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Your Monday Update: Help for Victims of Domestic Violence, Parents Make Decisions About Daycare, Hurricane May Form in the Gulf

Photo: Kristin Brown
Photo: Kristin Brown

Domestic abuse can escalate in pandemic and continue even if you get away

Yuki Noguchi, NPR

During lockdown, Kiesha Preston has heard from many people facing physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse that the violence against them is escalating without reprieve.

Stress and isolation create combustible tensions. A lack of privacy subjects many victims to closer surveillance by their abuser, making it difficult to call crisis hotlines, for example. And Preston worries that high unemployment will make it harder to afford moving out — though she hopes that this won't stop anyone who is being abused from reaching out. There are resources available to help you, she says.

"Financial resources are a huge factor in being able to get away from your abuser, and right now we are in an economic crisis" in addition to being socially isolated, says Preston, an advocate for survivors of domestic abuse. "This honestly creates a situation where it's easier for abusers to utilize finances as a tool of abuse."

One consequence of COVID-19 is a projected global increase in domestic violence, including intimate partner violence. As many areas of the United States loosen quarantine restrictions, that's creating more opportunities for people to flee their abusers, but technology and a lack of money often make those escapes more complicated.

Preston speaks from experience.

After her husband moved out of their Roanoke, Va., home five years ago, she says technology and money became his primary weapons to continue the abuse. He attacked her on social media, posting up to 15 times a day, and monitored her comings and goings through the home security system.

"He was actually hiding in the bushes and overheard a phone conversation that I was having with a friend, didn't like what I said and came out and it became a physical altercation," she says.

He also drained their accounts, leaving Preston, who was a student at the time, with no money to feed their three children or to fix the broken oil heater. She and her kids had to huddle around space heaters and an open oven when it got cold. Preston eventually faced a lender's foreclosure on the home and struggled to find a new place to rent.

"For a good six months, almost daily, I was applying for housing and getting turned away," she says.

So advocacy groups are now trying to address the economic needs that arise when violence escalates in homes.

Read the full article here.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, use a safe computer and contact help. That can include a local shelter, or call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

Parents balance risks, needs as child care centers reopen

The Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — It’s the day care dilemma central to rebooting American life amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With social distancing unlikely among babies and toddlers, parents of young children across the country are debating the health and safety risks inherent in child care centers, and weighing what few alternatives they have to balancing their family and work.

Many states have issued new health and safety guidelines for licensed providers meant to help minimize infection risks.

Experts say families should consider their specific risk factors and risk tolerance, check their daycare for guidelines and frame their choices.

Amidst a pandemic and a protest, a hurricane possible in the Gulf

Ray Hawthorne, WUFT 

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins Monday, and it’s already off to a busy start.

Two tropical storms developed in May, and Meteorologist Jeff Huffman says the third named storm of the young season may form this week in the Gulf of Mexico.

“This would actually be the remnant moisture and circulation from an Eastern Pacific storm named Amanda. Forecast models suggest it will cross over Central America and enter the Bay of Campeche by Wednesday, potentially spawning a new storm that would slowly drift north," Huffman said.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center placed the odds of tropical development at 70 percent in their most recent outlook, but say it’s far too soon to project where it may track or how strong it could become.

The next name on the list for the Atlantic basin would be Cristobal.

Protesters Shut Down I-4 In Orlando, Police Use Tear Gas

Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Protests continued in Orlando Sunday, with hundreds marching through the streets of the city.

Demonstrations are being held across the US after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

Protesters in Orlando marched from Lake Eola to the Orlando Police Headquarters Sunday afternoon, where they chanted “George Floyd, say his name,” “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and “No justice, no peace,” as police wearing riot gear looked on.

Check here for more.

Curfews, protests continue in Orlando

Danielle Prieur, WMFE

Both Orlando and Orange County mayors announced that they would be enacting a curfew in unincorporated Orange County and the City of Orlando from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily until further notice.

Over the weekend, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said two men in their 20s and 30s were arrested at the protests in downtown Orlando.

Another six people were arrested on the 408, and another eight were arrested in connection with vandalism of stores near The Mall at Millenia.

