Deadly Fungi Are the Newest Emerging Microbe Threat All Over the World

Disease, Threats

Deadly Fungi Are the Newest Emerging Microbe Threat All Over the World

It was the fourth week of June in 2020, and the middle of the second wave of the COVID pandemic in the U.S. Cases had passed 2.4 million; deaths from the novel coronavirus were closing in on 125,000. In his home office in Atlanta, Tom Chiller looked up from his e-mails and scrubbed his hands over his face and shaved head.

Chiller is a physician and an epidemiologist and, in normal times, a branch chief at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in charge of the section that monitors health threats from fungi such as molds and yeasts. He had put that specialty aside in March when the U.S. began to recognize the size of the threat from the new virus, when New York City went into lockdown and the CDC told almost all of its thousands of employees to work from home. Ever since, Chiller had been part of the public health agency’s frustrating, stymied effort against COVID. Its employees had been working with state health departments, keeping tabs on reports of cases and deaths and what jurisdictions needed to do to stay safe.

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‘If This Task Was Urgent Before, It’s Crucial Now.’ U.N. Says World Has 10 Months to Get Serious on Climate Goals

Ecology, Threats

‘If This Task Was Urgent Before, It’s Crucial Now.’ U.N. Says World Has 10 Months to Get Serious on Climate Goals

The language of diplomacy rarely allows for a true sense of emotion or urgency. But reading between the lines of the latest report commissioned by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—the body representing the 197 member nations of the Paris Agreement to minimize a global average temperature rise this century—the message is clear.

The world has precisely ten months to get our act together if there is to be any hope of staving off a climate catastrophe by the end of the century.

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Justinian’s Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe

Disease, Threats

Justinian’s Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe

The Emperor Justinian reunified Romes fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals who had separated Italy, Spain, and North Africa from imperial rule. In his capital at Constantinople he built the world’s most beautiful building, married its most powerful empress, and wrote its most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome’s fortunes for the next five hundred years.

Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed five thousand people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.

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Stopping the Killing: How Civil Wars End

Civil War, Threats

Stopping the Killing: How Civil Wars End

Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Liberia, Somalia, Azerbaijan, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Cambodia — all provide bloody evidence that civil wars continue to have a powerful impact on the international scene. Because they tear at the very fabric of a society and pit countryman against countryman, civil wars are often the most brutal and difficult to extinguish — witness the American Revolution.

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