Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Data: Ministry of Health DRC; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Public health officials have the tools to fight the deadly Ebola outbreak that continues to rampage through the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Health workers are tracking down contacts, implementing vaccination and quarantine regimes, educating the community, treating patients, and watching for new signs of infection. But the fight's not going well.

The problem: A "perfect storm" of deadly disease combined with civil unrest, violence against health care workers, other diseases like malaria, and cultural norms that encourage the use of local clinics and traditional funeral practices, have led this to become the world's second-worst Ebola outbreak on record, according to World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic. It will take dogged persistence to contain this one, he said.

Others are even more skeptical. Arthur Reingold, head of epidemiology at UC Berkely, says "It's a mess, frankly."

"At the end of the day, we know how to stop Ebola, and there are new tools in terms of vaccines that are almost certainly beneficial and treatments that are likely beneficial. ... [But] fundamentally they can't do what we know needs to be done."
— Arthur Reingold tells Axios

What's happening:

  • WHO has roughly 300 and the DRC's Ministry of Health and its partners have about 800 people on the ground, working hard to trace contacts and contain the outbreak, Jasarevic says.
  • The disease is spreading to new locations, including Butembo, a city of 1 million. "We’re expecting this outbreak will last for a while, and we must increase our efforts to get it under control," Doctors Without Borders said in a statement.
  • Clinical vaccine trials continue, with the addition of a fourth investigational treatment, known as REGN-EB3, as soon as possible, according to the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
  • Ahead of the Dec. 23 elections, DRC's Ministry of Health is "working with the National Electoral Committee to plan the installation of hand washing units and temperature checks at polls stations in the affected zones," per spokesperson Jessica Ilunga.

What needs to happen: Many objectives need to be met, sources say, including:

  • Teaching the local health clinics how to watch for and treat Ebola. Unsafe practices at the local clinics are suspected of being one of the causes for the larger number of babies and children with Ebola than normal, Jasarevic says.
  • Persuading families and communities to practice safe burial, since Ebola stays contagious in dead bodies for a period of time.

"This is against traditional practices of washing the body, guarding it and being present with the body to bring it to the next life," Reingold explains.

  • Encouraging the U.S. to rejoin direct public health efforts, since experts have left the epicenters due to its insecurity. NIAID tells Axios: "U.S. government workers, including a handful from NIAID, are working in Kinshasa, the capital city." WHO says they can "cover it" without the U.S. The lack of a major U.S. role in this outbreak is striking given the lead role the country played in the 2015 West Africa outbreak.

The big picture: Most sources expect the outbreak to last at least a couple more months due to its complications. "We are confident that it will be contained, but it will take some time. We have to be persistent," Jasarevic says.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”