Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 411 words, a 2 minute read.
1 big thing: America's dangerous backslide
After a century of progress against infectious diseases in America, experts now warn of a “very worrisome trend."
Why it matters: Infectious diseases kill far fewer today than a century ago, the AP notes, but the numbers are moving in the wrong direction.
- Measles hit their highest U.S. rate in 27 years, concentrated among Orthodox Jews.
- Hepatitis A is up more than 10x from 2017, sparked by an outbreak among the homeless and drug users.
- And eastern equine encephalitis killed 15 of the 38 people diagnosed this year. The 38 cases is double the previous rate.
The big picture: America remains very fortunate compared to our fellow global citizens.
- Measles killed 142,300 people worldwide in 2018, compared to zero in the U.S. in 2019.
Between the lines: America's measles elimination status isn't as important as "the fact that we remain highly vulnerable," Baylor pediatrics professor Peter Hotez told Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly earlier this year.
- There are "at least 100 geographic pockets in the U.S. where a high percentage of kids are not being vaccinated, together with measles cases now regularly imported from Europe where measles is even more widespread," Hotez said.
The bottom line: Backsliding is bad, particularly when it's largely the result of human choices, rather than mother nature's ingenuity.
Bonus: Pic du jour
North Carolina receiver Dazz Newsome catches a touchdown in the first half against Temple in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland.
- UNC dominated 55-13.
P.S. The college football playoff starts tomorrow:
- LSU vs Oklahoma kicks off at 4pm EST.
- Clemson vs Ohio State is at 8pm EST.
2. What you missed
- The FDA officially raised the age to buy tobacco in the U.S. from 18 to 21. Go deeper.
- Spotify will suspend political ads in early 2020 for its nearly 130 million ad-supported listeners. Go deeper.
- The world's 500 richest people added $1.2 trillion to their collective net worth in 2019, boosting their holdings by 25% to $5.9 trillion. Go deeper.
- Elizabeth Warren's campaign sounded an alarm to its supporters, saying in an email that it has only raised $17 million so far in the fourth quarter. Go deeper.
- Switzerland's president says Facebook's cryptocurrency Libra has "failed" in its current form "because central banks will not accept the basket of currencies underpinning it." Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing
Tom Hanks, American movie star, is now Tom Hanks, honorary Greek.
- Greece’s President Prokopis Pavlopoulos has signed an honorary naturalization order, the AP reports.
- Hanks, 63, frequently spends his summer vacation on the Greek island of Antiparos and his wife, actress and producer Rita Wilson, is of Greek and Bulgarian ancestry.
Between the lines: Under Greek law, honorary naturalization may be granted to people “who have provided exceptional services to the country or whose naturalization serves the public interest.”