☕ The MCU expands

Plus, the WHO raises its warning for monkeypox...
July 25, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew


Good morning. Gotta say, watching the Red Sox lose 28–5 to the Blue Jays was not exactly how I envisioned my return to Fenway Park after many years. "Sweet Caroline" hits different when your baseball team is down by a few touchdowns.

But you don't have it all made, Toronto. The city's Pearson International is now the world's worst airport for delays: More than 53% of flights departing the airport arrived late to their destinations from June 1–July 18, good for dead last on a ranking of the world's top 100 airports.

Neal Freyman














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 6:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: The S&P is slowly clawing away some of its heavy losses for the year, having jumped almost 5% in July. In the current earnings season, companies are being rewarded for posting results that are definitely bad, but not as bad as feared. Netflix, which lost nearly 1 million subscribers in Q2, jumped 17% last week for its biggest weekly gain since 2018.


Monkeypox now a global health emergency

Protesters in NYC demand more government action to combat the monkeypox outbreak. Protesters in NYC demand more government action to combat the monkeypox outbreak. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images.

Just 2.5 years after the WHO called Covid-19 a global health emergency, it made the same declaration for another virus: On Saturday, the UN's health agency said that the monkeypox outbreak was an "extraordinary" situation that requires its highest level of concern, on par with Covid, polio, the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and the Zika virus in 2016.

The emergency committee actually couldn't come to a consensus on whether monkeypox should get the designation, but WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stepped in as a tiebreaker, arguing, "We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little."

Monkeypox has been endemic in sub-Saharan Africa for decades, but this summer it's exploded in regions where it previously hadn't circulated. Since May, the virus has infected more than 16,000 people across more than 70 countries, according to the CDC.

  • 99% of cases outside of Africa are men, and 98% of cases have been found in men who have sex with other men—particularly those who have multiple sexual partners, according to the WHO.
  • The agency warned against the stigmatization of this group, and suggested that by providing information and resources targeted to the community, the outbreak could be contained.

While it can leave you with a nasty rash, monkeypox is not as lethal or transmissible as smallpox, the virus to which it's most similar. More than 99% of patients are expected to survive a bout with monkeypox, and existing vaccines and antivirals are available for prevention and treatment.

But the current supply of vaccines is insufficient. San Francisco, for example, said it's requested 35,000 doses from the federal stockpile to meet demand, but has only received 7,700. Some experts are warning that the US is repeating similar blunders in its response to monkeypox as in the early days of Covid.

Bottom line: Both the WHO and US health authorities are confident that the monkeypox outbreak can be contained as more resources are deployed to combat it. If it's not—and these days one should never underestimate a virus—some scientists say it could evolve into an entrenched sexually transmitted disease.



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Tour de headlines

Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

More Elon Musk personal life drama: The Tesla and SpaceX CEO had a brief affair last fall with the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, causing Brin to file for divorce and the two tech moguls to end their long bromance, the WSJ said. Musk apparently feels bad about it; at a party earlier this year, he reportedly got down on one knee to beg Brin for forgiveness (it didn't smooth things over as hoped). This revelation is just one of many new details about Musk's personal life—including alleged sexual misconduct and the secret fathering of two children—that have come to light recently.

Huge fire in California: A wildfire that started on Friday in California ballooned in size over the weekend to become the largest active fire in the US, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency in Mariposa County. The Oak Fire, which is spreading near Yosemite National Park, has forced more than 6,000 people to evacuate from their homes. Firefighters say they don't expect to contain the fire until next week.

The pope heads to Canada to apologize. Pope Francis began a weeklong trip to Canada yesterday to apologize for the longtime abuse of Indigenous children in residential schools run by Catholic and other Christian groups. Indigenous leaders think a verbal apology is a start, but they want more action to repair the harms done.


The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps expanding

Black Panther screengrab Marvel's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

In 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) had its own Big Bang with the launch of Iron Man, kicking off what's known as "Phase 1" of its industry-transforming superhero saga.

Fourteen years later, the MCU is still expanding. At San Diego's Comic-Con this weekend, execs laid out the end of Phase 4, previewed Phase 5, and even teased some aspects of Phase 6.

Phase 4, the phase that brought you WandaVision, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and a growing roster of new characters, will conclude with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in November. The newly released trailer almost broke the internet this weekend, with fans still reeling from the 2020 death of Chadwick Boseman, the star of the first Black Panther.

