Rep. Susan Davis was named a 2020 “Champion of Science” by a nonpartisan organization made up of more than 50 public and private research institutions, including UC San Diego, it was announced Friday.
UCSD nominated Davis for recognition by The Science Coalition, which focuses on highlighting partnerships between the federal government and America’s research universities.
The award honors members of Congress “whose actions and votes consistently reflect their commitment to fundamental science through funding investment for federal research agencies,” according to a statement released by her office.
The Science Coalition’s president, Lauren Brookmeyer, called Davis “a tireless advocate for America’s scientific enterprise and for robust, predictable federal investment in fundamental science research.”
Davis said she was “honored to be recognized by The Science Coalition and UC San Diego.”
“San Diego has always been at the forefront of innovation and research,” Davis added. “We must be sure that it remains so.”
Angela Phillips Diaz, executive director of Government Research Relations at UCSD, described Davis as “a true ‘Champion of Science,’ most notably in her work as an original co-sponsor and steadfast advocate of the 21st Century Cures Act.”
According to Davis’ office, she has led an effort in Congress to increase funding for National Institutes of Health for medical research.
Coronavirus Epidemic Keeps Growing, but Spread in China Slows
HONG KONG — Chinese officials hailed recent figures as evidence that the spread of the coronavirus epidemic has slowed, and World Health Organization officials said on Tuesday that China’s strict limits on its people’s movements have helped.
But the outbreak and its death toll continue to grow, the picture outside China has grown steadily more alarming, and experts caution against excessive optimism about the crisis peaking.
“It could be unwise for anybody in China, or outside China, to be complacent that this is coming under control at this point in time,” said Prof. Malik Peiris, chief of virology at the University of Hong Kong.
Researchers in Germany presented evidence on Tuesday that people who have the new coronavirus can infect others even when they have no symptoms, as disease experts had suspected. Their findings, published in a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicated that people may be spreading the disease before they know they are sick.
But the Chinese government’s daily tally of new infections and deaths from the virus has declined steadily since Feb. 12.
On Tuesday, the authorities reported that in the previous 24 hours, 1,886 new cases had been confirmed — the first time since Jan. 30 that the number had dropped below 2,000 — and 98 patients had died. That brought the number of reported infections to 72,436 in China, where the death toll reached 1,868.
Government officials, as well as public health experts around the world, said the numbers suggested that China’s aggressive measures to contain the epidemic were working. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, told Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain in a phone call on Tuesday that China was making “visible progress” in containing the epidemic, according to Chinese state media.
More than half the country’s population is under some limitations on its movements, and 150 million of its people face restrictions on leaving their homes, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
“Right now, the strategic and tactical approach in China is the correct one,” Dr. Michael Ryan, the W.H.O.’s chief of emergency response, said on Tuesday. “You can argue whether these measures are excessive or restrictive on people, but there is an awful lot at stake here in terms of public health — not only the public health of China but of all people in the world.”
China’s lockdown has slowed the spread of the virus from its epicenter, the city of Wuhan, to the rest of China by two to three days, and from China to the rest of the world by two to three weeks, W.H.O. officials said.
The organization’s endorsement of China’s methods was an apparent reversal from less than three weeks earlier, when it had advised against restrictions on travel and trade. Some health experts have condemned the restrictions, saying that they were preventing vital resources from getting where they were needed, and could instill panic.
Prof. Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory disease expert in China, said on Monday that he expected the epidemic to peak in the country’s southern regions by mid- to late February, and the rest of the country to follow soon after.
But Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O. director general said on Monday that the apparent tapering of the spread in China “must be interpreted very cautiously,”
“It’s too early to tell if this reported decline will continue,” he said during a news conference in Geneva. “Every scenario is still on the table.”
Since Chinese officials first acknowledged the virus in December, it has been hard to judge with precision the severity and scale of the outbreak.
