Aug 3, 2017

The human toll of Venezuela's descent into political chaos

AP / Ariana Cubillos

Venezuela's new constituent assembly, the body elected in a disputed vote on July 31, is scheduled to convene today for the first time, President Nicolas Maduro's attempt to impose strongman rule after more than three years of growing unrest. The trouble stems from low oil prices and massive economic mismanagement that have ripped away the country's financial safety net.

The human toll compares with the Great Depression, says Ricardo Hausmann, a former minister of planning in Venezuela and now an economics professor at Harvard, who tallied it up in a piece at Project Syndicate:

  • GDP per capita this year is 40% below that of 2013, worse than the Great Depression's 28% fall.
  • The minimum wage, measured in dollars at the black market rate, fell 88% from 2012 to 2016, to just $36 a month from $295.
  • The poverty rate soared to 82% in 2016, from 48% in 2014.
  • 74% of Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in weight.
  • There was a 100-fold increase in the death of newborns in hospitals in 2016.

Go deeper: For the backstory on the country's descent, read this account from the AP's Hannah Dreier, who has just left after three years as Caracas correspondent. Prior to the vote, the Trump administration issued sanctions against 13 Venezuelan officials, and now must decide when and how to proceed with them, Platts reports.

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates: Governments tighten restrictions to curb cases surge

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans to declare a state of emergency and a 108 trillion yen ($990 billion) stimulus package Tuesday, as several governments announced new restrictions amid a jump in cases.

The big picture: The virus is confirmed to have killed almost 75,000 people and infected 1.3 million globally as of early Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 136,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 16,000) as half the planet's population is now on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 30 mins ago - Health

Boris Johnson in intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being treated in the intensive care unit of St. Thomas' Hospital in London due to increasingly severe coronavirus symptoms.

What they're saying: Cabinet minister Michael Gove told LBC radio on Tuesday morning Johnson was not on a ventilator. "The prime minister has received some oxygen support and he is kept under, of course, close supervision," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - World

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,348,184— Total deaths: 74,834 — Total recoveries: 284,802Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 368,376 — Total deaths: 10,989 — Total recoveries: 19,828Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro warned White House colleagues in late January the coronavirus could take over half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion, memos obtained by Axios show.
  4. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  5. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  6. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  7. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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