Daily Skimm: Oh yeah, it was like lightning

June 4, 2021

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Skimm'd while talking to Whembley Sewell about LGBTQ+ voices and stories

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Quote of the Day

"Baby squid and water bears" – What NASA and SpaceX just sent to the International Space Station. That's one macro step for microbe-kind.

Bounce Back

The Story

The US is getting its groove back.

Get down on it.

It's been a whirlwind. At the height of the pandemic, the US unemployment rate reached nearly 15%. And at one point, the country saw an average of more than 3,000 virus-related deaths every day. But since March, a slew of states across the country have eased mask mandates and lifted restrictions. And more than half of all US adults are fully vaxxed against COVID-19. It all appears to put the US on a positive trajectory. Here's how things are going:

Wallet check...Travel and spending are up. New unemployment filings are down to the lowest level since the pandemic began. WFH is going hybrid for many companies. And your Venmo and Cash App are probably seeing more activity. Still, the US's economic state isn't where it was pre-pandemic. The service industry is struggling to find workers – who are saying 'maybe pay us more.' And companies are debating whether to mandate vaccinations (more on that here).

Health check...Cases are at their lowest level in almost a year. In the past week alone, daily cases reportedly fell nearly 30%. And in the Midwest and Northeast, states have reportedly seen a more than 50% drop over the last two weeks. In 12 states, 70% of US adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine. But others (like Alabama and Mississippi) are lagging behind – less than half of their adult population have received a dose.

Vibe check...Hugs are making a comeback. Social cals and reservations are back. And wedding season is upon us once again. Being a social butterfly can lead to an endorphin boost. But the pandemic took a toll on many people's mental health. There was an uptick in people experiencing anxiety and depression (think: reports of symptoms quadrupled). Especially for working moms. So, if you're feeling newfound "reentry" anxiety, you're not alone.

So is it safe to say we're in the After Times?

Don't jinx it. Earlier this week, President Biden announced a "national month of action" to get 70% of American adults partially vaxxed by July 4. And he's also laid out a plan to spread the vax love abroad, sending 25 million doses to countries in need. In the US, at least half a dozen states have some kind of vaccine lottery program to nudge people to roll up their sleeves. States like New York and Ohio are offering scholarships or cash. West Virginia's offering guns and trucks. And companies are offering anything from free flights for a year to beer to lure people in. 'Murica.


COVID-19 hasn't entirely disappeared, and progress isn't equal across the US. But America is starting to look more like it did before the pandemic struck, and that's something to celebrate.

PS: The latest episode of "Skimm This" goes into how the US can turn the global vaccine shortage around.

And Also...This

What's giving us nothing to ET phone home about…

US intelligence. For the past two decades, US military personnel have reported dozens of unexplained UFO sightings. Or as they rebranded it down at the Pentagon to sound so very serious, "unidentified aerial phenomena." Last year, lawmakers included a provision in a coronavirus package and spending bill calling on fed officials to look into the UFO reports, to the delight of people in tin hats everywhere. That report is due later this month. But in the meantime, we're finding out clues. Officials are reportedly saying that there's no evidence aliens are responsible. So, as one congressional aide put it, people hoping for "visual evidence of little green men" are "almost certainly" going to be disappointed. But intelligence apparently still can't rule it out. Another theory is that some of these flying objects could come from Russia or China – a big national security concern.

  • Stay tuned: The full report is due to drop by June 25. And Congress gets first dibs.

What's gotten a red flag...

"Race-norming." Earlier this week, the NFL said it'll stop using "race-norming" in concussion settlements. It's a practice that uses different standards for dementia tests for Black players vs white players. Think: it assumes that Black players have a lower level of cognitive function, so they have to show a greater level of cognitive decline than white players in dementia claims. Let that sink in. In August of last year, two former players filed a civil rights suit. They said they were discriminated against and denied a payout during a $1 billion concussion settlement between the league and retired players. Now, the NFL is saying it'll commit itself to eliminating the practice. But it's unclear what the league's next play will be. One retired player called the whole thing "classic systemic racism."

What's got parents doing a double take...

Infant sleepers. Earlier this week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that infant sleep products must meet fed safety standards. The change effectively bans a range of baby gear (think: bedside sleepers, bassinets, and inclined sleepers) – linked to more than 100 deaths. It aims to crack down on products that have gone unregulated and have seen recalls. But starting next year, this new rule requires any product marketed for sleeping babies to meet a federal safety standard.

Who says 'sharing is caring'…

Amazon. The company is building a WiFi network called Amazon Sidewalk...that will rely on its customers' networks. It'll band(width) together neighbors' connections to help Amazon devices (think: Ring and Echo) work outside the home. But there's some privacy concerns. If it's not your vibe, here's how to opt out.

