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 the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

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!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of 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

Dave Lawler, author of World
20 mins ago - World

Globetrotting climate envoy Kerry makes Biden team’s first visit to China

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

John Kerry became the first senior Biden administration official to touch down in China this week. He's also been the first to sit down with a string of world leaders.

Why it matters: Kerry may no longer be secretary of state, but you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise after a glance at his calendar. The unusual role could make Kerry a foreign policy force multiplier for President Biden, or potentially a source of mixed messages.

Chicago releases video of fatal police shooting of 13-year-old boy

A small memorial is seen on April 15 in Chicago where 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a police officer in March. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

Chicago's independent police review board on Thursday released the body camera footage of an officer's fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo on March 29.

The big picture: Tension continues to rise nationwide in response to police misconduct and racism. Thursday's footage release comes days after officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright in a traffic stop near Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, is ongoing.

4 hours ago - Podcasts

State AG candidate Jen Jordan talks Georgia's time under the microscope

Georgia has become the center of American politics, in an era wherein state issues and officials have taken on elevated national prominence.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Georgia state Sen. Jen Jorden, a Democrat running for attorney general, about her state's time in the national spotlight, if she'd defend the voting law as AG and if Will Smith should have pulled his movie production from her state.