Welcome to Wonkbook, Wonkblog’s morning policy news primer by Puneet Kollipara (@pkollipara). To subscribe by e-mail, click here. Send comments, criticism or ideas to Wonkbook at Washpost dot com. To read more by the Wonkblog team, click here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: 4,204. That's the estimated Ebola death toll worldwide, per the CDC.

Wonkbook's Top 4 Stories: (1) Lessons from the second U.S. Ebola case; (2) Washington's worries about the global economy; (3) oil producers' pain is drivers' gain; and (4) renewed tensions in St. Louis.

1. Top story: Lessons from the second U.S. Ebola case

CDC chief: After Dallas nurse’s Ebola infection, U.S. must ‘rethink’ protocols. "As a 26-year-old Dallas nurse lay infected in the same hospital where she treated a dying Ebola patient last week, government officials on Monday said the first transmission of the disease in the United States had revealed systemic failures in preparation that must 'substantially' change in coming days....Frieden did not detail precisely how the extensive, government-issued safety protocols in place at many facilities might need to change or in what ways hospitals need to ramp up training for front-line doctors or nurses. But his message was clear: With Ebola, there is no margin for error. The Dallas case made that certain." Amy Ellis Nutt, Mark Berman and Brady Dennis in The Washington Post.

Medical records suggest 70 staffers were involved in treating Ebola patient. "The size of the medical team reflects the hospital's intense effort to save Duncan's life, but it also suggests that many other people could have been exposed to the virus during Duncan's time in an isolation unit....The medical records given to the AP offer clues, both to what happened and who was involved, but the hospital said the CDC does not have them. A CDC spokeswoman said the agency reviewed the medical records with Duncan's care team and concluded that the documents were not helpful in identifying those who interacted directly with the patient." Martha Mendoza in the Associated Press.

What happened at the hospital in Dallas? "While biocontamination units look similar to a standard hospital room, they usually have specialized air circulation systems to remove disease particles from the facility. And, perhaps more importantly, they're staffed by doctors who have spent years training, preparing and thinking about how to stop dangerous infections from spreading....This isn't true of Texas Presbyterian. Like most American hospitals, it doesn't have a biocontamination unit. It hasn't spent years running through the drills of how to treat an Ebola patient. It began receiving additional training from the CDC, director Tom Frieden told reporters Sunday, only this week." Sarah Kliff in Vox.

Should we transfer Ebola patients to the specialty hospitals? "Emory solved its problems, but the challenges it faced could overwhelm a hospital with fewer resources. At Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, mistakes in treating a patient from Liberia...have raised questions about the general level of preparedness in hospitals around the country. Medical experts have begun to suggest that it might be better to transfer patients to designated centers with special expertise in treating Ebola. Federal health officials are also beginning to consider that idea, though they emphasize that every hospital has to be able to diagnose the disease." Denise Grady in The New York Times.

Charts: How does an American nurse contract Ebola? With directions like these. Sarah Kliff in Vox.

The virus hasn't mutated into a super-pathogen. "Has the virus evolved into some kind of super-pathogen? Might it mutate into something even more terrifying in the months to come? Evolutionary biologists who study viruses generally agree on the answers to those two questions: no, and probably not. The Ebola viruses buffeting West Africa today are not fundamentally different from those in previous outbreaks, they say. And it is highly unlikely that natural selection will give the viruses the ability to spread more easily, particularly by becoming airborne....Evolutionary biologists see no evidence that new mutations in the Ebola virus are responsible for the huge size of the current outbreak." Carl Zimmer in The New York Times.

Who's in charge of ensuring hospitals are ready for Ebola? CDC can't enforce official guidelines. "Even as the CDC has hastened to reassure the public that the virus won’t spread in the U.S., the agency doesn’t monitor hospitals and has no authority to make sure they comply with official guidelines, according to Abbigail Tumpey, a CDC spokeswoman who is leading the education outreach to hospitals....It’s up to each hospital to enforce infection control, and standards vary depending on funding for infection experts and time devoted to training." Robert Langreth, Caroline Chen and Margaret Newkirk in Bloomberg.

