Data: The World Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

New data shows the mortality rate for children under 5 is continuing to fall, as improvements in nutrition and health reduce the earliest and most tragic deaths.

Why it matters: The continued decline in the youngest deaths is one of humanity's greatest victories, but the COVID-19 pandemic puts some of that progress in danger.

By the numbers: Data released this month by the World Bank shows the mortality rate for children under 5 has fallen by 59% over the past 29 years.

  • That still means 5.2 million children under 5 died in 2019 — or more than 14,000 each day.
  • But as recently as 1960, nearly 1 out of every 5 children globally died before their 5th birthday. In 1800, it was nearly 1 out of every 2.

Of note: Child mortality is increasingly concentrated in a few geographic areas, especially sub-Saharan Africa, where 1 in 13 children die before turning 5.

The catch: Development experts worry COVID-19 could slow or even reverse progress on child mortality, less because of the virus itself than because the pandemic may disrupt distribution of needed medicine and food.

The bottom line: It's entirely reasonable to look at the state of the world today and feel depressed. But there are millions of children alive today who will live to see their 5th birthday and many more, because they were born in 2020 and not 30 years ago. That matters, too.

Go deeper: Over 513,000 U.S. teens, children have been diagnosed with COVID-19

Go deeper

The pandemic is getting worse again

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Due to a database error, Missouri had a 3 day gap in reporting from Oct. 11-13; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Every available piece of data proves it: The coronavirus pandemic is getting worse again, all across America.

The big picture: As the death toll ticks past 212,000, at a moment when containing the virus ought to be easier and more urgent than ever, we are instead giving it a bigger foothold to grow from.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If the impasse between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House on a new stimulus deal is supposed to be a crisis, you wouldn't know it from the stock market, where prices continue to rise.

  • That's been in no small part because U.S. economic data has held up remarkably well in recent months thanks to the $2 trillion CARES Act and Americans' unusual ability to save during the crisis.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

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