China has changed its criteria for diagnosis, prompting a large increase in reported infections and deaths last week. Tests for the virus have not been very accurate, and people who do not seek or receive medical care may not be not counted. And people with mild or no symptoms may not realize they have the virus and may not get counted.
Initially, the cases reported outside mainland China were mostly among people who had recently visited there, but increasingly, they stem from contact in other countries.
The number of cases in Japan has spiked in recent days, most of them tied to a quarantined cruise ship that turned into a hotbed of transmission. Other case clusters have also turned up in Japan, but so far, the ship, the Diamond Princess, accounts for most of the cases worldwide outside of China — 542 as of Tuesday, an increase of 88 in one day.
On Monday, more than 300 American passengers on the ship were flown to the United States and placed in a two-week quarantine. Fourteen of them tested positive for the coronavirus shortly before leaving Japan, but were still allowed to board the flights. American officials had started the process of evacuating them home without knowing their test results.
Some of those passengers said on Tuesday they had been informed that a few more of them had tested positive for the virus since they arrived in the United States.
Also on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told more than 100 Americans who have been on the Diamond Princess they cannot return home for at least two more weeks, after it became clear that efforts to control the virus aboard the ship had been ineffective. The passengers include some who have tested positive for the virus and are hospitalized, and others still aboard the ship who have not shown signs of illness.
Japanese officials said they expected 500 people to be let off the ship on Wednesday. But they did not make it clear how they had concluded it was safe to release people, or how they had decided which passengers would leave, or who those people would be.
Cambodia has allowed more than a thousand passengers from another cruise ship, the Westerdam, to disembark without testing most of them. Hundreds of them flew out of the country, before one of them took ill and tested positive for the virus, raising fears of undetected cases and a further global spread.
The country’s authoritarian leader, Hun Sen, has continued to express complacency about the outbreak, even encouraging passengers from the Westerdam to go sightseeing in Cambodia.
“Cruise ships are the weak link in the containment,” said Prof. Raina MacIntyre, an expert in biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Citing the potential for future cruise ships to harbor the virus, she said, “we could lose control of the epidemic if we don’t get a tight handle on the cruise ship situation.”
There are other signs the outbreak’s global toll has not crested. The first coronavirus-related death outside of Asia was announced on Saturday, when a Chinese man died in France. Taiwan announced its first virus-related death on Sunday, marking the fifth fatality outside mainland China.
The economic cost of the outbreak, which has paralyzed China, the world’s second-largest economy, also continues to grow.
On Tuesday, HSBC, the London-based bank with deep roots in Hong Kong, said that it would cut 35,000 jobs over the next three years, in part because of the coronavirus outbreak.
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea warned on Tuesday that the outbreak in China is creating an “emergency” for the economy, saying his country could be one of the hardest hit.
If the virus starts to spread rapidly around the globe, it is unclear how other countries will respond. Few other governments have the power to clamp down as thoroughly as China, or even the desire.
The lockdown in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started, has taken a heavy human toll, making it difficult for many to find medical care or care for sick loved ones. The countrywide restrictions create their own challenges, stranding employees away from their jobs and pummeling the economy.
“This is the issue,” said Professor Peiris. “It is not clear that this is something that is replicable, even in other parts of China.”
It’s a complicated calculation for China and the world. Though relaxed restrictions could revive the economy and ease fear and frustration, they could also lead to a resurgence of infections.
In recent days, the Chinese authorities, hoping to nudge the economy back to life, have urged migrant laborers to return to work. Hundreds of millions had left urban centers for the Lunar New Year holiday in January.
Officials in the Philippines said on Tuesday that they would allow Filipino migrant workers to return to Hong Kong and Macau, reversing an earlier ban on travel to those regions. (The bar to travel to China remains.)
“The battle’s not over, because the travel restrictions can’t last forever,” Professor MacIntyre said.