Another potential lesson: The perils of cutting biomedical-research, disaster-response funding. "Even as the U.S. is committing more than $1 billion toward a global fund to battle the virus in West Africa, the total for federal Ebola research...fell to $42.5 million in 2013 after it peaked at more than $59 million in 2006. Annual funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public-health preparedness and response programs was $1 billion less in fiscal 2013 than it was in 2002, according to a CDC report....Lawmakers from both parties now are moving to put more money into stopping the spread of Ebola in the U.S., driven by a greater sense of urgency." Roger Runningen and Kathleen Hunter in Bloomberg.

Quotable: "NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here.' Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready." — Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. Sam Stein in The Huffington Post.

The reassuring news in the Texas Ebola cases. “'That the casually exposed are not getting sick, it’s reassuring,' said Dr. Julie Fischer, an associate research professor of health policy at George Washington University. “What we’ve seen so far, it’s not surprising and it’s not shocking.' That’s a good thing. This entire harrowing episode is playing out as health authorities predicted." Todd C. Frankel in The Washington Post.

Ebola deflating hopes for 3 African economies. "Just as their economies had begun to recover from the man-made horror of coups and civil war, the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been knocked back down by a terrifying force of nature: the Ebola virus....The World Bank has dramatically downgraded its expectations for economic growth this year in the three countries hardest hit by the outbreak. Guinea will grow 2.4 percent, down from a previously forecast 4.5 percent, it predicts; Liberia 2.5 percent, down from 5.9 percent; and Sierra Leone 8 percent, down from 11.3 percent." Paul Wiseman and Boubacar Diallo in the Associated Press.

Other health care reads:

New once-a-day pill for hepatitis C wins FDA OK. Matthew Perrone in the Associated Press.

EVANS: Ebola is not a bioweapon. "Just stop it. Ebola isn’t a potential weapon for terrorists. It isn’t, as reported by Forbes and the Daily Mail, a low-tech weapon of bioterror for ISIS. It isn’t the final refuge of a lone wolf on a suicide mission, in the words of Fox News. It isn’t a U.S.-built race-targeting bioweapon, as the leader of the Nation of Islam declared. Ebola is very real, and very scary. But this outbreak isn’t a recipe for a bioweapon. Not unless you want to be the most incompetent bioterrorist in history....Terror leading us to make bad decisions is much more effective against rich, developed nations than Ebola could be. If we want to beat the latter, we have to beat the former." Nicholas G. Evans in Slate.

NYHAN: The unhealthy politics of Ebola. "What’s more dangerous — flying on an airplane or driving to the airport? In general, auto accidents are a far greater threat than plane crashes, but we tend to devote more attention to dramatic or novel risks like threats to aviation safety. The same principle applies to the Ebola virus. Although the outbreak is a substantial threat in West Africa, a region plagued by weak government and failing public health systems, the risk to Americans is currently minimal. By contrast, the seasonal flu kills thousands of people every year but receives relatively little attention. That hasn’t stopped politicians from exploiting those fears." Brendan Nyhan in The New York Times.

MUKHERJEE: How to quarantine against Ebola. "In the wake of the Duncan case, three strategies to contain the entry and spread of Ebola in the United States have been proposed. The first suggests drastic restrictions on travel from Ebola-affected nations. The second involves screening travelers from Ebola-affected areas with a thermometer, which the federal government is beginning to do at selected airports. The third proposes the isolation of all suspected symptomatic patients and monitoring or quarantining everyone who came into contact with them. Yet all these strategies have crucial flaws. In the absence of any established anti-viral treatment, we may need to rethink the concept of quarantine itself." Siddartha Mukherjee in The New York Times.

WACHTER: What the Ebola error in Dallas shows. "Diagnostic errors — such as when a patient seeks attention and is turned away because of a failure to collect or appreciate a crucial piece of information — are the most common type of medical mistake. They contribute to up to 80,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Errors of this type can be fatal, such as when the error involves a missed heart attack, stroke, or serious infection. But in an Ebola outbreak, the consequences can be much more severe because they can affect so many more people....The Dallas hospital uses a state-of-the-art electronic record system. But no matter how good the system, computerization doesn't solve every problem in medicine, and it creates some new ones." Robert Wachter in USA Today.

