A maternity ward. Photo: Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Racial disparities in health are getting better, but there's still a deep and persistent inequity between the health of white and black mothers. "Put simply, for black women far more than for white women, giving birth can amount to a death sentence," Harvard's public-health school notes in its magazine.

By the numbers: Maternal mortality is on the rise overall in the U.S., according to Harvard. On average, the mother dies in 18 out of every 100,000 births. For white women, it's about 12 deaths per 100,000 births. But for black women, the mortality rate is over 3 times higher — 40 deaths per 100,000 births.

Researchers have consistently tied those disparities to social factors, like poverty and racial discrimination. If your body experiences enough severe stress and fight-or-flight situations over a long enough time period, your health suffers.

  • "It's like facing tigers coming from several directions every day," University of Michigan professor Arline Geronimus told the Harvard magazine.

Go deeper ... The average sticker price for U.S. childbirth: $32,093

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Biden’s union push could force showdown with Elon Musk

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Joe Biden wants to go big on climate change and big on unions. Elon Musk leads on the former but lags on the latter.

Why it matters: Musk isn’t uniquely averse to unions, but Tesla is considered a leader on the type of new technologies needed to tackle climate change. Musk’s leadership ethos could be in the crosshairs if Biden becomes president and follows through on his campaign vows.

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Photos: Graeme Jennings/Pool/Getty Images; Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

China's Foreign Ministry announced Monday that it's imposing sanctions on Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) along with nine other Americans, including Freedom House president Michael Abramowitz and Human Rights Watch Executive director Kenneth Roth, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: It's a direct response to similar actions by the U.S. that included the Trump administration placing sanctions on officials Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last Friday over Beijing's encroachment of the Asian financial hub's s autonomy.

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Protesters and riot police clash in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday during a demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko's claim of a landslide victory. Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

Riot police clashed with protesters in Belarus overnight after a government exit poll predicted Sunday President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had overwhelmingly defeated a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

Why it matters: It's a precarious moment for the former Soviet republic, where decades of repression and a complete disregard for the coronavirus pandemic threaten to topple "Europe's last dictator." Rights groups said at least one protester was killed and dozens more wounded in a "police crackdown," per AP.