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Graphic: CBS News

A string of recent attacks on elderly Asian Americans has led to an uproar in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Why it matters: Violence and discrimination against Asian Americans appears to have risen dramatically since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving families nervous and afraid even in many of America’s most diverse cities.

Driving the news: Just within the past two weeks, a 61-year-old Filipino man was slashed across the face in New York City; an 84-year-old Thai immigrant died after he was slammed into the ground in San Francisco; and a 91-year-old man was shoved to the ground in Oakland, California's Chinatown.

The coronavirus appears to have triggered a spike in anti-AAPI violence, and experts say former President Trump’s rhetoric — referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus” — only made matters worse.

  • Violence against Asian Americans increased "following the identification of the coronavirus in China," LAPD Deputy Chief Kris Pitcher told LAist.

By the numbers: Anti-AAPI hate incidents numbered around 200 in 2019, per FBI data. National data aren’t available yet for 2020, but there are clear signs that those numbers rose.

  • New York City, home to America’s largest AAPI population, reported just one incident of anti-AAPI violence in all of 2019, which jumped to 20 incidents in just the first half of 2020, Queens Chronicle reports.
  • Los Angeles reported 14 such incidents in the first half of last year, up from seven in the entire year before.

Stop AAPI Hate, a group formed shortly after the start of the pandemic, collected over 2,800 self-reported incidents of racism targeting Asian Americans across the U.S. between March and December of 2020.

  • 7.3% of the incidents involved people older than 60.
Data: Stop AAPI Hate; Chart: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: Assaults and homicides against people 60 and older have surged in recent years, and elderly Asian Americans are particularly vulnerable.

What we’re watching: Within days of taking office, President Biden signed an executive order directing an examination of anti-Asian discrimination.

  • When asked about the recent assaults at a White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would "support additional action on the local level or the federal level," but neither the White House nor the Justice Department offered specifics.

The bottom line: These "acts of cowardice ... show where we stand as a society," said Joon Bang, president and CEO of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging.

Go deeper: Taking coronavirus fears too far

Go deeper

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

4 hours ago - World

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.

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