African swine fever has devastated the vast pig farms in China and now threatens to spread elsewhere, various reports say.

Why it matters: The highly contagious virus — which has minimal risk of mutating to become harmful to humans — has spread so rapidly since August that officials are warning it could go global, the Wall Street Journal reports, possibly even reaching U.S. shores.

  • The pork industry, already impacted by trade tensions between China and the U.S., has led to China importing meat from the U.S. to help satisfy domestic demand, per WSJ. It adds that a Chinese government official last week predicted prices for pork — the country’s most widely consumed meat — could rise by more than 70% this year.
  • And, other industries could be affected. For instance, it could jeopardize the global availability of heparin, a blood thinner, science journal Nature reports.

What's next: The only current method of halting an outbreak is by culling herds, but the Chinese government is prioritizing research on the virus, setting aside about 100 million yuan (US$15 million) for projects such as developing a vaccine, George Gao, VP of the National Natural Science Foundation of China told Nature.

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Amy Coney Barrett sworn in as Supreme Court justice

Amy Coney Barrett took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice at a White House ceremony Monday night, not long after the Senate voted to confirm her nomination to the high court in a 52-48 vote.

The state of play: Justice Clarence Thomas administered the oath. The Supreme Court wrote in a statement that Barrett will take the judicial oath on Tuesday, at which point she will be able to begin her work on the court.

Gulf Coast braces for Zeta after storm strengthens into hurricane

Hurricane Zeta's forecast path. Photo: National Hurricane Center

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) declared a state of emergency Monday as Zeta strengthened into a hurricane and threatened Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as it moved towards the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The state of play: Zeta was expected to make landfall on the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula Monday night, bringing with it a "dangerous storm surge" and "heavy rainfall" as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Service said.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  6. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.