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Expand chart

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has now passed 900 cases, and community mistrust and endemic conflict in the region continues to slow progress despite the availability of promising new treatment options.

Why it matters: This is the 2nd-largest outbreak of Ebola on record, and the first to occur in a country experiencing violent conflict, which is complicating response efforts.

The latest: On Thursday, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) held a press conference to warn of the failure to date of bringing the outbreak under control.

  • Despite treatments and a new vaccine, the NGO warned, more than 40% of new cases since the start of the year are community cases where the infected people are dying at home rather than in hospitals.
  • "In Katwa and Butembo — the epicenter of the epidemic — 43 percent of patients in the last three weeks had no known links to other cases, making it difficult for health actors to determine transmission patterns," MSF said in a press release.
  • “We have a striking contradiction,” said Joanne Liu, MSF International president, in the press release.
“On the one hand, we have a rapid and large outbreak response with new medical tools such as vaccines and treatments that show promising outcomes when people come early. On the other hand, people with Ebola are dying in their communities, and do not trust the Ebola response enough to come forward.”
Joanne Liu, MSF International president

Between the lines: Last week, MSF was forced to halt its Ebola treatment activities in 2 locations of North Kivu province after attacks against its treatment centers. Security incidents ticked up in February, MSF says.

  • The organization cites a variety of political, social and economic grievances in causing the volatile security situation, including the influx of resources solely to fight Ebola in a region with many other basic health needs, as well as the conduct of security forces working with health care workers.
  • “Ebola is a brutal disease, bringing fear and isolation to patients, families, and health care providers,” Liu said. “The Ebola response needs to become patient- and community-centered. Patients must be treated as patients, and not as some kind of biothreat.”

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

10 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

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