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Data: Ministry of Health DRC; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continues to steadily grow — creeping closer to becoming the second largest outbreak recorded globally (current second highest is 425 cases). Today, the DRC reported 399 confirmed and probable cases for this outbreak that started Aug. 1.

Why it matters: The country is grappling with the combination of a deadly virus in areas of conflict, multiple other diseases, and attempts to prepare safe locations for upcoming elections next month.

DRC's Ministry of Health says it is sending additional rapid response teams for "defensive" purposes to the city of Butembo, which has roughly 1 million people and is located south of the epicenter of Beni. There's been a worrisome uptick in cases there.

The World Health Organization issued an External Situation Report Wednesday that says they "remain confident" the outbreak can be contained, despite the continued challenges.

  • This was despite last Friday's deadly attack in Beni that forced the WHO and others to halt for several days their work to quarantine, vaccinate and treat people who were in contact with known infected people.
  • WHO's report also notes Ebola is not the only disease DRC's Ministry of Health is fighting — there's also vaccine-derived poliovirus, as well as cholera, measles and monkeypox.
  • Meanwhile, the WHO also warned that more Ebola cases are being reported in children between the ages of two and 17 years old, which is unusual for this disease.
  • However, WHO's Peter Salama praised the community outreach programs, which he says has been encouraging more people to seek treatment earlier — a key factor in stopping the spread in the disease.

Go deeper

Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage"

Former President Barack Obama launched a blistering attack on President Trump while campaigning for Joe Biden in Orlando on Tuesday, criticizing Trump for complaining about the pandemic as cases soar and joking that he's "jealous of COVID's media coverage."

Driving the news: Trump has baselessly accused the news media of only focusing on covering the coronavirus pandemic — which has killed over 226,000 Americans so far and is surging across the country once again — as a way to deter people from voting on Election Day and distract from other issues.

Wisconsin Democrats: Don't return absentee ballots by mail

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Wisconsin Democrats are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes after a Supreme Court decision on Monday prevented the state from extending its deadline for counting absentee ballots, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: 1,344,535 of the 1,706,771 Wisconsin voters who requested absentee ballots have returned them, according to the Times. The remaining 366,236 could prove critical in the battleground state, where President Trump won by a thin margin in 2016.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging, with cold weather arriving before even the best-case scenario for a widely distributed vaccine. Now we're also beginning to see an increase in coronavirus-related startup funding, focused on both testing and pharma.

Driving the news: Gauss, a Silicon Valley computer vision startup focused on health care, tells Axios that it's raised $10 million to accelerate development and commercialization of an at-home rapid antigen test for COVID-19.