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Coronavirus Politics Daily: Guatemalans unwelcome at home, UK minorities hit hardest, Turkey's PPE-diplomacy

Coronavirus Politics Daily: Guatemalans unwelcome at home, UK minorities hit hardest, Turkey's PPE-diplomacy

Ethnic minorities hit hardest in the UK: We recently wrote about how long-standing structural inequalities in health and healthcare in the United States have put African American communities at higher risk of falling seriously ill from COVID-19. Now data out of the UK shows a similar trend: ethnic minorities in the UK are dying at disproportionately high numbers from the disease. Research conducted up to April 19 found that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people (referred to as "BAME" in the UK) account for 19 percent of all hospital deaths despite making up just 15 percent of the overall population — and are overrepresented in the total COVID-19 death toll by 27 percent. While the analysis doesn't unpack precisely why this dynamic is playing out, some public health experts say that structural health inequalities, as well as social exclusion of minorities in the UK, have resulted in increased burden of comorbidities like diabetes and heart disease that put BAME individuals at higher risk of falling seriously ill from COVID-19. This comes as the situation in the UK is spiraling, with over 27,000 coronavirus deaths, the second highest toll in Europe behind Italy.


Maya villages reject US returnees: Guatemala's Maya villages, home to indigenous communities that account for more than 40 percent of the population, are rebuffing migrants returning from the US for fear they are bringing the coronavirus with them. In some of these villages, where vigilante justice is common, groups have attacked returning migrants and threatened to burn their families' homes – or even kill their loved ones. Societal distrust peaked after Guatemala's president confirmed that over 100 Guatemalans deported from the US since late March (many returning to poor Maya villages with limited capacity to manage a deadly outbreak of disease) had tested positive for COVID-19. Worsening poverty and scarce employment opportunities have forced thousands of Guatemalans to migrate to the US in recent years. But the volatile situation in Guatemala's Maya enclaves reflects the challenge for poor countries with large emigrant populations who are now returning – either by choice or force – from highly infected countries.

Turkey's mask-and-gown diplomacy: As some of the world's largest economies compete to win hearts and minds with shipments of medical aid abroad, one country that is keen to punch above its weight is Turkey. The government has recently sent mask and gown shipments produced by the country's vast textiles industry to at least 55 different countries, including much of Europe, the UK, US, and China. Why is Turkey going to this extent? There's a domestic angle: President Erdogan – who has suffered political and economic setbacks over the past year – wants to show, as a point of nationalistic pride, that Turkey's response to the pandemic has been better than Europe's or the United States'. Recent polling bumps suggest it's working, though there are questions about whether the mere 3,000 COVID deaths reported in the country tell the whole story. But there's a foreign policy angle too: Ankara's ties with the EU have become strained over the question of who should house Syrian refugees, while Turkey is in danger of US sanctions over its purchase of Russian missile systems. Erdogan may be hoping that his mask-and-gown diplomacy will curry some goodwill that he can use in Brussels and Washington.

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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They call it Einstein. It's the multibillion-dollar digital defense system the US has used to catch outside hackers and attackers since 2003. But it was no match for what's looking like one of the biggest cyber breaches in US history. Ian Bremmer breaks it down.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Cyber attack: an act of espionage or war?

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.

More than 32 million COVID shots have now been administered globally, raising hopes that the light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight.

The US has vaccinated 3 percent of its total population, while the UK is nearing a solid 5 percent inoculation rate. In Israel, which has been hailed as a vaccine success story, almost 24 percent of people have already received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

But while many countries are able to glimpse the outlines of a post-COVID world, there is a huge population of people who are being left out entirely. Refugees, as well as displaced, undocumented, and stateless people around the world remain ineligible for inoculations and vulnerable to the coronavirus.

We take a look at three case studies where powerless populations are being left in the lurch.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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