Top opinion

STIGLITZ: The age of vulnerability. "The report by the International Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (which I chaired) emphasized that GDP is not a good measure of how well an economy is performing. The US Census and UNDP reports remind us of the importance of this insight. Too much has already been sacrificed on the altar of GDP fetishism. Regardless of how fast GDP grows, an economic system that fails to deliver gains for most of its citizens, and in which a rising share of the population faces increasing insecurity, is, in a fundamental sense, a failed economic system. And policies, like austerity, that increase insecurity and lead to lower incomes and standards of living for large proportions of the population are, in a fundamental sense, flawed policies." Joseph E. Stiglitz in Project Syndicate.

BROOKS: The sorting election. "People often compare this era to the progressive era — a time of economic transition with wide inequality and political rot. But that was an era of centralizing economic forces. This is an era of economic pluralism and political segmentation. People in San Francisco and Houston are achieving success while pursuing different economic models. It probably doesn’t make much sense to govern them intrusively from Washington as if they were engaged in the same project." David Brooks in The New York Times.

GROSS: The coal paradox. "Because coal creates more and nastier emissions than other fuel sources, the black rock has landed on the blacklist of regulators and public health officials. The prospect of higher environmental standards and a carbon tax is posing an existential threat to the industry. One solution would be to capture and store all the gross byproducts of burning coal. That promise is now a reality: Earlier this month, a Canadian power plant fired up the first large-scale carbon-capture effort at a coal-fired plant. Three more such projects are in various stages of design and construction in the U.S. The irony? The current business case for carbon sequestration relies largely on using the carbon dioxide generated by burning coal to help increase production of another, somewhat cleaner fossil fuel: oil." Daniel Gross in Slate.

WOLFERS: A falling budget deficit but a lingering attention deficit. "in practice, a complete accounting of the factors that have narrowed the deficit is not possible. Even so, we can see something by juxtaposing two simple facts. It is surely the case that the economy is operating further below its capacity than it has, on average, over the past 40 years. And the budget deficit is also below its average over the same period. It follows then that any cyclically adjusted measure of the budget shows that fiscal policy is substantially tighter than its long-run average....The harder question is not whether fiscal policy is relatively tight — it is — but rather whether tight fiscal policy is appropriate." Justin Wolfers in The New York Times.

SCHER: How the GOP lost the culture war. "We’ve come a long way since 2004, when Republicans went 11-0 on anti-gay marriage state ballot initiatives, and since 1996 when Democrats were defensively insisting they wanted abortion to be 'rare.' Half of all Americans now live in states that allow same-sex marriage, with more on the way. How did the party of 'the real America' get so utterly thumped in the culture war, a war of its own choosing? People will tell you the defeat is due to the 'Rising American Electorate' of African-American, Latino, youth and single women voters....But it’s not a mere matter of demographics shifting under the Republicans’ feet. The GOP sowed the seeds of its culture war demise with three big strategic blunders." Bill Scher in Politico Magazine.

DOUTHAT: Why America is moving slowly on assisted suicide. "Conservatives oppose assisted suicide more fiercely, but it’s a persistent left-of-center discomfort, even among the most secular liberals, that’s really held the idea at bay. Indeed, on this issue you can find many liberal writers who sound like, well, social conservatives....At the same time, though, there are tensions within the liberal mind on this issue, particularly when the discussion moves from the general (why assisted suicide is unwise as public policy) to the particular (why life is still worth living after all hope is lost, and why a given person facing death shouldn’t avail themselves of suicide)." Ross Douthat in The New York Times.

BALTER: How states can be smart about pot. "Voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., where legalization plans are on the November ballot, should be skeptical, for example, of promises about the revenue the government will get from pot taxes. Residents might also ask if there will be enough marijuana to sell in the first place and press for more specifics on how edibles will be regulated. But the cautionary lessons from Colorado and Washington should not discourage other places from taking the legalization plunge. Instead, this experience should help others design a system that works better" Joni Balter in Bloomberg View.

