15 million people died of COVID-19 between 2020 and 2021, a total almost three times higher than previously reported, the World Health Organization reported. Almost 70% of the excess deaths were concentrated in 10 countries, including the United States. (CNN

The next battle over abortion access will focus on pills. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, the majority of abortions in the U.S. are induced with pills, rather than done surgically. (Associated Press)

New York City’s health commissioner said mask mandates and vaccine checks may return if cases continue to rise. New York City elevated its Covid alert level from low to medium earlier this week as infections surpassed a rate of 200 per 100,000 people. (CNBC)

Omicron is as severe as previous COVID variants, a large study revealed. “We found that the risks of hospitalization and mortality were nearly identical between periods,” the study’s authors wrote. (Reuters)

Access to new cancer drugs are at risk in a Medicaid proposal in Oregon. Advocates said that, if approved, the proposal could limit access to promising treatments for patients with deadly conditions. (Bloomberg)