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Can the leader who sealed off her country open it back up?

August 12, 2021, 12:35 PM UTC
Jacinda Ardern Receives Second Dose Of Pfizer As The Government Rolls Out Next Stage Of Vaccinations
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at a news conference on July 28, 2021 in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Michael Bradley/Getty Images

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The CDC urges pregnant people to get vaxxed, incoming NY Gov. Kathy Hochul is ready to shake things up, and Jacinda Ardern has a plan for reopening New Zealand. Have a terrific Thursday!

– Reopening plans. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earned praise early on in the pandemic for helping her country nearly eradicate COVID from its borders. Her constituents dinged her recently for New Zealand’s slow vaccine rollout, but even today, the country of 5 million has recorded fewer than 3,000 cases and 26 deaths. It hasn’t reported a locally-transmitted case of the virus in 165 days

But that’s largely due to New Zealand locking its borders, and the question now is: how long can that last? 

“We cannot keep border restrictions on forever, and to be absolutely clear we don’t want to do that either, and neither do the experts we talk to,” Ardern said on Thursday, laying out her government’s blueprint for opening back up after months of isolation. She said New Zealand will execute a phased re-opening starting in early 2022 that will let vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries enter without quarantining. As part of the plan, Ardern promised to ramp up New Zealand’s own vaccination campaign, which has so far fully inoculated less than 20% of Kiwis. 

Interestingly, Ardern is not abandoning New Zealand’s policy of pursuing zero cases of COVID. “Principle number one will remain … maintaining our elimination strategy to stamp out the virus,” she said. That’s a departure from other so-called COVID-zero countries like Singapore, which has resolved to live with some cases of COVID once its vaccination rate is high enough.  

Ardern says she wants to “maintain our hard won gains,” but the next stage of the pandemic will test whether the leader who’s been celebrated for sealing off her country can be as successful at opening it back up. 

Claire Zillman

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- New York's new gov. New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul held her first press conference as governor-in-waiting after Andrew Cuomo announced his plans to step down amid sexual harassment allegations. Hochul distanced herself from the governor and his behavior, telling reporters they “not been close” and that she would not hesitate to oust staffers who behave unethically. "At the end of my term, whenever it ends, no one will ever describe my administration as a toxic work environment,” said Hochul. New York Times

-Big spender. MacKenzie Scott has become one of the biggest and most powerful forces in philanthropy. She has also declined to talk much about her charitable strategy or thinking, saying she prefers to leave the spotlight on the organizations. This Bloomberg story provides some of that context by categorizing and tracking the 786 gifts she has given so far. Bloomberg

- Black maternal joy. Leah Wright Rigueur, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, spent the past few months interviewing Black mothers about their "needs, wants, and experiences" and asking one core question—“What does free Black motherhood look like to you?” Here's what they had to say: The Atlantic

- Vaxxing for two. Citing new safety data, the CDC upgraded its guidance for pregnant people, urging them to be vaccinated against COVID. (The agency already allowed vaccination during pregnancy.) The moves brings the CDC in line with the recommendations of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and others. Fortune 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: StockX named former TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot as its first female board member. Intel has hired Verizon exec Christy Pambianchi as EVP and chief people officer.


- Who is Mayim Bialik. The hunt to find a new Jeopardy host to replace the irreplaceable Alex Trebek is over: actress Mayim Bialik will split the job with executive producer Mike Richards. WSJ

- Very little, very late. Kelley Paul, wife of Senator Rand Paul, bought stock in Gilead, which makes COVID treatment remdesivir, in February 2020 well before the extent of the virus threat was understood by the general public. Senator Paul just made the disclosure of her purchase this week—16 months after the deadline set forth in rules designed to combat insider trading. Washington Post

- Stay safe. Being a female journalist is stressful and dangerous: one recent report found that 58% percent of women in the field reported being threatened or harassed in person. Many women say their newsrooms haven't done enough to protect them—and are hoping that a new lawsuit against the Washington Post will help. The 19th


Anti-aging research pioneer Aubrey de Grey placed on leave over sexual harassment allegations STAT

Gaming culture is toxic. A major lawsuit might finally change it Vox

Dolly Parton to release her first novel with James Patterson Daily Beast

NCAA won’t punish Baylor for sexual assault scandals WSJ


"I’ve learned to trust my instincts over time and ignore the noise around them."

-Anjula Acharia, investor, entrepreneur and manager of Priyanka Chopra

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