Reporting and research were contributed by Austin Ramzy, Isabella Kwai and Alexandra Stevenson in Hong Kong, Hannah Beech in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Choe Sang-Hun in Seoul, South Korea, Raymond Zhong and Lin Qiqing in Shanghai, Wang Yiwei in Beijing, Roni Caryn Rabin in New York, Richard C. Paddock in Jakarta, Indonesia, Motoko Rich in Tokyo and Daisuke Wakabayashi in San Francisco.
From Dubai to Mars, With Stops in Colorado and Japan
“I think the atmosphere has been understudied,” said Philip R. Christensen, a planetary sciences professor at Arizona State University, which built the infrared spectrometer for Hope. That instrument will capture data on the dust particles and ice clouds and track the movement of water vapor and heat through the atmosphere.
The spacecraft is to spend at least two years in orbit, monitoring a full cycle of Martian seasons.
“I think we’re going to learn a tremendous amount,” Dr. Christensen said.
Brainstorming their way to Mars
Hope will be a well-traveled vehicle even before it heads to space in July.
Until Monday, it had never been anywhere near the United Arab Emirates. That day, the finished spacecraft landed in Dubai, after a 7,800-mile trip from Denver inside a Ukrainian Antonov cargo plane.
After another round of testing in Dubai, one of the seven city-states that make up the U.A.E. federation, the spacecraft will take another long plane trip, to Japan, for the rocket launch to leave Earth.
The Emirati Mars strategy replicates what the country did in the 2000s when the Dubai government wanted to build its own earth observation satellites. For that project, Dubai turned to a South Korean satellite manufacturer.
The first product of the collaboration, DubaiSat-1, was built in South Korea, with Emirati engineers spending months there, essentially learning as apprentices. The Russians launched it in 2009. The 400-pound satellite’s camera has been used for urban planning, disaster relief and environmental monitoring.
Its second satellite, DubaiSat-2, included a sharper camera and a faster communications system. It was also built in South Korea, but the work was split more as an equal partnership between the Emirati and South Korean engineers. A third satellite, KhalifaSat, was the first to be developed and built in the U.A.E.
Is the US Ready for Centralized Data Privacy Enforcement?
The recent news about a proposed bill to create a central data privacy enforcing body shines another spotlight on the high-risk, high stakes shifting ground that many businesses operate their engines of growth on – consumer data collection, analysis, and retention. The news will no doubt be a hot topic at the forthcoming RSA show where the theme of “Human Element” couldn’t be more relevant to this proposed bill – almost everything businesses collect today is about the human being and our mind-boggling data relationship, and many of the biggest data risks come from humans, human data handling, and human failures.
So, what about this new proposed bill? Despite years of debate and data security regulations enacted by the US States over a very long 16 years from 2002, we still see massive compromises from willful attackers, human error, and nation-state exploits. Now, privacy concerns stretch the need for security controls and appropriate operational processes even further to avoid the risk of identity data bleeding from “traditionally secure” operations, data stores and applications. Even the best intentioned organizations are at risk to privacy incidents like the recent WAWA case. In that scenario, investigators recently revealed the double-edged nature of data privacy risks with breached consumer analytic data reported to be available on the dark web – well beyond narrow scope payment data as originally suspected and under traditional data security regulations like PCI DSS. But to a modern retailer, personal and behavior data collection is critical and essential to compete – a critical ingredient to the future success of a business and the consumer relationship. It’s the very data that can drive innovation and optimize consumer experience but also brings privacy breach risks to a boiling point if modern data security controls are not in place for contemporary and constantly evolving threats.
So perhaps it is time for the equivalent of the European GDPR’s Data Protection Authority (DPA) approach for the US as a call to action to embrace a comprehensive privacy-by-design method to data protection, security, and privacy. The EU DPAs have shown their very effective teeth in the last 12 months, issuing fines exceeding $100M, with even bigger ones pending for the airline and hospitality industry breaches that are three times that early total – in just the UK. That’s enough for enforcers to re-invest in more action and change business behavior, and we will no doubt see increasing actions into 2020 and beyond. But is more enforcement really the answer to stem the tide of data compromise putting consumer privacy at risk?
