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Worshippers at Mahayana Buddhist temple in NYC's Chinatown offer prayers for the victims of the Atlanta spa shooting. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Asian Americans around the country said they’re alarmed by last night’s mass shooting at several Atlanta-area spas, which shows their extreme vulnerability amid anti-Asian violence that has been building for the past year.

The big picture: The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center collected nearly 3,800 self-reported cases of anti-Asian bias between March 19 last year and Feb. 28.

Driving the news: Robert Aaron Long, a 21-year-old white man, was charged with murder today after confessing to killing eight people, including six Asian women, in shootings at three spas near Atlanta.

Asian American women are more than twice as likely to report hate incidents as men, according to Stop AAPI Hate.

  • The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found that anti-Asian hate crimes reported to police in America's largest cities jumped nearly 150% in 2020.
  • Underreporting remains an issue, experts warn.

Between the lines: Center director Brian Levin told Axios the rise in hate crimes against a group jumps based on news events or comments from political leaders.

  • Levin said the center tracked a rise in anti-Asian violence after former President Donald Trump started calling COVID-19 the "China virus."
  • The U.S.'s rivalry with China had already created unease about Chinese Americans and Asian Americans, said sociologist Pawan Dhingra, who specializes in Asian American studies.

What they're saying: “[W]hatever the motivation here I know that Asian Americans are very concerned," President Biden told reporters.

  • "The investigation is ongoing ... But I do want to say to our Asian American community that we stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people," Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters.
  • "We've got to do everything we can in terms of addressing bigotry and hate in our country, and violence... Anybody who takes precious lives in that manner is driven by hate," U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said.

Don't forget: The U.S. has long stereotyped Asian women as objects of white male fantasies in popular culture. Dhingra said because of that history, race can be considered a factor in attacks against Asian sex workers.

  • "If you think about sex work as a moral problem that must be eradicated —because Asian American women do kind of fit a profile of historically being in this role — it's hard to separate race from this even if the motivation wasn't anti-Asian," Dhingra said.

The bottom line: "We are going to see a huge jump in hate crimes against Asian Americans this year," Levin said. "The question is: how big of a record are we going to set?"

Go deeper

Tracking the pandemic's unequal impact

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult/Axios; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pandemic was bound to hit the most economically vulnerable among us the hardest. New polling data from Morning Consult, out this morning, shows the degree to which those difficulties were more concentrated among people of color.

Catch up quick: The Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index has tracked the economic experience of adults in three wage groups since May 2020. We began publishing the findings in May of this year, and six months in, we’re slicing the data a little differently — and looking at inequality between ethnicities.

49 mins ago - Health

WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking in Geneva in October. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Monday in a new risk assessment that it believes the COVID-19 Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk to the globe because it may be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.

Why it matters: Though the WHO acknowledged there are still many uncertainties associated with the variant, the agency said it believes the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron around the world is "high."

Battle for the soul of a new web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.