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.

"I think there are certain times where you have tectonic shifts and change always happens that way."

On the latest episode of 'That Made All the Difference,' Vincent Stanley, Director of Philosophy at Patagonia, shares his thoughts on the role we all have to play in bringing our communities and the environment back to health.

For many, Paul Rusesabagina became a household name after the release of the 2004 tear-jerker film Hotel Rwanda, which was set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rusesabagina, who used his influence as a hotel manager to save the lives of more than 1,000 Rwandans, has again made headlines in recent weeks after he was reportedly duped into boarding a flight to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, where he was promptly arrested on terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder charges. Rusesabagina's supporters say he is innocent and that the move is retaliation against the former "hero" for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country with a strong hand since ending the civil war in the mid 1990s.

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In an interview with Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts, Nicolas de Rivière cautions against an overly halcyon view of the UN's history. The Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations explains that throughout its 75 years the organization has confronted adversity. This moment is no exception, but "we have no other choice" than cooperation in order to address today's biggest crises, he explains. Rivière also discusses the global pandemic response, a need for greater commitments to climate action, and a recent move by the US to push for renewed sanctions against Iran.

One of the biggest threats to 21st century international peace is invisible. It recognizes no borders and knows no rules. It can penetrate everything from the secrets of your government to the settings of your appliances. This is, of course, the threat of cyberattacks and cyberwarfare.

During the coronavirus pandemic, cyberattacks have surged, according to watchdogs. This isn't just Zoom-bombing or scams. It's also a wave of schemes, likely by national intelligence agencies, meant to steal information about the development and production of vaccines. Attacks on the World Health Organization soared five-fold early in the pandemic.

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Malaysian political drama: Malaysia's (eternal) opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he finally has enough votes in parliament to be appointed prime minister, seven months after the coalition that was going to support him collapsed amid an internal revolt that also forced out 95-year-old Mahathir Mohamed as head of the government. Two years ago, Mahathir — who governed Malaysia from 1980 to 2003 — shocked the country by running in the 2018 election and defeating his former party UMNO, which had dominated Malaysian politics since independence in 1956. After winning, Mahathir agreed to hand over power to Anwar — a former protégé with whom he had a falling out in the late 1990s — but Mahathir's government didn't last long enough to do the swap. Will Anwar now realize his lifelong dream of becoming Malaysia's prime minister? Stay tuned for the next parliamentary session in November.

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