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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.

The Graphic Truth: Two COVID crises — Brazil vs India

India and Brazil are currently the world's top two COVID hotspots. But while India's crisis is — at least according to official statistics — a relatively recent one, Brazil's COVID disaster has been an ongoing train wreck. Where India seemed to have kept the pandemic under control until some bad missteps about two months ago, COVID has been wreaking havoc in Brazil almost constantly for over a year now. And President Jair Bolsonaro's macho-posturing and COVID denialism has clearly not helped. We take a look at average daily new cases and deaths in both countries since the pandemic began.

The Graphic Truth: Salad crisis — Lebanon's food prices soar

Lebanon's economic implosion and currency crisis have caused food prices to surge in recent months. Lebanon imports around 80 percent of the food it consumes, and so the sharp depreciation of the lira has made some staples five times more expensive than when the economic crisis first hit in October 2019. This year's Ramadan will be very painful for many Lebanese, as the cost of an Iftar meal — which Muslims break their fast with each day — has increased a whopping 300 percent in just two years. We take a look at how food prices have risen as a result of the plunging value of Lebanon's currency over the last 12 months.

The Graphic Truth: Are top COVID vaccine makers hoarding supply?

More than 930 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have already been administered globally, and another 1 billion more are expected to be manufactured by the end of May. Most of the manufacturing is concentrated in a small group of countries. While some — like China, for instance — are exporting roughly half of the shots they make, others — mainly the US — are keeping most of the supply for domestic use. Meanwhile, export controls have been a particularly thorny issue in the European Union and India, where governments have come under intense pressure to stop sending vaccines to other parts of the world amid sluggish rollouts at home. We take a look at what the world's top manufacturers are doing with the vaccines they are producing.

The Graphic Truth: Press freedom in pandemic times

During a pandemic, the work of reporters around the world is particularly important to ensure transparency about the scope of outbreaks and the measures that governments are taking to contain them. But in many countries, press freedom has been declining since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Press freedom took a bit hit over the past year, as governments across the world doubled down on censoring media that criticized their handling of the pandemic, and locked up reporters for reporting the facts. Reporters Without Borders this week published its annual World Press Freedom Index, which takes a microscope to every country, ranking the ability of its media to report freely and independently. Here's a look at how countries' scores have changed over the past year.

The Graphic Truth: Has climate change hurt or helped farmers?

Over the past half century, climate change has had an immense impact on the farmers who produce the food we eat. A new study by Cornell University shows that global warming has knocked 21 percent off of global agriculture productivity growth since 1965, equivalent to seven years of normal growth if humans had not polluted the planet. But not all countries have been affected in the same say. Farmers in warmer parts of the world have been hit hard as conditions grow more arid, but sub-polar regions in Canada or Siberia are now actually better for agriculture because they are not as cold as they used to be. Here we take a look at how climate has affected farming productivity growth around the world.

The Graphic Truth: Net Zero — What are the top polluters promising?

Fighting climate change is about making the planet get less hot. The more quickly countries slow down their carbon emissions, the faster that'll happen. All the more important for the nations that pollute the most — but not all of them are on board. Although the majority, including China, are setting future targets to go Net Zero, India doesn't want to commit (yet) to when to stop burning fossil fuels to spur economic growth. We take a look at when the world's top polluting economies intend to go carbon-neutral, compared with their share of global emissions, of renewable energy as a source of electricity, and percentage of global coal consumption.

The Graphic Truth: What companies actually pay in taxes

On top of the global debate about enacting a minimum global tax for multinational corporations, there's another growing movement in a host of countries for all firms to pay their fair share in taxes, whether they do business abroad or not. Many US corporations are notorious for getting away with paying little to no federal taxes by taking advantage of multiple loopholes in the tax code — which is true for a lot of them. However, as a whole the average percentage of income US corporations do pay taxes on — their effective tax rate — is in reality not much lower than the legal national rate due to additional taxes levied by some US states and cities — the same as in many other developed economies. We compare the official and the effective corporate tax rates in some nations around the world.

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