Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until 2019, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate (recent runoff elections will make Georgia the seventh state), and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.
When will we return to a pre-pandemic normal by achieving COVID-19 herd immunity? Well, that depends where you live. While a host of wealthy nations that stockpiled vaccines and have already started rolling them out are planning for a post-COVID recovery in the near-term, the bulk of middle-income states will have to wait many months until the vaccine is rolled out to large swaths of the population. Most developing nations, meanwhile, as well as countries that will only get drugs through the global COVAX facility, may still be living with the coronavirus for three more years, according to predictions by The Economist Intelligence Unit. We compare when the pandemic is likely to end in different groups of countries, based on their access to vaccines and rollout plans.
Earlier this week, much of the world went to sleep — or woke up — to news of an armed insurrection in the US capital. Around the globe, people saw surreal images of rioters, egged on by the president himself, ransacking the seat of government in a country that has long styled itself as both an example and an advocate of democracy. What did the newspapers around the world have to say about it? Here are a few front pages that we particularly liked.
The United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, but the trajectories of their COVID-19 outbreaks in recent months have been quite different. The US is experiencing a full-blown third wave of the pandemic, which health experts fear will get even worse after millions of Americans ignored CDC warnings to not visit their families for Thanksgiving. In Europe, strict restrictions have brought down the number of daily cases, but mortality rates are still rising and approaching those of the US. The current situation is a sharp contrast to the disparity seen over the summer, when the US suffered a second wave of cases in the Midwest and South while European countries seemed to have kept the coronavirus (mostly) in check due to stricter adherence to social distancing and mask-wearing. Here's a look at the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases, and three-day rolling averages of new deaths and new deaths per capita in the EU vs the US since March.
While recent news from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca on the efficacy of their respective COVID vaccines is encouraging, it has also given rise to bidding wars between wealthy countries trying to secure the largest supply of the new drugs for their citizens. Meanwhile, many governments in emerging market economies, where healthcare infrastructure is generally weaker, are worried they'll be kicked to the back of the line in the global distribution process. Indeed, history bears out their concerns: while a lifesaving HIV treatment hit shelves in the West in the mid-1990s, for example, it took years to become widely available in Africa, which saw some of the worst HIV outbreaks in the world. But here's the catch: even if wealthy countries manage to obtain large supplies of vaccines to immunize their populations, the interconnected nature of the global economy means that no one will really be out of the woods until we all are. Here's a snapshot of how many COVID vaccines select countries have already purchased.
Although the United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, until recently the trajectories of their COVID-19 outbreaks have been vastly different, with the EU seeming to have kept the pandemic mostly in check during the summer months. The US has now surpassed twelve million total infections as most states, particularly in the Midwest, are fighting massive outbreaks. But now Europe is doing even worse: states across the continent are seeing an uptick in average infection and mortality rates that dwarf those of the US, leading several European countries to implement fresh national lockdowns. Here's a look at the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases, and three-day rolling averages of new deaths and new deaths per capita in the EU vs the US since March.
On Sunday, 15 Asia-Pacific countries inked the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, considered the biggest regional trade agreement ever signed. The RCEP includes China, which was left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, another mega regional trade deal pushed by the Obama administration in the US... until President Trump walked out of it on his first day in office in 2017. While the RCEP is a much wider agreement, covering more countries and around 2.2 billion consumers, it lacks the depth of the TPP, which carried strong protections for labor, the environment, and intellectual property. With the US, it would also have accounted for a larger share of global GDP than today's RCEP. Here we compare the RCEP to the current TPP, and to what the TPP would look like if the US had stayed in it.
Does a disputed US election feel familiar? Twenty years ago, Americans waited more than a month to know if Al Gore or George W. Bush had won the presidential election. Bush finally prevailed after a Supreme Court ruling stopped a recount in Florida that many believe would have given the state (and overall victory) to Gore, who won the popular vote. But the 2000 election dispute was over just one state, where the margin of votes was minuscule, and Gore graciously conceded when it was all over. In 2020, the situation is very different: President Trump — who has lost according to the major news organizations that traditionally call the race — is suing over mostly baseless claims of electoral fraud in multiple states with much larger margins in favor of President-elect Joe Biden, whom Trump trails in the popular vote by more than 5 million ballots. We take a look back and compare the numbers in both of the disputed US elections.