Who's addressing the elephant in the room

This Texas valedictorian.

Summer Colors

ICYMI, red and pink is the new black and white. The color combo has been all over red carpets and Instagram feeds. And if you want in on the trend...Summersalt can help. They make comfy, extremely well-fitting swimsuits out of recycled materials in sizes 0 to 24. Oh, and they're giving Skimm'rs $10 toward their purchase. We'd go with…

This stripey Sidestroke one-piece. It's a best-seller for a reason. Say 'hi' to superior compression.

The chic Tie Waist Backflip one-piece. Plunging neckline? Check. Open back? Also check. This one was made to turn heads.

A matching Beach to Brunch Wrap Skirt. Works as a coverup, but also with your real clothes. Talk about a win–win.

Skimm Reads

"Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

We partnered with our friends at Book of the Month for this week's rec.

The year: 1983. The place: a cliffside home along the beach in sunny SoCal. Bestselling author Taylor Jenkins Reid (yep, the same TJR who wrote "Daisy Jones and the Six") is back. Her new novel follows four famous siblings over the course of one August day. It all leads up to a party where secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested, and a home bursts into flames. Talk about bringing the heat.

Join Book of the Month now to get a copy for only $9.99. And then pick from five carefully curated new reads every month. They'll send your choices right to your door. Yes, please.

Skimm'd from the Couch

In honor of Pride Month, we've got a special ep of our podcast, "Skimm'd from the Couch." We spoke to Whembley Sewell – EIC of Condé Nast's newest publication, them – about how she stays focused on celebrating the stories and voices of the LGBTQ+ community. Plus, her advice on fostering an inclusive work culture and connecting with your audience.


Here are today's recs to help you live a smarter life…

1. Sandals that'll actually keep your feet comfy all day long. Imagine the soft, lightweight, flexible feeling of Crocs clogs. Then picture your favorite pair of slip-ons, slides, flips flops, wedges or strappy flats. Now, head here for the best of both worlds.*

2. Genius storage solutions for small spaces. Kiss stuffed drawers and packed closets goodbye. It's officially makeover time, starring your home.

3. Zippered pouches to keep your vaccine card safe and sound. Whether you're all about the good vibes, you love old-school style, or you'd rather be in bed. At 6 by 4 inches, they'll easily fit your VIP (very important paper).

4. A massaging scalp brush that helps with shampooing. It's made for all hair types and is designed to ease itchiness and promote blood circulation. Your next shower just got leveled up.

PS: Like what you see here? Make sure you're signed up to get more picks like these in your inbox every Thursday. We've got exclusive shopping recs, streaming ideas, life hacks, and more.

*PS: This is a sponsored post.


We like to celebrate the wins, big and small. Let us know how your friends, neighbors, coworkers (and yes, even you) are making career moves, checking off goals, or making an impact in the community.

Helping hand...Noor S (PA). As a medical student, she started an initiative called Breath for Humanity with her mother. They help collect and send life-saving PPE and oxygen concentrators to India as it battles the COVID-19 pandemic. Their first shipment reached the country just last week – containing thousands of N95 masks, shields, and gowns. Learn more.

Lending an ear...Jake M (FL). After moving his private therapy practice online, he realized there was a need for a similar online platform for the LGBTQ+ community. So he launched Gay Therapy Space after six months of work in several states. It's an online management company that connects people with local licensed therapists. Check it out.

(Some) Birthdays...Dean Raymond Alpert (CA), Linda Franci Foley (CA), Katie Frisina (MA), Eric Miller (CA), Shayna Schor (MA), theSkimm's Stacy Chemtob (NY), Isabel Krause (MD), Shalei Holoway (NY), Carolyn Selwood (MD), Judah Grinberg (MA), Sadie Thomassen (MO), Monique Jones (UT), Lisa Pluska (VA), Lisa Sims Harrison (AL), Sarah Smith (TX), Carlos De Sousa (CA)

*Paging all members of theSkimm. Reach out here for a chance to be featured.

Skimm More

There's been a lot of talk about the filibuster ever since Senate Republicans blocked a bill to create a 9/11-style panel to investigate the deadly Jan 6 Capitol riot. We break down what you need to know about filibusters here.

And if you're looking for other smart ways to spend your time…

  • Listen to our news podcast "Skimm This" for clarity on the biggest stories of the week.

  • Tune in to our career podcast "Skimm'd from the Couch" for tips to build your resume.

  • Subscribe to our "Skimm Money" newsletter to keep up to date with your wallet.

  • Sign up for our "Skimm Your Life" newsletter for curated shopping, reads, and entertainment recs.

  • Follow us on the gram, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

  • Download our app to get it all in one place.

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Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Maria del Carmen Corpus, Clem Robineau, and Julie Shain

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