Thursday's world stories

May 21, 2020 - World

Americans divided over how U.S. COVID-19 response stacks up

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans tend to think South Korea and Germany responded effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic, while China and Italy failed to do so, according to new polling from Pew Research.

May 21, 2020 - World

Trump to pull U.S. out of Open Skies treaty, leaves New START in limbo

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

The U.S. is moving to withdraw from Open Skies, a 1992 treaty that allows NATO countries and Russia to surveil one another from the air to prevent the risk of military conflict.

Why it matters: This is the third major international defense agreement President Trump has abandoned, following the Iran nuclear deal and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty. The fate of another highly consequential treaty, New START, remains in the balance.

May 21, 2020 - World

U.S.-China rivalry chips away at global order

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opened a press conference on Wednesday with a remarkable statement: "The media’s focus on the current pandemic risks missing the bigger picture of the challenge that’s presented by the Chinese Communist Party.”

Why it matters: In the midst of a global crisis with more than 300,000 dead and no end in sight, American foreign policy seems absorbed with China's actions at the start of the outbreak, rather than a global effort to contain and eventually end it.

May 21, 2020 - Health

U.S.-made ventilators arrive in Russia as part of a $5.6 million coronavirus package

Vladimir Putin and President Trump. Photo: Kremlin Press Office

50 ventilators manufactured in the U.S. arrived in Russia on Thursday as part of a $5.6 million relief package to fight the coronavirus, the U.S. embassy in Moscow announced.

Why it matters: Russia is reporting the most coronavirus cases outside of the U.S., although experts doubt the official tally, as the nation's death toll is well below other most-affected countries.

Updated May 21, 2020 - Science

At least 80 dead after Cyclone Amphan lashed India and Bangladesh

A woman stands amidst the debris of her house damaged by cyclone Amphan in Satkhira on May Thursdau. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP via Getty Images

Cyclone Amphan killed at least 80 people as of Thursday after torrential rains and powerful winds hit eastern India and Bangladesh earlier this week, per New York Times.

Details: Kolkata, one of India's biggest cities, is among the worst-hit areas, with more than 14 million people left without power, the BBC reports. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee described the situation as "more worrying than the coronavirus pandemic," per AFP. "Almost everything is destroyed in the coastal villages of the state," she said.

Podcast: An economic cold war with China

Both Congress and the Nasdaq this week made it harder for Chinese companies to list their stocks in the U.S. Dan digs in with Alexandra Stevenson, a Hong Kong-based business reporter with the New York Times.

Go deeper: Luckin Coffee faces delisting after admitting fraud

China plans sweeping national security law for Hong Kong

Protesters outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, November 2019. Photo: Vivek Prakash/AFP via Getty Images

China plans to implement a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong that could dramatically constrain Hong Kong's autonomy and provoke fierce backlash from pro-democracy activists.

Why it matters: Beijing's encroachment on Hong Kong's independent legal system prompted massive protests last year that have resumed on a smaller scale as social-distancing measures lift.

Signs emerge of the EU's climate-friendly coronavirus response

Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Information is coming out about how European nations hope to use economic stimulus packages to bolster deployment of climate-friendly energy sources.

Why it matters: The UN, International Energy Agency, International Monetary Fund and others want governments to use big pandemic response plans to help accelerate the global energy transition.

May 21, 2020 - World

Latin America surpasses U.S. and Europe in new daily coronavirus cases

The Intensive Care Unit treating coronavirus patients in the Gilberto Novaes Hospital in Manaus, Brazil, on Wednesday. Photo: Michael Dantas/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America has overtaken the U.S. and Europe for the largest number of new daily novel coronavirus cases this week, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The outbreak in Latin America, and Brazil in particular, significantly contributed to global infection numbers surpassing 5 million early on Thursday. The surge in cases indicates a shift in the spread of COVID-19 from the original epicenter of China to Europe and the U.S.

May 21, 2020 - World

Confirmed coronavirus deaths in Brazil's largest city spike by over 400%

Men carry the coffin of someone who died from the coronavirus at the Vila Formosa cemetery, in the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil, on May 20. Photo: Nelson Almeida/AFPvia Getty Images

Coronavirus deaths in São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil and the Western Hemisphere, have increased by over 485% since the city's health department began keeping track in April.

The big picture: Prolonged lapses in testing and tracking, documented by the Washington Post in April, have led to severely undercounted death tolls in Brazil. The country is reporting the third-most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, per Johns Hopkins data — only behind Russia and the U.S.