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Adapted from World Health Organization; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Almost 75% of the world's deaths last year were from non-communicable diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer, according to the World Health Organization.

Why it matters: Worldwide life expectancy is now up to an average of 73 years — six years longer than it was in 2000. But chronic, and in some cases preventable, disease is also taking a bigger toll than it was 20 years ago.

By the numbers: Seven of the the globe's 10 leading causes of death in 2019 were from noncommunicable diseases — up from four in 2000.

  • Heart disease, which has been the world's leading cause of death for the last 20 years, is killing more people than ever before, representing 16% of the world's total deaths last year.
  • Deaths from diabetes increased by 70% globally since 2000, with an 80% rise in deaths among men.
  • Lower respiratory infections are still the world’s most deadly communicable disease, but the number of deaths has gone down by almost half a million lives since 2000.

Yes, but: Many communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and lower respiratory infections, remain leading causes of death in low- and lower-middle income countries.

What to watch: COVID-19 will likely make 2020's top 10, WHO officials said, as the global death toll reached the 1.5 million mark on Dec. 3.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 28, 2021 - Health

New York AG: State severely undercounted COVID nursing home deaths

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Data from New York's public health department undercounted COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday by state Attorney General Letitia James.

The big picture: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration had not been including nursing home patients who died after being transferred to the hospital in its tally of over 8,500 nursing home deaths. Data provided to the attorney general's office from 62 nursing homes "shows a significantly higher number of resident COVID-19 deaths can be identified than is reflected" in the official count.

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.