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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Locust nymphs aggregated on the ground at a hatch site near Isiolo town in Isiolo county, eastern Kenya. Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

A second and stronger wave of locusts is expected to threaten parts of Africa in late June and July, just months after the start of the biggest outbreak some countries had seen in roughly 70 years, AP reports.

Why it matters: The crisis has been compounded by restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hindered the movement of personnel and equipment, the U.N. says. The expected surge is estimated to be about 20 times the size of the first.

The plague, at least partially attributed to climate change, will present an "unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods for millions," the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization notes.

  • Six East African countries are anticipated to be most affected or at risk for the pests: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Some 20 million people in those nations are already experiencing acute food insecurity.
  • Already, the swarms have been seen in Djibouti, Eritrea and Congo.
  • Yemen, which was also affected by the first swell of locusts, presently has 15 million people experiencing acute food insecurity.

The big picture: Billions of young desert locusts are emerging from breeding grounds in Somalia to find fresh vegetation that coincidences with seasonal rains, AP writes.

The U.N. raised its appeal for aid from $76 million to $153 million, saying the new outbreak "could lead to further suffering, displacement and potential tensions." So far, contributors have given or pledged $111.1 million.

  • It has treated more than 240,000 hectares across 10 countries with chemical pesticides or biopesticides, with 750 people on the ground trained to control the outbreak.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
26 mins ago - Health

Why waiving vaccine patents might be a bad idea

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It will take more than waiving patent protections for coronavirus vaccines — which the Biden administration now says it supports — to fix the gaping global divide in access.

Why it matters: Waiving drug companies' intellectual property rights risks setting a bad precedent for future investment in new drugs. And that risk may not be worth it without additional steps to meaningfully increase the availability of shots across the world.

Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low

Expand chart
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. are now at their lowest levels in seven months, thanks to the vaccines.

The big picture: The vaccines are turning the tide in America's battle with the coronavirus. Deaths and serious illnesses have dropped significantly, and now cases are falling too — an important piece of protection for the future, if we can keep it up.

3 hours ago - World

India sets new COVID world record as oxygen demand jumps seven-fold

COVID-19 patients being treated with free oxygen at a makeshift clinic in Indirapuram, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photo: Rebecca Conway/Getty Images

India has seen demand for oxygen jump "seven-fold" as the country set a new world record for daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday, per AP.

By the numbers: India's health ministry reported 412,262 new infections, taking the official tally past 21 million, and 3,980 deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The official death toll now stands at 230,168. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher.

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