Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 9, 2020: November is infrastructure security month; Tropical Storm Eta is forecast to become a hurricane again before its second landfall in Florida; search and rescue efforts continue in Guatemala after a massive landslide inundates a remote village; a vaccine shown to be 90 percent effective against the novel coronavirus may see emergency use by the end of November; planning and guidance to protect soft targets and crowded places is available from CISA; at least 20 people were displaced from their homes in Massachusetts after a 3.6 magnitude earthquake struck near Dartmouth; cooler temperatures along with steady rain showers and snowfall should help squelch wildfires and improve air quality in California; and the FBI says cyberattacks have quadrupled since the start of the pandemic.

  1. Critical infrastructure plays a vital role by ensuring the safety, security, and prosperity of the nation. [link url=”https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/USDHSFACIR/2020/11/06/file_attachments/1593265/The%20InfoGram%20-%20November%205,%202020.pdf” title=”November is infrastructure security month”], and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is encouraging organizations to address evolving issues amid the pandemic, such as, ensuring the ability of remote workers supporting ongoing infrastructure operations across the nation amid the pandemic, to work safely and securely. A number of resources are available from CISA, who has identified two sub-themes for this month’s awareness: [link url=”https://www.cisa.gov/ismonth” title=”Security and Response During a Global Pandemic, and The Future of Securing Critical Infrastructure”].   https://twitter.com/TargetCentric/status/1324731384917798914
  2. [link url=”https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2020-11-08-tropical-storm-eta-forecast-florida-cuba-gulf” title=”Tropical Storm Eta slammed into Cuba then made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday night”], bringing torrential rainfall and high winds. At least 45,000 people were without power as of Monday, and tropical storm conditions are forecast for portions of the Florida Keys, along with south and central Florida, throughout Monday. [link url=”https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at4+shtml/114847.shtml?cone#contents” title=”Eta is forecast to become a hurricane again once it moves out over the Gulf of Mexico”], before it turns to the north and makes landfall again somewhere along the west coast of Florida. https://twitter.com/NHC_Atlantic/status/1325652472468140034
  3. Search and rescues teams rushed to find survivors in a remote village in central [link url=”https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/07/world/americas/guatemala-mudslide-storm-eta.html” title=”Guatemala after a massive landslide buried the homes of over 100 people”]. Officials believe at least 125 people were killed when their homes were buried by mud and debris after a mountainside sheared off and slammed into the remote village of Quejá on Saturday. [link url=”https://www.reuters.com/article/storm-eta/guatemalan-mudslides-push-storm-etas-death-toll-near-150-idUSKBN27M246″ title=”Rescuers digging through the mud and debris had already found at least 3 bodies”], but officials expect that number to rise as search efforts continue. https://twitter.com/ajplus/status/1324677157423964161
  4. [link url=”https://www.foxbusiness.com/healthcare/pfizers-covid-19-vaccine-proves-90-effective-in-latest-trials” title=”Initial testing of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus has allegedly proven more than 90 percent effective”]. The vaccine, developed by Pfizer in partnership with BioNTech SE, was used to treat 94 subjects infected with the virus, of whom had developed at least one symptom. According to reports, if pending data indicate the vaccine is safe, Pfizer may apply for emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine with the goal of selling the shot before the end of November. https://twitter.com/pfizer/status/1325767629890592771
  5. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is encouraging first responders, venues, business owners, and the public to [link url=”https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/USDHSFACIR/2020/11/06/file_attachments/1593265/The%20InfoGram%20-%20November%205,%202020.pdf” title=”help secure soft targets and crowded places from terrorist attacks”]. CISA offers planning and response guidance that addresses active shooters, vehicle ramming, chemical attacks and fire as a weapon in its [link url=”https://www.cisa.gov/securing-soft-targets-and-crowded-places” title=”Securing Soft Targets and Crowded Places”]. Guidance included in the planning and response resource covers topics such as evacuation planning for stadiums, drone attack challenges, identifying, preventing, and responding to bombs and explosives, and suspicious activity identification, reporting, and insider threats. https://twitter.com/VASafetyPro/status/1125461229982683137
  6. A [link url=”https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us7000cc4d/executive?utm_medium=email&utm_source=ENS&utm_campaign=realtime” title=”magnitude 3.6 earthquake struck about 4 miles south-southwest of Bliss Corner, Massachusetts”], near Dartmouth, on Sunday morning. The earthquake struck at the depth of about 6.2 miles, and shaking from the temblor was felt widely across New England. According to reports, [link url=”https://www.wcvb.com/article/earthquake-strikes-massachusetts-november-8-2020/34610179#” title=”minor damage from the quake displaced about 10 families, which totaled about 22 people, due to structural damage to their homes in New Bedford”].   https://twitter.com/RyanNBCBoston/status/1325810804042715138
  7. Temperatures dropped, rain fell, and snow covered mountains across Central and Southern California after a winter storm moved through the region over the weekend. [link url=”https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-11-08/winter-storm-brings-rain-snow-and-cold-temperatures-to-l-a-area” title=”The rain and snowfall are anticipated to help dampen the wildfires in the Sierra, and possibly relieve the San Joaquin Valley of its air quality issues emanating from all the fires”]. The slow and steady rainfall allowed the water to seep into the ground, and as the cooler temperatures are expected to last for several days, it will also assist in wildfire prevention. https://twitter.com/oigetit_pr/status/1325574644598910976
  8. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), [link url=”https://www.ic3.gov” title=”cyberattacks have nearly quadrupled since the pandemic began”]. The FBI is attributing the increased attacks to the number of potential failure points which have expanded significantly due to the rapid increase of remote workers. Officials are urging cybersecurity leaders to improve the security of remote users, devices, and data through the [link url=”https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/USDHSFACIR/2020/11/06/file_attachments/1593265/The%20InfoGram%20-%20November%205,%202020.pdf” title=”expeditious implementation of critical projects including, among others, zero trust, software-defined security, and access management”]. https://twitter.com/NTSC_CISO/status/1325815946649460741

The United States flies F-22 fighters over South Korea in a show of support for the nation amid recent tensions, the CEO of Apple is resisting a federal order to help authorities gain access to San Bernardino shooter’s phone, and a particularly narrow section of I-70 in Colorado’s Glenwood Canyon has been closed due to a major rockslide.

Guest post from In Homeland Security

The VACCINE Center and American Military University are proud to announce the launch of a bimonthly webinar series beginning July 31, 2015 from 11 am to 12:30 pm EST. The first webinar, “Decision-Making and Counter Terrorism: How the Visual Analytics of Data Can Help Save Lives” will be highlighted by co-presenters Dr. Dennis Thom, VACCINE Center PI, of The Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems, University of Stuttgart and Dr. James Hess, Faculty Director & Associate Professor of Intelligence & Terrorism Studies at AMU.

By Jennifer Sedillo
Faculty Member, Public Health at American Public University

This week we’re continuing on with awareness in the realm of infectious diseases and your health. Malaria is a preventable infectious disease, but the repertoire of drugs used to treat malaria infections is diminishing as the parasites become resistant to current treatments. A vaccine to prevent malaria is considered the holy grail of malaria eradication. So, why is there no vaccine available?