2. Why Washington is worried about the world's economic, financial woes

Obama's next big headache: A global economic slowdown. "The world’s economic woes, though, can easily wash back onto American shores, as the extraordinary turbulence of the past week’s stock market shows....The more feeble the world economy, the less countries import. Sluggish U.S. export growth is already restraining the American economy this year, a trend likely to get worse if demand continues to slump abroad and the strengthening dollar makes U.S. manufactured goods less competitive. Some of the travails abroad have an upside for U.S. policy. Case in point: The increasing wobbliness of Russia’s economy. If you want evidence that the international sanctions over Russia’s Ukraine incursions have hit home, look at the ruble’s recent weakness and rumbling fears of a recession." Neil King Jr. in The Wall Street Journal.

Fed officials say slow world growth could delay rate rise. "Federal Reserve policy makers said a slowdown in the world economy could undermine the U.S. expansion and prompt them to delay raising interest rates....The remarks, echoed by other Fed officials, highlighted mounting concern about the improving U.S. economy’s ability to withstand foreign weakness and a strengthening dollar....The comments came the same week that minutes of the Fed’s September policy meeting showed authorities highlighting worries over the risks posed to their economy by deteriorating expansions abroad and a stronger dollar, which could hurt exports and damp inflation." Christopher Condon, Jeff Kearns and Ian Katz in Bloomberg.

Stronger dollar helps push down import prices in the U.S, — and leaves Fed wary of raising rates. "U.S. import prices fell in September for the third straight month as the cost of petroleum products declined and a strong dollar made it cheaper for Americans to buy goods from the European Union. The Labor Department said on Friday import prices fell 0.5 percent last month....Weak import prices are holding down U.S. inflation, which is keeping the Federal Reserve wary of rushing to raise interest rates." Jason Lange in Reuters.

Lew warns nations against competitive devaluations. "U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew warned global policy makers against devaluing exchange rates for competitive advantage amid mounting concern over the strength of the dollar and slowing world growth....The comment...served as a reminder of the 2013 pact between finance chiefs not to use currencies as a policy tool for fear of triggering a spiral of devaluations and trade wars." Kasia Klimasinska and Simon Kennedy in Bloomberg.

Can we no longer rely on international trade to do the heavy lifting of growth? "International trade helped the global economy tide over rough spots over two decades before the financial crisis, when it grew nearly twice as fast as economic output, but this engine is running out of fuel. That is bad news for officials taking part in discussions at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this week, focused on preventing what International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warns could be a long spell of sub-par performance for the global economy." Krista Hughes in Reuters.

IMF also warns of global risk from increasing use of expansionary policies. "A more immediate concern drew the attention of policy makers at the International Monetary Fund’s semiannual meetings last week: inflated asset prices and increasing levels of debt overseas. Bond markets in the eurozone are booming, debt in China is at historic highs and the United States stock market, even with its sharp fall last week, has been on a tear. As economists and politicians heap pressure on global central banks to continue, and even escalate, their unusually loose monetary policies in order to spur global demand, the fear that these measures could provoke another market convulsion is spreading." Landon Thomas Jr. in The New York Times.

Other economic/financial reads:

U.S. banks ramp up credit card lending but margins may suffer. David Henry in Reuters.

U.S. regulators press banks for more on auto loan exposure to assess risks. Peter Rudegeair in Reuters.

KRUGMAN: Righteousness killed the world economy. "Why does this keep happening? After all, the events that brought on the Great Recession — the housing bust, the banking crisis — took place a long time ago. Why can’t we escape their legacy? The proximate answer lies in a series of policy mistakes: Austerity when economies needed stimulus, paranoia about inflation when the real risk is deflation, and so on. But why do governments keep making these mistakes? In particular, why do they keep making the same mistakes, year after year? The answer, I’d suggest, is an excess of virtue. Righteousness is killing the world economy." Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

3. Oil producers' pain, consumers' gain

How falling oil prices could hurt the shale boom. "The surging U.S. production is one of the reasons behind the worldwide oil price drop. Other factors include a weakening global demand for oil and the increase in Libyan oil drilling over the summer...according to EIA analyst Michael Leahy. Leahy attributed weakening oil demand to lower than expected economic growth in Asia, especially China, and declines and stagnation in European countries. Jamie Webster, senior director at the global energy consulting firm IHS, said he thinks that American oil producers can sustain a price drop to $80 a barrel for six months or so before making substantial cuts." Sean Cockerham in McClatchy Newspapers.

