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A group of Asian American organizations documenting the surge of racist incidents related to the COVID-19 pandemic received 1,497 reports of anti-Asian harassment and discrimination over the past month, the organizations said in a report released Friday.
In mid-March, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, the group Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University launched the project STOP AAPI HATE. They created a form for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to report incidents of racism related to the coronavirus.
In the first four weeks, they collected 1,497 incidents from respondents in 45 states and Washington, D.C. People said they were called racial slurs, spat on, denied service and physically assaulted. About 58% of the reported incidents took place in California and New York, which both have large Asian American populations.
There have been mounting reports of racist attacks against people of Asian descent since late January, when the coronavirus outbreak swelled in China and began to spread globally. Growing fears over COVID-19 led to increased stigma and bigotry against Asian Americans, who have long faced racist stereotypes involving disease, including being described as a “yellow peril” in the 1800s.
The national data reflects similar trends from local and regional leaders. Earlier this week, officials for New York City’s Commission on Human Rights said they’ve seen skyrocketing levels of anti-Asian harassment and discrimination, with 105 reported incidents since February, compared to just five during the same period last year.
― Marina Fang
The coronavirus crisis in the U.S. passed another bleak milestone Friday, when Johns Hopkins counted 50,031 deaths due to the virus.
As of late morning, the country has recorded 879,468 cases of COVID-19, with around one-third of those coming from New York state.
But even with the crisis raging on, many states have begun to announce plans to reopen parts of their economies. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is allowing hair salons, barbers, bowling alleys and other select businesses to open their doors Friday, with restaurants and movie theaters permitted to reopen Monday ― a move that critics have called dangerous to public health.
Experts agree that widespread testing is key to returning to a “new normal.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Thursday that he is “not overly confident” that current testing ability is enough to start resuming ordinary life.
― Sara Boboltz
The Food and Drug Administration has cautioned against using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
The FDA said it was aware “of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine.”
President Donald Trump and Fox News hosts have for weeks touted hydroxychloroquine as a way to beat the disease, but preliminary results of a study found it had little effect on recovering coronavirus patients. Trump reportedly owns a stake in a company that produces the drug.
— Sebastian Murdock
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has extended the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15, local news outlets reported.
However, restrictions on outdoor activities such as golfing and boating will be loosened. Certain businesses that can implement social distancing rules relatively easily — including landscapers, plant nurseries and bike repair shops — can also resume operations.
Whitmer’s last lockdown order triggered a small wave of protests in and around Lansing. Over the last two weeks, people have gathered in person ― without observing social distancing ― and in their cars, creating a gridlock that appeared to slow down some medical services.
Michigan currently has the seventh-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Nearly 3,000 people have died of the illness in the state, largely in the Detroit area.
— Sara Boboltz
Reckitt Benckiser (RB), the company that manufactures Lysol and Dettol brands, issued a statement Friday morning warning that their products shouldn’t be ingested into the body through any route. It didn’t mention Trump by name.
“Due to recent speculation and social media activity, RB has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus,” the company said.
“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body through injection, ingestion or any other route.”
— Chris York
Brazil on Thursday confirmed 407 new deaths from coronavirus, the country’s highest day-to-day increase so far. HuffPost Brazil reports (in Portuguese) total deaths in Brazil have now reached 3,313, with total confirmed cases totaling 49,492.
Sao Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas said Thursday that “the worst is still to come” to the city, while health care systems in the cities of Manaus, Recife and Fortaleza are close to collapse.
Brazil’s death toll is now 11th highest in the world, however, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who favors an unscientific approach to controlling coronavirus, has said he hopes social isolation measures in the country will end in the next few days.