Fines aren’t the only concern to the enterprise when the impossible becomes possible and mass consumer data finds its way to the dark streets of the criminal exchanges for a quick illicit buck at the expense of innocent victims. Business integrity, reputation, litigation, disruption, and reparation costs are all familiar unwanted and unplanned budget grabbers and massively burdensome. It’s no surprise then to find CISOs’ stress levels are at an all-time high given what is expected of them with limited resources, and so something has to change to help empower them to defend their data assets and find budget to innovate at the same pace as attackers. Can any business really afford not to? The shadows of the $2Bn Equifax breach are long, with effects still deeply resonating across the political and regulatory landscape. That breach, the trigger for States enacting tougher privacy laws, is a CISO’s worst nightmare – and all too possible without new security and risk reduction strategies.
As a government response to data collection concerns and continued breaches, contemporary US data privacy regulations, starting with California’s ground-breaking CCPA, have pushed from an enterprise-as-owner-of-data approach to a consumer rights centric model. This in itself adds a huge list of new processes to the already stressed compliance budget. The right to deletion, the consumer right to data, children’s data handling, new data safeguards and de-identification, data minimization, and retention policy loom large on the compliance roadmap. With each state creating their own “CCPA” variation, the regulatory matrix for compliance gets more expensive to meet. A central enforcement body could, potentially, bring a cohesive approach to compliance that could ease its implementation, assuming laws remain strong and in line with threats – which is key. Avoiding State-by-State privacy compliance is desirable as well as potentially a way to fuel simpler privacy budget requests for CISO’s. But that cannot come at the expense of dilution of intent, and ultimately the protection of the weary and oft-breached American consumer.
If regulations alone aren’t enough for today’s stressed CISO, there are new even more complex risks to juggle. Enterprises are on their second phase hybrid cloud journey that’s another seismic shift for compliance strategy: juggernaut-level digital transformation projects pushed by the pressure of business model innovation and competitive aggression are moving data into new risky territory. The dynamic, agile, hybrid cloud migration fueled by cutting edge technologies like Kubernetes and serverless compute create a very attractive platform for growth and change with great economics, but bring new risks. Gone are the days where data had a convenient boundary, a place where it lived, and clarity over controls. Today’s consumer-facing applications collect and push massive amounts of data into transient compute instances, they burst to the cloud, move it into a machine-learning pipelines for instant results, and store it for on-going analysis like never before. The sheer quantity and exposure risk of private data is at the very heart of CISOs’ stress, not to mention the concern in governments world-wide from exposure risk and potential for inappropriate use pushing regulatory envelopes even further.
So, what should be done? Are we ready for technologies like homomorphic encryption at the pace digital transformation demands? Long term, perhaps, but today – not yet, and its eventual use might be very limited. However, new data security and privacy methods exist right now that are proven and effective that take data out of reach of compromise as well as reduce regulatory burden while enabling cloud-native initiatives and modern machine learning systems. Advances in contemporary data tokenization have made it possible to live in the “new normal” of privacy-aware processes – at scale, in the cloud, and with massively reduced risk – and CISO stress. It’s an effective weapon of choice for risk reduction, compliance, and enterprise defense.
While tough new privacy laws and corresponding enforcement bodies can bring the stick and carrot to business responsibility, no forward-thinking business today can endure the risk of data compromise, litigation, espionage, and reputation damage from human error or direct attack, especially those well into their modern hybrid journey. Business units riding the new crest of powerful yet emerging technologies to compete and grow puts data into completely new risk states if it’s not thoroughly protected at its most fundamental level – data itself, so that’s precisely where protection – and privacy – must stay too.
Come meet us at RSA!
Visit Booth 5671E at the RSA show to talk to privacy experts who’ve already taken the world’s leading companies through their privacy and cloud journey spanning the strict and pioneering German Data Privacy Laws (BDSG-new), PCI DSS, HIPAA, HITECH, GDPR, and now CCPA.
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