Jul 3, 2019

Charlottesville ends Thomas Jefferson's birthday to highlight emancipation

Self-avowed white supremacists encircle counterprotestors at Thomas Jefferson's statue at the University of Virginia on August 11, 2017. Photo: Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Charlottesville, Virginia will hold an annual day "recognizing the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans" instead of celebrating Thomas Jefferson's birthday, according to a decision made this week by the city council, the AP reports.

Between the lines: Jefferson's statue on the University of Virginia campus became a symbol of racial discrimination for protestors during the fatal 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

Flashback: Demonstrators on the first day of the Charlottesville rallies converged around a statue of Thomas Jefferson — who founded the University of Virginia — and fought with counter-protestors organized around the base of the statue. Some attendees "made monkey noises at the black counterprotesters" and chanted "white lives matter," the Washington Post reports.

  • A month after the rally, protestors covered Jefferson's statue in black and displayed signs reading "Black Lives Matter" and "TJ is a racist and rapist," according to the BBC.
  • Cities around the country have been confronted with demands to take down Confederate monuments and symbols in the aftermath of Charlottesville. Jefferson was not alive during the Civil War — therefore not a Confederate — but he was a slaveowner.

Go deeper: Confederate statues removed since the last "Unite the Right" rally

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,513,358 — Total deaths: 88,415 — Total recoveries: 329,329Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 430,376 — Total deaths: 14,739 — Total recoveries: 23,707Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
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U.S. coronavirus updates: New York tops previous day's record death toll

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in the state in 24 hours. The state has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Why it matters: Public health officials have warned this would be a particularly deadly week for America, even as New York began to see declining trends of hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 57 mins ago - Health

The pandemic and pollution

New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.

Why it matters: Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Health