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Two cases of plague, the illness known for causing the Black Death, have been reported in China, CNN reports.

What we know: The two patients are from the Chinese province of inner Mongolia and were diagnosed by doctors in Beijing. Both individuals are receiving treatment in Beijing's Chaoyang District, where authorities say they've implemented control measures to prevent the infection's spread.

  • The plague had been detected in the region earlier this year as well when a Mongolian couple died from the disease after consuming raw marmot kidney.

Background: European outbreaks of the plague during the Middle Ages killed roughly 50 million people. Advancements in antibiotics have made the disease fairly treatable, but have not eradicated it entirely. The World Health Organization reported over 3,248 cases of the plague worldwide from 2010 to 2015.

The plague is caused by bacteria and transmitted through infected animals and flea bites. It comes in three forms, including:

  • Bubonic plague, the disease's most common form, which often causes flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes.
  • Septicemic plague, which involves the bacteria entering the bloodstream and multiplying.
  • Pneumonic plague, which infects the lungs and causes serious coughing.

Of note: Pneumonic plague, which the Chinese patients have, is the only form of the plague that can be spread from person to person.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 9 mins ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.

Poll: U.S. leadership approval rebounds from Trump low

A Gallup report published Tuesday found approval of United States leadership in 46 countries and territories hit 49% — up from 30% at the end of Donald Trump's presidency, and matching former President Obama's first year (2009).

Why it matters: Biden's efforts to reengage with the international community following the Trump administration appear to be improving the global approval ratings for U.S. leadership, though this poll does not take into account the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.

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