There is a drive under way to change the priorities of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to what has until now been unthinkable: a possible nuclear strike is to be raised in a briefing to be given by Dan Sosin, CDC deputy director and chief medical officer in the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, on the work the federal, state and local governments in the US are doing for such an eventuality. The CDC has a public responsibility to deal with all looming health security risks, and the alarming exchanges between North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump have accelerated the centre’s focus on the nuclear and radiological domains. "While a nuclear detonation is unlikely … it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps," the CDC notice read. The briefing will presumably reveal what the "critical protection steps" would be. The assumption has always been that a limited nucle...

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