A homeless young man, who is thought to be suffering from malnutrition, is helped to the clinic in a quarantined area outside Dakar, Senegal on April 10. Photo: John Wessels/AFP via Getty Images

135 million people globally were affected by acute malnutrition in 2019, the United Nations' food agency said in a report released Monday — the most since the agency was formed four years ago.

Driving the news: The planet is “on the brink of a hunger pandemic" as it grapples with the coronavirus outbreak, David Beasley, chief of the UN's World Food Program told the UN Security Council Tuesday, AP reports.

  • Beasley said that he warned the council about a potential food insecurity crisis before COVID-19 emerged, due to conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, Africa's locust swarms, natural disasters and economic crises, AP writes.
  • Some of the countries that faced the most food insecurity in 2019 include: Nigeria, Venezuela, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Kenya, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN's Global Food Network against Food Crises noted in its report.

What he's saying:

“The truth is, we do not have time on our side, so let’s act wisely — and let’s act fast. I do believe that with our expertise and partnerships, we can bring together the teams and the programs necessary to make certain the COVID-19 pandemic does not become a humanitarian and food crisis catastrophe."
— David Beasley said Tueday, per AP

The bottom line: The UN report predates the coronavirus crisis, but those struggling with food insecurity often have higher rates of underlying health conditions that weaken immune systems and can "increase the risk of people developing severe COVID-19 symptoms," the agency notes.

Go deeper... UN: Millions of children at risk of poverty and malnutrition due to coronavirus

Go deeper

Updated 15 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 976,000 worldwide on Thursday morning.

By the numbers: Globally, more than 31.8 million million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Johns Hopkins data shows.

Jul 30, 2020 - Health

The deep decline in vaccine sales

GSK's Twinrix vaccine. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Global stay-at-home orders stemming from the coronavirus pandemic — especially those in the U.S. — have led to steep sales declines in routine vaccinations.

The big picture: Although more people are getting their vaccines now, "there remains some way to go to get back to pre-COVID levels for adult vaccinations," GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley said on an investor call Wednesday.

Jul 29, 2020 - Health

Florida reports record 216 COVID-19 deaths

Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Florida on Wednesday reported 216 coronavirus-related deaths over a 24-hour stretch — a new record for the state.

Why it matters: Florida also reported a record number of fatalities on Tuesday, per Reuters. The state's death toll is over 6,300, with more than 451,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the Florida Department of Health. Florida has the second-most coronavirus cases in the U.S.

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