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A doctor checks the chest X-ray of a patient in Hyderabad, India. Photo: Noah Seelam/AFP via Getty Images

The number of deaths from tuberculosis rose last year for the first time in more than a decade, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Why it matters: The data underscores the COVID-19 pandemic's toll on tackling other, preventable diseases worldwide.

Driving the news: The WHO said the uptick in deaths from tuberculosis is largely driven by fewer people getting tested and treated for the disease due to the health care system's focus on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • "This report confirms our fears that the disruption of essential health services due to the pandemic could start to unravel years of progress against tuberculosis,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

By the numbers: Approximately 1.5 million people died globally from tuberculosis in 2020, a slight increase from the total number of deaths in 2019, when 1.4 million people died, AP reports.

  • The WHO also said fewer people were newly diagnosed with TB in 2020, with 5.8 million diagnoses in 2020 compared with 7.1 million in 2019.
  • An estimated 4 million people suffer from TB but have not yet been diagnosed, the global agency said.

What they're saying: "This is alarming news that must serve as a global wake-up call to the urgent need for investments and innovation to close the gaps in diagnosis, treatment and care for the millions of people affected," Tedros said.

Go deeper: The pandemic's disruption of key health procedures could prove deadly

Go deeper

Fintech's record year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Massive venture rounds into fintech companies have ballooned this year, pushing up total dollars invested — in just the first three quarters of 2021 — to nearly double the amount in all of 2020, per new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: The maturing of fintech startups means a growing number of companies are able to raise huge later-stage funding rounds as investors look to lock-in their bets.

3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan discussed Saudi-Israel normalization with MBS

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg and Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised normalization with Israel during his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three U.S. and Arab sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia would be the biggest regional player to sign onto the "Abraham Accords" peace agreement with Israel, and such a major breakthrough would likely convince other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.

Tech's leaky world

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech companies are learning what everyone in Washington already knows: Leaks of confidential info are inevitable, and "plumbing" operations to close them rarely work.

Why it matters: Most tech firms talk up the power of transparency but prefer to keep details of their operations secret from competitors and the public. Researchers, regulators and the media are increasingly relying on information provided by dissident employees and whistleblowers to see inside companies' workings.