These protests are part of a larger nationwide movement which appears to be picking up momentum.

Here in Central Florida, protests continue at the Windermere home of former police officer Derek Chauvin, and other protests are planned in Orlando this week.

Check here for more.

Coronavirus, hurricane season collide as planners prepare for dual emergencies

James Bruggers and Amy Green, InsideClimate News and WMFE

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season starts today, and federal scientists expect storms to be more frequent and powerful. Two named storms already formed in the Atlantic this spring before the official start of the season. As Florida and other coastal states plan for hurricanes, they are confronting troubling new public safety calculations because of the novel coronavirus.

There’s now a chance for one disaster to layer upon another. Many lives could be lost: first, from powerful winds, storm surges and flooding, and then through the spread of the coronavirus in cramped public shelters following mass evacuations. Evacuees might pass the virus to friends and relatives who take them in, or get infected themselves in those new surroundings.

“The risks are significant,” said David Abramson, a professor at New York University’s College of Global Public Health, whose research examines the health consequences of hurricanes. “A lot of hurricane events lead to evacuations and displacements” without much time to build in social distancing safeguards, he said.

Check here for more.

Checkpoints keeping out visitors come down in the Florida Keys

The Associated Press

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Checkpoints leading into the Florida Keys are coming down two months after being set up to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

The checkpoints that are coming down early Monday were put in place in March to keep out tourists from entering the chain of islands in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

More than 18,750 cars coming from the mainland were turned away because drivers did not present the proper paperwork that showed they either worked or lived in the Florida Keys.

With four deaths attributed to COVID-19, the Florida Keys has had about 110 coronavirus cases.

Launch gives spectators pride, reprieve from troubled times

The Associated Press TITUSVILLE, Fla. (AP) — For many spectators along Florida’s Space Coast, the launch of two astronauts into orbit was a welcome accomplishment. Saturday's launch also was a reprieve from weeks of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and economic worries.

Many spectators watching  Saturday had been there just days earlier for the first attempt Wednesday, which was scrubbed at the last minute due to the weather. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, NASA had tried to discourage people from coming for the launch of astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station.

European Union leaders urge U.S. to remain in WHO

Jason Slotkin, NPR

Officials with the European Union are urging President Trump to rethink his recently announced plans to pull the United States from the World Health Organization. The president told reporters on Friday of his intentions to immediately cut ties with the international health agency. On Saturday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Josep Borrell, the EU's top diplomat, called on Trump to reconsider his plans, saying "actions that weaken international results" during the coronavirus pandemic "must be avoided." "The WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future," said von der Leyen and Borrell in  a joint statement. "For this, the participation and support of all is required and very much needed." The officials also note that the members of the WHO had agreed earlier this month to review lessons learned from the pandemic response. In April, Trump temporarily  halted U.S. funding for the WHO and accused it of "mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus." He's also claimed that China has too much influence over the agency. Then on May 18, Trump gave the United Nations agency 30 days to make substantial changes or face the U.S. funding cuts becoming permanent. Trump's Friday announcement happened less than two weeks after that ultimatum. The WHO had no comment on Trump's announcement, but health ministers and member states expressed disappointment in the retreat of  the agency's largest single donor. South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize called the decision "unfortunate." "Certainly, when faced with a serious pandemic, you want all nations in the world to be particularly focused ... on one common enemy," Mkhize told reporters. Quoting German media, The Associated Press reports that the country's foreign minister said Trump's plan sends the "wrong signal at the wrong time." "The number of people infected worldwide is increasing and the crisis is spreading," Heiko Maas told the Funke media group. "We can't tear down the dike in the middle of the flood and build a new one." The BBC reports a spokesperson for the United Kingdom reaffirmed that country's commitment to the WHO. "Coronavirus is a global challenge and the World Health Organization has an important role to play in leading the international health response. We have no plans to withdraw our funding," the spokesperson said.