Charts: U.S. oil producers may drill themselves into oblivion. Matthew Philips in Bloomberg Businessweek.

As shale boom continues, Saudis say get used to lower oil prices. "Saudi Arabia is quietly telling the oil market it would be comfortable with much lower oil prices for an extended period, a sharp shift in policy that may be aimed at slowing the expansion of rival producers including those in the U.S. shale patch. Some OPEC members including Venezuela are clamoring for production cuts to push oil prices back up above $100 a barrel. But Saudi officials have given a different message in meetings with investors and analysts: the kingdom, OPEC’s largest producer, will accept oil prices below $90 per barrel, and perhaps down to $80, for as long as a year or two, according to people who have been briefed on the recent conversations." Ron Bousso and Joshua Schneyer in Reuters.

Oil producers' pain is drivers' gain: "Oil prices sank again on Monday, giving consumers more of a break and causing a split among OPEC leaders about what action should be taken, if any, to halt the slide. The price drop has led to a near free fall in gasoline prices in the United States. On Monday, the national average price for regular gasoline was $3.20, 9 cents lower than it was a week ago and 14 cents below the price a year ago, according to the AAA motor club. The price at the pump generally follows oil after a few days, leading energy experts to predict lower prices for the rest of the month at least." Clifford Krauss in The New York Times.

Is $3 gas on the horizon? "U.S. drivers are closer to seeing $3 gasoline over the holiday season than they’ve been in four years as New York-traded futures are selling for $1 a gallon below retail prices, signaling further declines at the pump....The futures, which help dictate retail costs, have dropped about 40 cents in the past two weeks while prices at the pump are down 10 cents. The widening spread indicates that filling stations have yet to match declines in futures, according to Michael Green, an AAA spokesman in Washington. The group has projected that retail prices will fall below $3.10 a gallon and may reach $3 by the time drivers hit the road for the end-of-year holidays." Lynn Doan in Bloomberg.

EIA: Ending oil export ban wouldn't affect gas prices. "Whether to end the 39-year-old virtual ban on crude oil exports is gaining steam in Washington, although politicians are sensitive to pump prices. Even some Republicans who have supported free-trade measures are treading carefully. But word from U.S. Energy Information Administration chief Adam Sieminski that allowing exports likely wouldn't influence pump prices and would buoy the economy could lend some new weight to similar claims from the oil industry and recent economic literature on the issue." Zack Colman in the Washington Examiner.

Chart: Net energy imports as share of consumption at lowest level in 29 years.Energy Information Administration.

Falling oil prices, not sanctions, tripping up Russia's economy. "Among the many threats facing Russia’s economy, cheap oil could be the biggest of all. Crude prices have fallen more than 23 percent since June, depressing the ruble and knocking a potentially gaping hole in the national budget, which draws 45 percent of revenues from oil taxes....Oil prices, not Western sanctions, are what’s driving the currency’s sharp decline, analysts say....Because of Russia’s outsize dependence on oil and gas, which account for more than two-thirds of its exports, lower energy prices can easily tip its $2 trillion economy into recession." Carol Matlack in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Other environmental/energy reads:

Fracking drives growth in sand mining, raises health-risk questions. Sean Cockerham in McClatchy Newspapers.

Climate change poses immediate security risks, Pentagon says. Dan Lamothe in The Washington Post.

How to save and sell a climate deal. Zack Colman in the Washington Examiner.

EPA readies major ozone-rule change. Timothy Cama and Tim Devaney in The Hill.

