Pressures on CDC for November COVID vaccine release

Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares his perspective on US politics.

How does the CDC look in advising states to prepare for an early November COVID vaccine release?

Well, there's two things going on here. The first is the pressure that the scientists and doctors working in the private sector and the federal government feel to get a vaccine out so we can all return to our normal lives. The second thing that's going on here is the political pressure coming from the White House to get a vaccine out the door so that President Trump can argue that he's returned things to normal. It's unclear which one of those pressures is pushing the CDC to action right now. It's possible that a vaccine is ready for an emergency use authorization by early November. But if the data doesn't support that it's safe, there's going to be a lot of blowback from the public health community, which could in turn undermine confidence in the public to actually take the vaccine when it comes out it is safe. So this is a big issue to keep your eye on.


What impact is Trump's "Law and Order" messaging having on voters in swing states?

Well, so far, the most important impact it's having is by forcing pushback from Joe Biden. Trump wants to paint Biden as an ally of the radical looters and protesters that are burning buildings in streets across the United States. And Biden has been very forceful in pushing back on this and saying he condemns looting, he condemns the violent rioting that we've been seeing, even as he stands with the Black Lives Matter protesters. There's no data to suggest so far that this is working in President Trump's favor. He's had a slight bounce in his approval ratings in the last two weeks or so, but it's hard to tell if that's just statistical noise from the types of polls that have been coming out.

Why is new White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas under fire?

Well, the basic reason he's under fire is because he's pushing a lot of advice that is out of step with the public health community. He's not an infectious disease specialist. He's a radiologist. And he's been pushing a message, questioning things like mask usage, whether or not children can spread the virus, and other things that supports Trump's message of returning the economy to normal, perhaps too quickly. Because of this, there's been a lot of questions about his inclusion on the coronavirus panel and people worrying that real experts like Dr. Fauci are being pushed aside.

Emily Ademola lives in an area of Nigeria that has been attacked by Boko Haram militants in the past. Looking for water was very risky, and without access to water, the community – especially children – were at risk of waterborne diseases. Eni, in partnership with FAO, built a water well in Emily's community in 2019.

Watch Emily's first-hand account about how access to water "close to our doorsteps" has improved the quality of life for her community and her family.

There's never a great time to impose higher taxes on funeral services — but doing it in the middle of a raging pandemic is an especially bad move. Yet that was one of a number of measures that the Colombian government proposed last week in a controversial new tax bill that has provoked the country's largest and most violent protests in decades.

In the days since, the finance minister has resigned, the tax reform has been pulled, and President Iván Duque has called for fresh dialogue with activists, union leaders, and opposition politicians.

But demonstrations, vandalism, and deadly clashes with police have only intensified. Two dozen people are dead, 40 are missing, and the UN has criticized Colombian police for their heavy-handed response.

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While residents of wealthy countries are getting ready for hot vaxxed summer — COVID is still ravaging many low- and middle-income countries. The horrifying scenes coming out of India in recent weeks have gripped the world, causing governments and civil society to quickly mobilize and pledge support.

But on the other side of the globe, Brazil is also being pummeled by the pandemic — and has been for a year now. Yet thus far, the outpouring of aid and (solidarity) hasn't been as large.

What explains the global alarm at India's situation, and seeming passivity towards Brazil's plight? What are the politics of compassion?

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Paris-London face-off at sea: France and the UK are at loggerheads in the high seas this week over post-Brexit fishing access in Jersey, an island off the English Channel. Furious at regulations that they say makes it harder to fish in these lucrative waters, dozens of French fishing boats amassed near the Channel Island, threatening to block access to the port. In response, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson deployed two naval vessels — a move critics say was an unnecessary escalation, and an attempt by the PM to flex his muscles and bolster the Tory vote ahead of Thursday's regional election. France, for its part, sent its own naval ship and threatened to cut off Jersey's electricity supply, 90 percent of which comes from French underwater cables. Fishing rights was one of the final sticking points of Brexit trade negotiations, an emotive political issue for many Britons who say that they got a subpar deal when the UK joined the European Economic Community in the 1970s. Though an UK-EU Brexit agreement was finally reached in December 2020, it's clear that there are still thorny issues that need to be resolved.

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10: Joshua Wong was sentenced along with other Hong Kong democracy activists to 10 months in prison for participating in a vigil last year marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing. Wong is currently behind bars for participating in separate pro-democracy protests, and will only start this new sentence after that term concludes in November.

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What's the biggest foreign policy misconception that Americans have about the US's role in the world? According to international relations expert Tom Nichols, too few Americans believe that the US, in fact, has a critical role in the world, and that the things Americans enjoy, from cheap goods to safe streets, are made possible because of American global leadership. "Americans have become so spoiled and inured to the idea that the world is a dangerous place that they don't understand that the seas are navigable because someone makes them that way. They don't understand that peace between the great powers is not simply like the weather, that just happens," Nichols tells Ian Bremmer. Their conversation is featured on an episode of GZERO World, airing on US public television – check local listings.

Watch the episode: Make politics "boring" again: Joe Biden's first 100 Days

The cover story of The Economist declares that Taiwan is "The most dangerous place on Earth," because China might finally be ready to plan an invasion of the island. But are the consequences of such a move worth the many risks to China and its President Xi Jinping? Ian Bremmer breaks out the Red Pen to to explain why a US-China war over Taiwan is unlikely.

We are taking our red pen to a recent article from The Economist. The Economist, you ask, how could I? I love The Economist, I know, I know. But you'd lose respect if I give this piece a pass. In fact, it was the magazine's cover story this week, so I had no choice. The image and headline say it all. Here it is, Taiwan is now "the most dangerous place on earth" as US/China relations continue to sour in the opening months of President Biden's administration.

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Delhi-based reporter Barkha Dutt's decades of journalism couldn't prepare her for the horrific experience of covering the death of one specific COVID-19 victim: her own father. In a conversation with Ian Bremmer, Dutt recounts her desperate struggle to find an ambulance to take her father through Delhi traffic to reach the hospital, only for him to die in the ICU. Their in-depth discussion looks at India's struggle with the world's worst COVID crisis in the upcoming episode of GZERO World begins airing on US public television Friday, May 7. Check local listings.

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Would China really invade Taiwan?

The Red Pen

India’s COVID crisis hits home

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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