Phase 5 will begin next February with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and also include Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, season two of Loki on Disney+, and Blade, starring Mahershala Ali as the half-vampire vampire hunter.

Phase 6, arriving fall 2024, will mark the end of the "multiverse saga" of Phases 4–6. We don't know much about it yet, but it will have two new Avengers movies.

Zoom out: While Marvel tends to suck up all the oxygen at Comic-Con, other studios hyped upcoming projects, too. Amazon previewed its Lord of the Rings TV spinoff (the most expensive show ever made, costing $1 billion over five years), and Netflix released the trailer for The Sandman, which is based off of Neil Gaiman's acclaimed comic book series.



The week ahead

A shoulders-up photo of Fed Chair Jerome Powell looking off into the distance Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Prepare yourself for what analysts are calling "the most important week of the summer" for Wall Street, thanks to a deluge of earnings, economic data, and Fed action.

Fed meeting: After the Fed wraps up its meeting on Wednesday, it's expected to announce another interest rate hike to tame inflation. Central bank officials have signaled that they'll boost rates by 75 basis points, the same as last month's increase. That was the biggest rate hike in almost three decades.

Earnings: More than a third of S&P 500 companies will report this week, including tech behemoths Microsoft, Apple, Meta, Amazon, and Alphabet.

Economic growth: Q2 GDP will be released on Thursday, and it could show that the US economy shrunk for two straight quarters.

Everything else:

  • Lollapalooza takes over Chicago starting on Thursday.
  • Beyoncé releases her new album, Renaissance, on Friday.
  • The women's Euro 2022 final is on Sunday.


Key performance indicators

Sydney McLaughlin of Team United States competes in the Women's 400m Hurdles Final on day eight of the World Athletics Championships Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Stat: American hurdler Sydney McLaughlin is doing unheard of things on the track. With a time of 50.68 seconds for the 400-meter hurdles at the world championships Friday night, she shattered her own world record by .73 seconds. Her time would have also beaten two competitors in the women's 400-meter final (without hurdles). NBC analyst Ato Bolden said it was the best track and field performance he'd ever seen.

Quote: "This is of course bad."

Sergey Lazarev, president of the Moscow Chess Federation, has concluded that a robot breaking a seven-year-old boy's finger during a chess match last week is in fact not good. In a video shared on social media, the robot can be seen holding the boy's finger for a few seconds before the kid is whisked away by adults.

Read: The 50 greatest fictional deaths of all time. (Slate)


Dive back into the week:

Revisiting a classic illusion: Is Mario running up or down the stairs? An investigation.

Farewell, day trading: Recession jitters and billionaire CEO tweets shouldn't break your portfolio. Meet Composer, the finance app that uses logic and data, not emotions and groupthink, to supercharge your investing. Get $50 to invest today.*

Because vacations shouldn't be stressful. Travel mishaps happen (read this article about some of our doozies), but you can safeguard your trips with travel insurance from battleface. Now, sit back, relax, and delete (temporarily, sigh) those work apps from your phone.*

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  • The deal between Russia and Ukraine to release blockaded Ukrainian grain got off to a bumpy start after Russia launched missile strikes on the Black Sea port city of Odessa. Ukraine said it's still moving forward with its plan to resume grain exports.
  • Average US gas prices have plunged 32 cents in the past two weeks to $4.54/gallon.
  • President Biden's symptoms from Covid "continue to improve significantly," the WH physician said.
  • The Sakurajima volcano in Japan erupted on Sunday night, prompting officials to raise their warnings to the highest level.
  • The X Factor UK released never-before-seen footage of when One Direction was formed.


The puzzle section

Turntable: 45 words are up for grabs in this morning's Turntable. How many can you get? Find out here.

Name the playlist

We'll give you three songs from a certain Spotify playlist, and you have to come up with the name of the playlist. Extensive musical knowledge not required, but deductive reasoning is.

  1. "Uptown Funk," "No Scrubs," "Can't Stop the Feeling!"
  2. "Island In The Sun," "Dancing On My Own," "Green Light"
  3. "Burn for u," "Run to the Father," "Soul Worth Saving"

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  1. "Wedding Party Playlist"
  2. "Songs to Sing in the Car"
  3. "Christian Workout Playlist"

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Written by Neal Freyman

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