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Across the world this week, resilience has been tested.

In the United States, COVID-19 cases continue to be on the rise, most recently prompting the CDC to alter its messaging, and certain states to enforce stricter lockdowns. In Central America, Hurricane Iota has left a trail of destruction, further weakening already vulnerable countries along its path.

At the same time, however, we’ve also seen positive developments around COVID-19 vaccines, prompting questions about how and when communities can receive them safely and efficiently. Therefore, our list of curated resilience news this week, speaks to all the above, urging us to contemplate deeper about what resilience means to us as individuals, and as a society.

This Week’s Happenings:

  1. In News@Northeastern: “GRI is our secret weapon… They’re doing a service to our country,” says Jim McPherson, the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force Leader for Region 1 of FEMA.

In the United Sates, when communities are struck by a natural or man-made disaster, FEMA – the Federal Emergency Management Agency, steps in and builds resilience. But COVID-19 is a disaster like no other – a public health and economic crisis rolled into one. Therefore, to support communities severely affected by COVID-19, FEMA turned to key partners like GRI, whose relationship with FEMA Region 1 predated the pandemic. In News@Northeastern, GRI Founding Director Stephen Flynn speaks about GRI’s extensive research, identifying over 75 ‘resilience indicators’ to assess the degree to which communities in New England are resilient, and ready for recovery.

  1. In News@Northeastern, GRI Founding Director Stephen Flynn says building local capacity is key to effective and sustainable vaccine distribution

A COVID-19 vaccine is almost here, but who gets them first and how is up for discussion. GRI Founding Director Stephen Flynn is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on critical infrastructure and supply chain security and resilience. In this article, he discusses resources that can be leveraged should a COVID-19 vaccine become available. As an example, Dr. Flynn believes the armed forces could help transport a vaccine to regions of the country, and the National Guard could be mobilized to bring it to cities and towns—but the military lacks the capability to distribute it within communities.

  1. From #GRIWhitepaperWednesdays, learn about ‘Housing Insecurity in New England,’ authored by GRI Faculty Affiliate Ted Landsmark.

Every Wednesday, GRI shares expert whitepapers exploring diverse resilience subjects produced by GRI Faculty Affiliates and resilience champions. This week read the one of our 10 Special Investigation Reports or whitepapers supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This whitepaper addresses New England’s affordable housing and shortage crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and offers solutions for recovery.

  1. On WGBH, GRI Faculty Affiliate Daniel Medwed discusses the ethical challenges lawyers filing voter fraud lawsuits may face

Law and order that is unbiased and fair strengthens a democracy, and enforces resiliency. With a country divided over the election outcome, GRI Faculty Affiliate Daniel Medwed says misconduct charges could be possibly filed against Donald Trump’s lawyers alleging they violated ethics rules. And at the severe end, they’re facing a suspension of their license to practice law or even potentially disbarments

  1. Can new CDC messaging change the way we wear masks?

The rate at which a community recovers from the current pandemic is determined on the resilience strategies employed that speak to individual needs. Recognizing that American culture is more individual focused, the CDC introduced new guidelines this week that focus on the personal benefits of wearing a mask. GRI Faculty Affiliate Daniel Aldrich spoke to Salon about this change, and if it would truly alter our behavior towards wearing masks.

  1. According to the World Economic Forum, Coastline Communities need immediate resilience strategies to protect them from the effects of climate change and urbanization

Hurricane Iota is the strongest Atlantic hurricane of the year, and only the second November hurricane to reach category five – the last was in 1932[1]. As it continues to batter down Central America, the World Economic Forum raises an alarm for over 3 billion people who live along coastlines across the world. Their ability to recover and adapt to climate change and other human-caused threats is determined on their resilience capacity.


Bonus: Read our resilience experts’ When Rising Seas Hit Home: Hard Choices Ahead for Hundreds of US Coastal Communities


To stay up-to-date on the latest news and events across GRI and its affiliated faculty, visit

[1] From the BBC, accessed on November 19, 2020,on%20the%20Saffir%2DSimpson%20scale.