4. More protests in St. Louis

Protests show the many civil rights and criminal justice battles awaiting Eric Holder’s successor. "Holder often spoke loudly on these issues, saying what President Obama decided he could not, but his successor will have to wrestle with a complex array of issues....States have recently passed an array of new voting laws...that raise civil-rights red flags as well. In confronting these new regulations, the DOJ now must respond without the power of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that was dismantled last year by the Supreme Court. Seismic changes are also underway in how the DOJ approaches sentencing guidelines and the war on drugs, which have long driven the unmatched rise of incarceration in America, and the parallel surge in costs particularly for minority communities." Emily Badger in The Washington Post.

Obama's no-win attorney general decision. "As President Obama decides who is next attorney general nominee will be, advocacy groups representing women, the Hispanic and African-American communities, and LGBT individuals are all jockeying to boost their favored candidates up the short list. With just over two years left in the Obama era, this nomination has a particular urgency for these groups, as it’s one of the last chances to influence the makeup of the cabinet. It also sets up a no-win scenario for the White House, as regardless of whom Obama picks, the choice is likely to alienate some of the central components of his Democratic coalition." Tim Mak in The Daily Beast.

In Ferguson, coordinated acts of disobedience as protests evolve. "The coordinated acts of civil disobedience called for the indictment of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who in August fatally shot Michael Brown, 18, black and unarmed....In a little more than two months, the raw and anguished response of a community that exploded onto the national stage with spontaneous and mostly peaceful protests — looters also joined the fray — appears to be in the middle of a transformation. That’s the hope, at least, of newly minted activists from this small suburb and some longtime social-justice warriors who see in Ferguson the possibilities of a sustained movement against police use of excessive force against African Americans." Wesley Lowery and Arelis Hernandez in The Washington Post.

Long read: The Justice Department's soft side: How one federal agency hopes to change Ferguson. David Hunn and Chuck Raasch in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Police rush to buy body cameras. But with those cameras come privacy issues. "The rush to outfit officers with cameras is to avoid controversies, such as the one surrounding Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, by documenting whether police acted in self-defense or overreacted. Police have not yet come to grips with privacy questions that arise when cameras go into homes or record sensitive conversations. Police agencies are implementing policies on the fly over when cameras must be turned on and off, how to store the videos and how to comply with public records laws." Alan Gomez in USA Today.

Deadly force, in black and white. "Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts — 21 times greater, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings....ProPublica's risk analysis on young males killed by police certainly seems to support what has been an article of faith in the African American community for decades: Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population." Ryan Gabrielson, Ryann Grochowski Jones and Eric Sagara in ProPublica.

Other legal reads:

Cash seizures fuel police spending. Robert O'Harrow Jr. and Steven Rich in The Washington Post.

Wonkblog roundup

How family planning programs save taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Jason Millman.

Jean Tirole won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics for actually showing us how the real world works. Matt O'Brien.

A surprising new argument against using kids’ test scores to grade their teachers. Max Ehrenfreund.

The inevitable rise of Ebola conspiracy theories. Jason Millman.

Where America’s college grads are moving. Jeff Guo.

Major supermarket chains changed how they label meat, surprising customers and USDA. Roberto A. Ferdman.

Where it’s legal to smoke weed, where it’s not — and where it soon may be. Denise Lu.

St. Louis protests show the many civil rights and criminal justice battles awaiting Eric Holder’s successor. Emily Badger.

The cognitive origins of Michelle Obama’s “Bruce Braley” gaffe. Bob McMurray.

A Southerner explains why we shouldn’t bash the South — despite all the data. Carol Guthrie.

Et Cetera

For abortion foes, a national strategy built at the state level. Alana Semuels and Maria L. La Ganga in the Los Angeles Times.

Maneuvering persists after courts block new voter conditions. Erik Eckholm in The New York Times.

Would a leader from outside fix the Secret Service? Kevin Johnson in USA Today.

Nearly 145,000 people have requested Google for the right to be forgotten. Brendan Sasso in National Journal.

Migrant children: Out of sight, still in mind. David Rogers in Politico.

It's 2014. All children are supposed to be proficient. What happened? Anya Kamanetz in NPR.

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail us.

Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams and Ryan McCarthy.