Author: Virginia Martin

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Alabama’s COVID-19 New-Case Averages Top 1,000 Per Day for First Time

Alabama reached an unwelcome milestone in its battle with the COVID-19 virus, as the number of new cases reported each day has passed the 1,000 mark in moving averages for the first time.

The BirminghamWatch weekly analysis of data reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health shows that the 7-day moving average of new cases has jumped to 1,140.29 per day, the second highest since the outbreak began; the average peaked at 1,212.29 on July 5.

The longer-term 14-day moving average now stands at a record high of 1,057.14, after surpassing 1,000 two days prior. Read more.

Fauci Says Alabama Still Could Rein in COVID-19, Even as Cases Spread Among Young People

Dr. Anthony Fauci said even though Alabama has seen a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases since Memorial Day, the state now has “a window of opportunity” to slow the virus outbreak.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday in a press conference with Alabama Sen. Doug Jones that the methods to slow the spread of virus are known: washing hands, wearing masks, social distancing and closing bars.

“Indoor bars are the perfect setup for the virus to spread,” he said.

The reopening of bars and resumption of large events with little social distance has put younger people in the virus’ cross hairs.

Last month, Jones said, the median age of virus victims in the state dropped 15 years. In Alabama, the largest portion of people testing positive for the disease is now those in the 25- to 49-year age range. Read more.

Black at Samford Pushes for Changes in the University’s Culture, Treatment of Black Students

Students at Samford University regularly talk about the “Samford bubble,” the idea that when they step onto campus, they leave the real world behind. Inside the bubble, there’s a sense they are more sheltered and there is more uniformity in the beliefs and backgrounds of students and faculty.

But not for students of color.

Many Black current and former Samford students are now sharing stories about how that bubble has concealed their experiences of racism, discrimination, isolation and pain on the Black at Samford Instagram account.

The stories run the gamut of racial experiences: exclusion from student groups’ events based on race; offensive stereotypes; different treatment by white professors or coaches compared to their white peers; casual use of racial slurs by white students; and the unofficial racial division of the campus cafeteria. Read more.

More on racist speech and attitudes

Sticks and Stones: Racist Comments Affect Policy, Law and Discrimination

A White Son Raised by a Black Man: Seeing Race From a Unique Perspective

A White Son Raised by a Black Man: Seeing Race From a Unique Perspective

Kevin Sims, who is white, remembers being on a beach when another white fellow asked him for a cigarette. As the pair talked, the subject of football came up.

And the other fellow showed his true colors.

“He was like, ‘Why I wanna watch football?’” Sims recalled. “I don’t wanna watch a bunch of (N-words) run up and down a field chasing each other.’”

Sims, who was raised by a Black man since the time he was 3, couldn’t stand for that. Read more.

Sticks and Stones: Racist Comments Affect Policy, Law and Discrimination

One time she was in a beauty salon when it happened, Pam King remembers. Another time, she was in the drug store. One time it happened while she was driving down the street in Vestavia Hills.

In each instance, another white person — someone she didn’t know — decided it was OK to say something to her that was racist about Black people.

“You can hear it every day. You can hear it … anywhere,” King said. “You hear from white people, constantly, ‘Well, did you hear what the Black people are doing?’ Just all kinds of little comments, every day. It’s part of the conversation.” Read more.

2020 Primary Runoff Voter Guide: Your Source of Information for the July 14 Election

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill expects the state runoff elections on July 14 to go smoothly, despite the complications of having an election during a pandemic.

He’s predicting a voter turnout of 17% to 22%, which is higher than turnout in the 2014 and 2016 party runoffs, when 11% and 12% of voters, respectively, cast ballots.

That’s despite a thin ballot. Only two statewide races are on the Republican runoff ballot and none on the Democratic ballot. But one of those Republican races is the fierce battle between Tommy Tuberville and Jeff Sessions to capture the party’s nomination to the U.S. Senate. An appellate court race also is on the ballot, along with local runoffs in some counties. Read more.

BirminghamWatch has put together a Voter Guide with information you’ll need before heading to the polls or filling out that absentee ballot. Inside you’ll find:

What’s on the Ballot?

Candidate Profiles

Voters’ Runoff Toolbox