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

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David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme. Photo: Souleymane Ag Anara/AFP via Getty Images

Next year is "going to be catastrophic" in terms of worldwide humanitarian crises, World Food Program executive director David Beasley warned on Friday, per Reuters.

Driving the news: The stark outlook comes as many countries contend with not only the coronavirus pandemic, but also possible famine, economic instability, conflict and other humanitarian crises. A record 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection next year, a nearly 40% increase from 2020, the UN projected earlier this week

  • On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged nations to take greater action on climate change to end the "war on nature," saying "the state of the planet is broken."

What he's saying: “2021 is literally going to be catastrophic based on what we’re seeing at this stage of the game,” Beasley told a special meeting covering COVID-19, per Reuters.

  • The WFP chief also said that famine is "knocking on the door" of dozens of countries.
  • 2021 is likely to be “the worst humanitarian crisis year since the beginning of the United Nations," Beasley added.
  • "We’re not going to be able to fund everything ... so we have to prioritize, as I say, the icebergs in front of the Titanic.”

World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also told the UN General Assembly Friday that people "simply cannot accept a world in which the poor and marginalized are trampled by the rich and powerful in the stampede for vaccine.

  • “This is a global crisis and the solutions must be shared equitably as global public goods," he said, urging countries to invest in a global vaccine-sharing program.
  • "Sharing the fruits of science is not charity, it’s in the best interests of every nation."

Go deeper

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Biden to get booster shot on camera — Pfizer vaccine safe, effective in children, company says — The booster vaccine discussion is far from over.
  2. Health: Study: Pandemic cut U.S. life expectancy by more than 9 million years — U.S. death toll surpasses 1918 flu fatalities — Chicago has highest case rates in city worker neighborhoods.
  3. Politics: Biden to push vaccine-sharing at UN, but boosters at home — Rep. Tim Ryan tests positive — Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers.
  4. Education: D.C. schools to require teachers, staff to receive vaccine without testing option — More schools using "test-to-stay" strategy to minimize quarantines.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

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