Aug 4, 2018

Pandemics: A fast-spreading threat

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

Not all security threats are born from bad intentions. U.S. and global leaders aren't paying nearly enough attention to the threat from infectious disease, contends Lisa Monaco, homeland security adviser to President Obama:

"As Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, I worried about bad actors doing something awful with a bomb, a piece of malware or a pathogen. But in the case of pandemics, the more likely scenario is not a bad guy with a bug, but a naturally occurring infectious disease like we saw with Ebola in 2014, or worse yet, a new strain of flu."

"Amazingly, in 2018 — the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu that wiped out 50-100 million people worldwide — the World Economic Forum left this threat off its list of top 5 global risks and our own intelligence community left it off its latest Worldwide Threat Assessment." 

  • "Even though it's cheaper and easier to contain disease at its source rather than waiting for it to hop a ride on one of the millions of worldwide airline flights, the post-Ebola investments made to be sure we weren’t caught flat-footed for the next public health crisis have been slashed."

Why it matters: "With rising populations, growing mega-cities, and rapid global travel that saw more than 1 billion international tourist arrivals in 2015 alone — a new strain of deadly flu will make 1918 look like a walk in the park." 

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This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 45 mins ago - Health

Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World