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Ricardo Arduengo / AP

Puerto Ricans will cast ballots on Sunday to vote on whether the island should become the 51st state of the U.S. The decision comes during a time of economic turmoil in Puerto Rico, whose governor requested bankruptcy protection last month.

Why it matters: Supporters of statehood argue that the new status would allow Puerto Rico to access federal funding reserved for states and manage its recession. Opposers say the U.S. is contributing to the economic decline through "colonial rule." Puerto Rico currently owes $73 billion to U.S. creditors.

The options: Voters will choose between three options: statehood, independence and continued territorial status. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló strongly supports statehood, but opposers — most of whom back territorial status — are calling for a boycott of the vote.

What's next:

If the vote passes in Puerto Rico, it's up to Congress to ultimately approve the bid.

Go deeper

Tracking the pandemic's unequal impact

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult/Axios; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pandemic was bound to hit the most economically vulnerable among us the hardest. New polling data from Morning Consult, out this morning, shows the degree to which those difficulties were more concentrated among people of color.

Catch up quick: The Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index has tracked the economic experience of adults in three wage groups since May 2020. We began publishing the findings in May of this year, and six months in, we’re slicing the data a little differently — and looking at inequality between ethnicities.

2 hours ago - Health

WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking in Geneva in October. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Monday in a new risk assessment that it believes the COVID-19 Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk to the globe because it may be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.

Why it matters: Though the WHO acknowledged there are still many uncertainties associated with the variant, the agency said it believes the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron around the world is "high."

Battle for the soul of a new web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.