Cleanup, curfew and injuries following unrest in Florida

The Associated Press FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Deputies are recovering from injuries, nightly curfews have been issued and the cleanup of smashed store windows is taking place around Florida following a night of unrest throughout the state’s cities. Saturday's unrest followed protests in response to the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck. Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said an unnamed deputy was either stabbed or slashed in the neck and was taken to a hospital for treatment Saturday evening. In Tampa, two deputies were injured from a firework and a thrown object.

A Moment on the Farm

Latino USA, NPR South Texas is known for commercial agriculture, with its vast fields of sugarcane, citrus, and vegetables. And most of that food goes far beyond the Rio Grande Valley. But one immigrant family from El Salvador is doing something different: Everything they grow stays near home. The COVID-19 pandemic is a moment in which our broader food supply chains have been challenged—dairy farmers dumping unused milk, farmers plowing over produce, meatpacking plants closing, and grocery store shelves running empty. In some communities, that means people are now turning to smaller, local farms for their produce. One of those farms is run by the Hernández family in Edinburg, Texas. Their farm,  Nature's Heartland has a mission to sustain its community with healthy pesticide-free produce, and has been a regular at local farmers' markets for years.

MLS players agree to salary cuts, possible tournament

The Associated Press

The Major League Soccer Players Association agreed to concessions for this season, including across-the-board salary cuts, while also agreeing to play in a proposed tournament in Orlando, Florida.

The proposal, made public by the union Sunday night, will now be sent back to the league for approval by team owners.

The MLS season was suspended on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Teams had played just two games of the season.

Launch provides Trump moment of triumph during difficult week

The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump is celebrating the first launch of American astronauts from U.S. soil in nearly a decade.

The president marveled at the power of the rocket ship and the danger faced by its passengers as they soared into the stratosphere and provided the nation a moment of triumph.

The rocket sailing majestically through the sky was a jarring contrast with violent protests over the death of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody and a rising death toll from the coronavirus outbreak.

Local Tallahassee businesses begin reopening

Tom Flanigan, WFSU Tallahassee area businesses are slowly reopening. This is happening even as a growing number of well-known local merchants are calling it quits for good. After weeks of online and curbside business only, The Other Side in Railroad Square has opened its doors. Store Manager Jason Cusell says it's been a progressive process as restrictions loosened up. "As it was lifted we slowly started reinstating hours. We're still not open the normal hours we would be, but the support from the community has been great," Cusell said. Karen Loewman not only reopened but also moved her Community Thrift Store from Midtown to Capital Circle. She says for her, it was either keep going or go under. Although she understands those who insist things stay locked down, she doesn't see that as a long-term fix. "How many suicides have we had since this started? And how much depression is going on and will come in the future? We've got to find a way to live with this disease," Loewman said. Meanwhile, over the weekend, the quirky Mellow Mushroom eatery on Pensacola Street became the latest Tallahassee business to close forever.

'I'm a mom and wife first': For Sarasota photographer, focus is on family during pandemic

Cathy Carter, WUSF From job loss, to balancing work from home to the isolation of following stay-at-home orders, coronavirus has changed our everyday lives. Today, we meet Sylwia Ok from Sarasota. The professional photographer opened a new studio just four months before the pandemic temporarily closed her business. In her own words, Sylwia shares her story of navigating her business during the stay-at-home order and the joy of being able to spend more time with her young daughter. "The first two weeks of staying home were definitely the most challenging. I'm a mom and a wife first and business owner and professional photographer close second. My daughter Sophie was at preschool full time before the pandemic. On March 18th I had my last session in my studio and with the way things were progressing with coronavirus in Florida, my husband and I decided to keep Sophie home. At that time, all my remaining March and April projects got postponed for a later date. To be honest, the sudden change was scary. We moved to Sarasota only last summer and my commercial studio in Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park has only been open here since November... Military life surely has taught us how to adapt to those changes. My husband has been serving in the US Coast Guard for 27 years. With that, we moved every three, four years and we had to start our lives over so many times. He retired last summer and we were thrilled to finally have our forever home. With his current job he works pretty much normal business hours away from home and it was me who stayed home with our active toddler during the day. Being a mom is definitely one of the hardest jobs on the planet. But I'm very grateful for the time I had with my little girl and we try to get the most out of it. I'd probably be a millionaire if I could put a dollar in a jar every time she called mommy... My business can finally operate with some limitations. I'm starting scheduling outdoor summer and fall sessions--both can be done safely with proper distancing in local parks, on the beach, or even outside my client’s houses. I have no doubt that the commercial side of my business will rebound soon, but it's still uncertain what the future holds for one of my favorite parts of family portraits. Newborn portraits have always been my favorite, but they can only be done in a very short time frame, which is usually the first one or two months when a baby is born. You simply can't take this time back and recreate them later in life. To help new parents, I created a complimentary PDF and parents can download that guide from my website... All my consultations with clients and regular networking events have been cancelled for obvious reasons and we all switched to online Zoom meetings. I often attend those with my little assistant Sophie sitting on my lap, something I couldn't do before the pandemic. Quite often she's the one that gets all the attention from the group and literally steals the show.”

