The rapid spread of the Zika virus has public health officials worried, not least because so little is known about the mosquito-borne illness. In most children and adults, the symptoms are mild, if they appear at all, but there is a speculative link to the nervous system disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome and a more solid and troubling tie to microcephaly, a condition where babies are born with small heads and shrunken brains. There is no vaccine and no treatment, but researchers in Texas and Brazil are working on a Zika vaccine. It will probably be 5-12 years before they have one ready for the public.
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston tell BBC News they could have a working vaccine in a year or two, but that getting regulatory approval to use it on humans could take another eight to 10 years. Prof. Nikos Vasilakis says that 20-30 million Americans in the Southern U.S. are at risk of infection if the virus spreads north of Mexico, as expected. But there's a debate over how dangerous the virus really is.
Several countries with significant infections — El Salvador, Colombia, and Brazil — are urging women to put off having children, given the risk of bearing children with microcephaly. But the spike in microcephaly cases in Brazil doesn't seem to be as big as originally thought, and the World Health Organization stresses that a link between the Zika virus and microcephaly is circumstantial and unproven. In 2014, Brazil had 150 reported cases of microcephaly a year (versus some 2,500 cases of microcephaly a year in the U.S.), so the 4,180 suspected cases reported since October shocked the country. But on Wednesday, Brazilian health officials said that of the 732 cases they examined more closely, 270 were confirmed to be microcephaly and 462 cases were actually something else.
Still, "I don't think we should lower our alarm over the Zika outbreak," Paul Roepe, co-director of Georgetown University's Center for Infectious Disease, tells The Associated Press. And two public health experts, Dr. Daniel Lucey and Lawrence Gostin, warned in the Journal of the American Medical Association that if the WHO doesn't act, it risks a repeat of the Ebola disaster in Africa. See more about Zika in the BBC News explainer video below. Peter Weber
President Trump ordered Associated Press reporter Catherine Lucey to "be quiet" on Monday after she asked him a question about health care. Lucey was shouting out questions to Trump as he posed for a photo with White House interns.
Lucey's first question was whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who Trump deemed "beleaguered" in a tweet earlier Monday — should resign. Trump responded by quite literally rolling his eyes. "They're not supposed to do that," he told the interns. The press had reportedly been "unexpectedly summoned" to observe the photo session.
Then, Lucey asked for an update on Senate Republicans' plan to repeal ObamaCare. "Be quiet," Trump said, evoking laughter from the interns.
Watch it below. Becca Stanek
Trump rolls his eyes when asked if Sessions should resign; tells reporter to “be quiet” when asked about health carepic.twitter.com/terMPUDSlz
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 24, 2017
On Monday, newly minted White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci announced the return of televised briefings. "The TV cameras are back on," Scaramucci tweeted.
In his introductory appearance at Friday's press briefing following the news that Sean Spicer was resigning as White House press secretary, to be succeeded by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Scaramucci said he'd "have to talk to the president" about resuming on-camera briefings. On CNN on Sunday, he said his "personal opinion" was that "we should put the cameras on."
The program that spawned your works of art in elementary school computer lab is getting the ax. Microsoft Paint has been relegated to the "features that are removed or deprecated" list in the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, The Guardian reported, meaning that the image-editing application has been tagged by Microsoft as "not in active development and might be removed in future releases."
Microsoft Paint has been around since Windows 1.0, which was released in 1985. The new frontier of Microsoft art is Paint 3D, which was introduced in April. Wired noted that while the apps have a name in common, "the new 3D version works in a very different way and doesn't resemble the original in pretty much any way."
It's been fun, Paint. Becca Stanek
Americans are evenly divided over whether President Trump should be impeached, USA Today/iMediaEthics poll results released Monday reveal. While 42 percent believe impeachment is appropriate, exactly 42 percent say it isn't. In another even split, the same survey found 34 percent of Americans would be upset about such an impeachment, and another 34 percent would not.
Though impeachment does not necessarily entail removal from office, as in the case of former President Bill Clinton, more than a third of those surveyed — 36 percent — said they think it likely or certain Trump will not complete his first term. There, as with the impeachment questions, partisanship is amply evident: Just 1 in 10 Republicans doubt Trump will finish out the first four years.
Among President Trump's most dramatic campaign promises was his pledge to "drain the swamp," to clear out unethical arrangements and backroom deals of all sorts in Washington, a feat made possible by Trump's outsider status.
Six months into the Trump presidency, Walter Shaub, who this month resigned as director of the United States Office of Government Ethics citing "the current situation," isn't quite sure Trump understands how "drain the swamp" works. He took to Twitter on Monday to offer an explanation:
Can someone tell POTUS "drain the swamp" refers to ethics problems not to folks who disagree with him? Not sure he knows he's using it wrong
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 24, 2017
Trump himself also had "drain the swamp" on his mind while tweeting Monday morning, suggesting that "drain the sewer" might be a more apt phrase:
Drain the Swamp should be changed to Drain the Sewer - it's actually much worse than anyone ever thought, and it begins with the Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2017
To spare Shaub some time, let me go ahead and clarify that sewers already have drains — in fact, as this diagram helpfully shows, sewers are a systems of drains — while swamps are natural ecosystems known for their stagnant or slow-moving water. Bonnie Kristian
Kellyanne Conway christens Trump supporters who stood by him after the Access Hollywood tape the 'October 8th coalition'
While heaping praise on Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), White House counselor Kellyanne Conway unveiled the Trump administration's special name for those who stood by then-candidate Donald Trump in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape's release on Oct. 7. In the tape, Trump can be overheard bragging about grabbing women by their genitals. "We will always remember how tenacious and loyal Mark and Debbie Meadows were, especially after October 7. They're definitely members of what we call the 'October 8th coalition,'" Conway said in an interview with the Washington Examiner published Monday.
After the tape was released, Debbie Meadows "boarded a 'Women for Trump' bus with 10 other wives of congressmen, and defended the candidate," the Washington Examiner recalled. That sort of loyalty — perhaps alongside the fact that Debbie sends Conway cookies — has given the head of the House Freedom Caucus and his wife a certain power under the Trump administration. "In the final month, beginning with her boarding that bus ... in the face of a great deal of pressure to do otherwise — tells you something about their tenacity and loyalty," Conway added.
A New York Times story published Monday on the Russian sanctions deal made in Congress over the weekend — and President Trump's response to it — relays an anecdote from an unnamed White House aide which sees Trump accepting an argument from Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow could not be responsible for 2016 election meddling because Russian hackers are too competent to have their work discovered.
When "Mr. Trump met Mr. Putin in Hamburg, Germany, two weeks ago," the Times reports, Trump "emerged to tell his aides that the Russian president had offered a compelling rejoinder: Moscow's cyberoperators are so good at covert computer-network operations that if they had dipped into the Democratic National Committee's systems, they would not have been caught."
Trump seems to have believed this rationale, as new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci made the same case in his appearance on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. Had the Kremlin hacked the DNC, "you would have never seen it," he said. "You would have never had any evidence of them, meaning that they're super-confident in their deception skills and hacking." When CNN's Jake Tapper asked Scaramucci for his source on that claim, Scaramucci cited Trump. Bonnie Kristian