The United States surpasses 1 million deaths from COVID-19; the Biden administration is looking into providing grants for emergency contraception if the Supreme Court cuts abortion rights; global food insecurity hit an all-time high in 2021.
Deaths from COVID-19 in the United States hit 1 million, just 27 months after the country confirmed its first COVID-19 case, according to NBC News. The number is equivalent to the population of San Jose, California, and represents the highest recorded global toll from COVID-19. Although deaths have slowed recently, they still total about 360 per day. Over 80% of the deaths between April and December 2021 occurred among Americans who were unvaccinated. As of February 2022, the risk of mortality from COVID-19 was determined to be 20 times higher for unvaccinated people than people who were vaccinated and boosted.
The Biden administration is looking into providing grants that will help fund the expansion of access for emergency contraception should the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade and abortion rights protections along with it, according to a report from Reuters. The news comes after the court confirmed the authenticity of a leaked document showing its intension to vote to overturn the 1973 decision. President Joe Biden said that his administration would put forth efforts once the court’s ruling is finalized but has not signaled that it will push for the Senate to change its rule to allow a simple majority to pass a law guaranteeing abortion access. The Senate is currently split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris representing the tie-breaking vote.
According to a report from The Associated Press, the amount of people who are facing some degree of food insecurity reached an all-time high in 2021, and this is expected to continue rising due to the impact of the war in Ukraine on global food production. The United Nations said that nearly 193 million people in 53 countries experienced acute food insecurity in 2021 due to conflict, extreme weather events, and the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The total number of people lacking adequate daily quantities of food increased by 40 million last year, continuing a trend of increases that has been detected for several years. The countries that experienced the most food insecurity were Afghanistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.