Long read: The ghosts of colonialism are haunting the world's response to the pandemic

Abraar Karan and Mishal Khan, NPR

Most believe that the colonial era– the time from the 1400s to the late-1900s when rich countries took over poor countries, stripping their people of independence and taking advantage of their natural resources — is over. But the coronavirus pandemic makes it very clear that the legacy of colonialism is alive. Scholars have recognized that the modern-day control of social, economic, political and cultural aspects of former colonies by modern powers is still happening. They call it "neocolonialism." As public health experts who have worked extensively on global health issues, we've been struck by how this neocolonialist attitude has played out in this unprecedented pandemic. The World Health Organization has sent a message to every country in the world during this pandemic: "Test, test, test." But not every country felt the message was meant for them. In mid-March the coronavirus was spreading rapidly in many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom. Yet at a press conference, England's deputy chief medical officer, Dr. Jenny Harries, stated that the WHO guidelines did not apply to the UK's  "extremely well-developed public health system.'" She explained that WHO's recommended approach for all countries were actually meant more for lower income countries. Needless to say, that philosophy did not stick. The government now recommends widespread testing and in fact set a target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day across the U.K. by the end of April. The U.K. and other onetime colonial powers did not turn to their former colonies or to the East for advice – although they should have. African and Asian countries have had far more experience dealing with infectious diseases like Ebola and SARS than the United States and the countries of Europe. But neocolonialism relies on the continued belief that former colonial rulers are superior in terms of expertise and societal values. Not only are such attitudes racist and xenophobic, they're illogical. And it represents a kind of overconfidence that has literally been deadly. There was public knowledge of a viral respiratory epidemic threat from China in January, yet serious nationwide public health responses in the U.S. and U.K. did not start until March 2020. Even once it became clear that wealthy countries were at risk, there was a widespread reluctance to learn from China and from other Asian countries. The  American reaction focused instead on blaming China – consider President Trump's use of the term "Chinese virus." China was further  criticized for using draconian measures when millions of people in Wuhan were put under lockdown – even though the countries of the West that denigrated such tactics might today be better off if they had acted similarly. Indeed, recent data  suggests that the majority of cases in the United States came from New York City. Restricting travel out of the city, as was done in Wuhan, might have meant far fewer cases in the U.S. And while Trump put an early ban on much travel from China, effective Feb. 1, he delayed any travel bans from European countries even as the virus toll mounted until mid-March. Today, we know that  most of the cases in the eastern U.S. were of European origin. Read the full article here.

From Niqab to N95

Rough Translation, NPR In 2010, France passed a law prohibiting people from wearing clothing in public that covers your face. And although many blasted the law as Islamophobic, the "burqa ban" remains in place today, punishable with a fine and citizenship course. But as the country begins to emerge from lockdown, wearing masks is mandatory in public places such as schools and on public transport. Shop owners can require customers to wear them as well. And while the government does not see any conflict between the laws - one is to promote gender equality and the other is to maintain public health - the situation has left many, including some French Muslims, smirking at the apparent irony. In this episode of Rough Translation, we look at how the mask is changing the way people relate to each other in a country where until recently, it was your civic duty to show your face to all.

Like what you just read? Check out our other  coronavirus coverage.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.