News in 10: August 30

A weekly roundup of top local, state and national stories, broken down into a 10-minute read.

Local

1. The rate of Black people dying from opioid doses more than doubled in Hampton Roads during the pandemic.

  • Between 2019 and 2020, opioid overdose cases among Black individuals increased by 140 percent, jumping from 11.8 to 27.9 per population of 100,000, the Daily Press reports.
  • 2020 marked the first year on record that Black people in Virginia died from overdoses at a higher rate than any other ethnic group.
  • Experts believe that the significant spike in overdoses can be attributed to the fact that the Black population has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic.
  • Black Americans experienced notably higher rates of Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and mortality relative to their percentage of the population, according to the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
  • Black workers also faced record unemployment during the pandemic, with more than 1 in 6 Black workers losing their jobs between February and April of 2020, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

2. Gubernatorial candidates Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe both made stops in Williamsburg last week.

  • Youngkin (R) met with about 100 police chiefs, sheriffs and deputies from throughout the state at a private event held at the Williamsburg Lodge on Tuesday, the Daily Press reports.
  • Members of the press were not allowed to attend the event, but Youngkin used the opportunity to emphasize that a top priority of his is to keep communities safer by increasing police funding for training, equipment and hiring.
  • While Youngkin was in town, McAuliffe (D) met with College of William & Mary officials for a discussion on Covid-19 mitigation strategies, vaccination efforts and his K-12 and higher education agendas.
  • McAuliffe emphasized that he will prioritize increasing teacher pay and investing in infrastructure to upgrade older public schools if elected.

3. A national bike and kayak tour honoring the sacrifices of Revolutionary War heroes concluded in Yorktown on Sunday.

  • The two-week tour, organized by the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association (W3R), followed the land and water routes of the American and French Armies in 1781, WYDaily reports.
  • The journey was designed to honor “the Founding Generation’s contribution to the United States…while promoting a healthy lifestyle,” a statement by W3R said.
  • The trip started in Newport, Rhode Island and spanned 700 miles. Participants biked or kayaked through over 100 Revolutionary War sites, encampments, and state and national parks.

Statewide

1. The Covid-19 death toll among children in Virginia has risen to 11.

  • The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced Wednesday that a child under age 10 died of Covid-19 in Northern Virginia, bringing the COVID-19 death toll among children in the state to 11.
  • The VDH decided to reinstate its Covid-19 “Outbreaks by Selected Exposure Settings Dashboard” on August 25 to allow Virginians to monitor outbreak information occurring in K-12 schools, colleges and medical facilities.

2. School test scores in Virginia have dropped amidst the pandemic, the Virginia Department of Education revealed.

  • The state’s Standard of Learning (SOL) testing scores dropped substantially compared to 2019, WRIC reports.
  • During the 2020-2021 school year, the SOL pass rates in Virginia were 69 percent in reading, 54 percent in math and 59 percent in science. In 2019, the SOL pass rates were 78 percent in reading, 82 percent in math and 81 percent in science.
  • The data will be used by the state’s Department of Education to help schools develop a plan for getting students back on track as in-person instruction resumes for the 2021-2022 school year.

National

1. Hurricane Ida pummeled Louisiana as an “extremely dangerous” category 4 storm on Sunday.

  • The storm – which made landfall on the same day Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana 16 years ago – brought destructive storm surge, flash flooding, extreme winds and heavy rains.
  • The AP reports that more than 1 million customers were out of power in Louisiana as of early Monday morning, and New Orleans is completely in the dark. At least one major carrier warned the outages might last for weeks.
  • New Orleans was unable to issue a mandatory evacuation for its 390,000 residents due to the rapid intensification of the fast-moving storm, in spite of NOAA’s warnings that the storm would be extremely dangerous.
  • The region affected by Ida is already struggling to manage a resurgence of COVID-19 infections driven by the highly infectious delta variant.
  • Operation Blessing, a nonprofit humanitarian organization based in Hampton Roads, sent a team to the area Sunday morning with a mobile kitchen and construction trailer in tow, according to WAVY news. The Virginia Task Force 2 (VA-TF2) also deployed 35 members to assist with FEMA relief efforts.

2. Five rockets were fired at Kabul airport amidst the U.S’s ongoing evacuation, but the U.S intercepted them.

  • The rockets were fired early Monday morning. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack or if anyone was injured, according to the AP.
  • The U.S’s missile defense system intercepted the rockets, Reuters reports. President Biden has been briefed on the attack.
  • On Sunday, August 29, the U.S launched a drone strike, killing a suicide car bomber affiliated with ISIS-K, according to Pentagon officials.
  • On Thursday, August 26, a terrorist attack at the Kabul airport killed 13 U.S troops and 60 Afghans. ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Governor Northam ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the U.S service members and other victims killed in the Kabul attack, WSLS 10 News reports.

Starting next week, the News in 10 will also begin to include a roundup of upcoming local events. Have an event you’d like to share? Email me at [email protected].

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