Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.
As countries impose lengthy lockdowns to combat the spread of the coronavirus, reported cases of domestic abuse have spiked around the world. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called for governments to prioritize women’s safety as many face mounting risks in and outside of their homes.
The secretary-general said in some countries “the number of women calling support services has doubled” while “healthcare providers and police are overwhelmed and understaffed.”
Domestic violence rates have surged in France and South Africa, according to Voice of America. In South Africa, authorities said there were nearly 90,000 reports of violence against women in the first week of a lockdown.
Since the start of the pandemic, the U.N. reports that Lebanon and Malaysia have seen the number of calls to help lines double, compared with the same month last year. In China, the number of calls has tripled, according to the U.N.
In Australia, where the government has promised some $91 million to address the problem as part of its COVID-19 response plan. Google reports a 75% increase in online searches for help with domestic violence.
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Wisconsin Republicans in a 5-4 vote against extending the absentee ballot deadline to next week. The state is the first to hold a major election with in-person voting despite stay-at-home orders for the coronavirus. Tens of thousands of Wisconsonites may have their votes thrown out, even though they will not even receive ballots until after Election Day due to a surge in demand because of the coronavirus outbreak. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned in her dissent that the court’s decision “will result in massive disenfranchisement.”
The election includes the Democratic presidential primary in addition to races for an important seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and other state and local judgeships.
In Wisconsin, the pandemic is hitting hardest in Milwaukee’s black neighborhoods, which are home to a critical Democratic voting bloc. Of the 83 coronavirus deaths in the state, 33 have been black residents of Milwaukee, 40 percent of the total in a state that is 7 percent black.
Milwaukee has the biggest minority population in the state, where the number of polling stations was reduced from 180 to only five. Voters tried to exercise proper social distancing as they waited, in some cases, for more than two hours.
For the first time ever, the U.S. has labeled a white supremacist group a terrorist organization. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday the Russian Imperial Movement would be designated a “foreign terrorist organization,” and imposed sanctions on its members. The group is said to support neo-Nazi groups in Russia and in parts of Europe and provide paramilitary training to white supremacists.
Milwaukee, Chicago, and Louisiana, are beginning to report that disproportionately high numbers of black residents are testing positive for COVID-19 and dying from the virus. In Michigan, as of Friday morning, black residents made up 14 percent of the population but 35 percent of reported cases and 40 percent of deaths in the state.
The data is limited at this point, as many states, including those with the largest outbreaks, like California, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, have not provided information on the race of their COVID-19 patients.
New York City has not released a breakdown of cases by race, but the city’s Department of Health did publish a map last week showing patient addresses by ZIP code, which revealed that many of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the virus were also those with the lowest median incomes.
Black Americans are more likely to be uninsured than white Americans. They are also disproportionately likely to have jobs that require them to keep going into work in this crisis, risking exposure to the virus. Studies indicate implicit racial bias in America’s health-care system, in everything from treatment to diagnosis and medical outcomes.
Economic, political, and environmental factors have also put black Americans at a higher risk of chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension, which could make them more vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID-19.
Many public officials are urging city, state, and federal governing bodies to collect data on the racial breakdown of coronavirus testing and treatment.
The daily death toll in the U.S. surpassed 1,800, marking a new global high for the number of deaths linked to the virus in one country in a single day.
Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak was first recorded late last year, reopened after nearly 11 weeks of lockdown.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s condition has worsened since being hospitalized with persistent COVID-19 symptoms and he has been moved into intensive care, his Downing Street office said in a statement.
In Paris, all outdoor sports, including running, have been banned from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Officials hope that by pushing people to exercise in the less busy hours they will cut down on social interaction.