We’re seeing in achingly vivid detail the consequences of relaxing social distancing, stopping the use of masks and opening up the economy too soon.  This report from NBC News explains how the spike in coronavirus cases in states in the South and West can be traced to Memorial Day loosening of lockdowns.  What’s more, the uptick in cases could lead to hospitals running out of beds for patients over the next two weeks. 

Meanwhile, the economic impact of the pandemic continues to disproportionately effect women, minority communities and low-wage workers.  The New York Times reported that the programs Congress authorized to provide direct assistance to the newly unemployed has prevented the rise in poverty that many predicted—but that aid is about to run out.  And the CARES Act prevents payments to any household where even a single member lacks legal status—keeping an estimated 15.4 million people from receiving aid. 

Of course, coronavirus is a global pandemic, and I’ve appreciated the global perspective I get from monitoring news from overseas.  This article from the Guardian reports on “the coronavirus backlash,” and how the pandemic is impacting women’s rights.  And an international group called “Every Woman Every Child” hosted a high-level roundtable of women leaders to discuss using a gender lens during the pandemic.  As Helen Clark, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand wrote, “COVID-19 is not the great leveller, but rather the great amplifier of inequality. That gives us a clear duty to protect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, and to address the root causes of inequality. We must act now—while the storm is raging—or be ashamed by the number of lives swept away on our watch.” 

With male voices dominating the pandemic narrative, female scientists are being passed over and ignored.  That’s the thesis of this column on “Coronavirus Coverage and the Silencing of Female Expertise.”  A commentary by 35 women scientists from North America and Europe is quoted:  “We all share the same experience:  The scientific response to Covid-19 has been characterized by an extraordinary level of sexism and racism.” 

I also want to call your attention to an important online event taking place tomorrow, June 25 at 11:30am ET/2:30pm PT  —a virtual town hall on the SYMS|Legal Momentum Helpline for Women.  This vital resource provides free information, assistance and referrals to women and girls facing discrimination and harassment at work, in school and at home.  Please tune in to learn more about the prevalence of sexual harassment and discrimination, especially for women of color; the current inaccessibility of legal assistance; and the value of the Helpline as a critical resource.   This event will be livestreamed on the Legal Momentum Youtube and Facebook pages.   

Finally, this video some NOW activists shared with me tugged at my heartstrings—nine-year-old Kaitlyn Saunders paying tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement with her skating routine.  “I want to replace the negative messages that people have in their minds with positive ones,” Kaitlyn told CNN. “I feel free and powerful when I’m on the ice. Like I can fly and no one can stop me. I wish everyone could feel like that.”