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The Graphic Truth: US COVID cases and deaths plummet

Almost half the US population has now received at least one COVID vaccination. That strong inoculation rate, coupled with the high number of infected people who have developed some sort of immunity, has caused US coronavirus contagion rates and deaths to plummet in recent weeks. New COVID cases have plummeted 85 percent since a peak in January, while deaths have dropped to a 10-month low. We track new COVID-related cases and deaths in the US over the past 14 months.

The Graphic Truth: COVID's "real" death toll

COVID has officially killed almost 3.5 million people around the world since the beginning of the pandemic. But some public health experts believe that the real number could be more than twice as high, because of challenges to accurately reporting the death toll in many countries around the world. A new study from the University of Washington contends, for example, that actual deaths are nearly 60 percent higher than reported in the US, almost triple as high in India, more than five time as high in Russia... and a staggering ten times higher than the official tally in Japan. Here's a look at how official figures compare to actual estimated deaths in the 20 countries where COVID has claimed the most lives.

Can AMLO live up to Mexico’s critical moment? Jorge Ramos discusses

Mexico finds itself at a critical moment in history: its populist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (also known as AMLO), appears unable to get control of the rampant violence that he promised to curb or of the raging coronavirus that he himself was just infected by. And during this moment of crisis, Mexico's most important trading partner, the United States, has just elected a new president. Outside observers were surprised by leftist AMLO's ability to get along so well with former President Trump. Will President Biden prove a tougher challenge? Ian Bremmer welcomes acclaimed journalist and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos to GZERO World.

Jorge Ramos: Mexico’s president AMLO a “bad example” on masks

As Mexico's COVID death toll surpasses India's, making it the third highest in the world, Univision anchor and acclaimed journalist Jorge Ramos joins GZERO World to discuss the reasons why the nation has responded poorly to the pandemic. "It was clearly mismanaged. It didn't work. And now Mexicans are suffering the consequences," Ramos said.

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The battles ahead against COVID-19

"This is the part of the horror film where a happy ending seems in sight, but it is obvious to those paying attention that the monster is not dead and that the worst may be yet to come." That's how New York Times columnist Ezra Klein described this moment in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. We're in a new year, there's a new president, and the record-breaking development of vaccines that work has wounded the monster, but there are deadly battles still ahead. Chief among them: the highly-contagious variants of the COVID-19 virus.

Watch the GZERO World episode: The race to vaccinate

COVID successes in India and Israel

For a while, says surgeon and public health expert Dr. Atul Gawande, India was on the same skyrocketing COVID-19 infection rate pathway as the United States. But then something remarkable happened: masking went way up, and infection rates plummeted. And in Israel, Dr. Gawande estimates that enough of the population has already been vaccinated to meaningfully bring down infection and hospitalization rates. The key to effective pandemic responses around the globe, Dr. Gawande concludes, is effective leadership. Dr. Gawande joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk about some of the success stories from around the world. He'll also weigh in on whether or not China and Russia's less-vetted vaccines are safe to take.

Watch the episode: The race to vaccinate

Podcast: The Race to Vaccinate: Dr. Atul Gawande Provides Perspective

Listen: Can the United States vaccinate enough of its population to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths before new and more contagious COVID-19 variants take hold? And will these vaccines even be effective against more adaptable mutations of the virus? Surgeon and public health expert Dr. Atul Gawande, most recently of the Biden/Harris COVID-19 Transition Task Force, joins the podcast to discuss the latest in the global effort to vaccinate our way out of this pandemic. He also explains why people should get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine if offered the chance, despite its lower overall efficacy rate compared to the mRNA-based vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Should you get the J&J vaccine? Why Dr. Atul Gawande says yes

On Thursday, February 4, Johnson & Johnson requested emergency FDA approval for its single-shot vaccine. In the days since the company first released efficacy and safety data, many of the headlines focused on its lower efficacy rate compared to that of mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. But that's the wrong takeaway, says surgeon, public health expert and former member of Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, Dr. Atul Gawande. "This is a highly effective vaccine. It stops people from getting sick. If some people have some sniffles and mild effects from the coronavirus, that's okay, this is going to stop the deadly disease. And that is the ultimate goal of the vaccine."

Gawande's conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World, which starts airing on public television nationwide beginning this Friday, February 5th. Check local listings.

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