Migrants pull an overcrowded dinghy with Syrian and Afghan refugees arriving from the Turkish coasts to the Greek island of Lesbos. Photo: Santi Palacios / AP

The European Union announced it has set aside 500 million euros ($587 million) to resettle at least 50,000 more refugees over the next two years, per AP. The EU said it wants refugees in Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia to be the priority to discourage migrant boats from making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing.

Why it matters: European countries are ultimately responsible for deciding their own resettlement numbers, and are not bound by the EU's pledge.

  • Key quote, from EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos: "Europe has to show that it is ready to share responsibility with third countries, notably in Africa. People who are in genuine need of protection should not risk their lives or depend on smugglers."
  • Take note: Brussels said it wants to ensure that unauthorized migrants are returned to their home countries more quickly. The AP notes that currently only around "one third of those deemed ineligible" are actually sent back. "We have to be clear and brutally honest, people who have no right to stay in Europe must be returned," Avramopoulos said.
  • Context: The EU has already resettled roughly 23,000 people from refugee camps in countries outside the EU under this mechanism. Turkey and Jordan, which were overwhelmed with people fleeing the war in Syria, had previously been the focus. Avramopoulos said resettlement from those areas will continue but there is now an "increased focus" on the countries from northern Africa.

Go deeper

Fauci: Coronavirus task force to examine aerosolized spread

A sneeze. Photo: Maartje van Caspel/Getty Images

The White House coronavirus task force will examine more closely just how much SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted via aerosols, and not just from droplets, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday at an online forum sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Why it matters: The longer the coronavirus can remain infectious in the air, the more likely it can infect people, particularly indoors — leading to the possible need to alter air filtration and circulation within buildings.

The next wave to hit Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.

Coronavirus hotspots begin to improve

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections are falling or holding steady in most of the country, including the hard-hit hotspots of Arizona, California and Florida.

The big picture: A decline in new infections is always good news, but don't be fooled: the U.S. still has a very long way to go to recover from this summer's surge.