shared network that launches on eligible Amazon devices beginning June 8th, and you can turn it off. Brett Molina and Mike Snider explained on the latest episode of the Talking Tech podcast.

Brett Molina:

It’s described by the company as a low-bandwidth shared network that they say will not only allow your devices to work better, but it also will help locate lost items. So it kind of works a little bit like the network that Apple uses for its Air Tags. Amazon said Sidewalk will roll out to eligible Echo devices on June 8th. The way it works is, users will share a small portion of their internet bandwidth, which is then pulled together with other neighbors that are nearby. So say you have an Amazon device like a Ring camera that’s outside, instead of just relying on your Wi-Fi, it’ll lean on other internet connections nearby. The idea behind it, is so that it works more effectively. It will roll out automatically to several devices, including newer versions of devices, such as the Ring Floodlight Cam, Echos, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and others, as well as Tile Bluetooth trackers. You can check out the full list in my story on tech.usatoday.com to see if your device is among those.

Mike Snider:

Now, I have some Amazon devices, and I wonder what if I don’t want to do this? Is there a way to disable Sidewalk if you want to opt out of this?

Brett Molina:

Yeah, there are a couple of ways you can do it. If you own a Ring device, you can opt out by visiting the control center in the Ring app or the Ring website, and you go to your settings and it’ll take you to Sidewalk, and then you can disable it from there. If you own an eligible Echo device, you can do the same thing. You’ll go to the Alexa app. You’ll go to your settings. You should see something there for Sidewalk, and you can turn it off.

Brett Molina:

Amazon is also saying that if you purchase an eligible Echo device for the first time, during the setup process, you’ll have an option to say whether you want to keep Sidewalk on or disable it during that process. So there’s a couple of different ways you can do it if you really want to just opt out completely.

Mike Snider:

Now, I may be asking the stupid tech question and making myself look stupid in the midst of it, but you’re not mentioning Echo Fire TV, anything like that, are the Fire TV devices involved?

Brett Molina:

No, it looks like those aren’t among them. It seems like it’s focused a lot on the Echo speakers and a lot of their Ring products. So those devices kind of serve as the bridges for this network so that they can work together to connect everything. But yeah, it looks like right now, Fire tablets don’t seem to be involved and neither do any of the Fire TV devices that Amazon sells.

Taylor Wilson:

For more on Sidewalk and other news and tech, you can find Talking Tech wherever you get your podcasts.

Taylor Wilson:

Avengers Campus opens at Disneyland on Friday. The idea behind the experimental park is that guests can not just meet their superheroes but become them. Scot Drake, a portfolio creative executive at Disney Imagineering, told USA TODAY about the experience.

Scot Drake:

Avengers Campus has an entirely new six-acre land here at Disney California Adventure. It’s dedicated to finding and recruiting and training the next generation of heroes. At Avengers Campus, our major anchors are going to be Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! and WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure. You’ll also get to experience Pym Test Kitchen as well as the Ancient Sanctum, and super heroes all around you.

Taylor Wilson:

Guests can sling a web like Spider-Man, train to become warriors of Wakanda, or help Dr. Strange try to protect a gold ring from villains. Avengers Campus opens at California’s Disneyland Friday, but it’s currently limited to in-state residents. Disneyland will reopen to out-of-state guests on June 15th.

Taylor Wilson:

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us on Apple Podcasts, where we really appreciate if you could drop us five stars and a review if you have a second. You can also find us wherever you get your audio, including Spotify and your smart speaker device. Thanks as always to Shannon Green and Claire Thornton for their work on the show. 5 Things is part of the USA TODAY Network.

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