Tossing it around
Bob Good, the 5th Congressional District’s Republican candidate, released a bizarre campaign advertisement this week. In the spot, Good draws on his experience as a wrestling coach—everyone’s favorite kind of authority figure—and shows how he’ll “put liberal ideas in a headlock.” As Good grapples on the mat with his son, the candidate periodically looks up from the tangle of arms and legs to deliver a zinger such as “Government-run health care? I’ll pin that idea.”
Meanwhile, election forecasters at the Cook Political Report are now rating the race a toss-up, something formerly unthinkable in a district Donald Trump won by 11 points in 2016. On Twitter, Cook’s Dave Wasserman called Cameron Webb “perhaps the Dems’ best House candidate anywhere in the country…Webb is a young, telegenic Black doctor w/deep ties in both Charlottesville & Southside.”
Despite evidence from colleges around the country that inviting students back to campus would lead to coronavirus outbreaks in on-campus housing, UVA’s administration made the decision to bring first-year students back to Grounds. Now, less than three weeks later, there are outbreaks in several dorms.
Last Wednesday, the school announced at least five cases of COVID-19 were found in the wastewater of the Balz-Dobie freshman residence hall. The dorm immediately went into lockdown and all residents were tested Wednesday evening. The tests turned up 15 cases of COVID-19 in a dorm of 188 students, says the university. Students who tested positive have been placed in isolation housing and their close contacts (such as roommates) have been placed in quarantine housing.
Thursday evening, residents of the Lefevre dorm were instructed to undergo mandatory asymptomatic testing after wastewater tests indicated possible infections there, too. That dorm turned up three more positive cases. Then on Friday, the Echols and Kellogg dorms underwent the same routine, and 17 additional cases were confirmed.
“All students with positive tests are doing well,” says UVA in an official statement.
As of Friday, 19 percent of the university’s quarantine rooms were occupied by students and 1 percent of isolation rooms were occupied. Quarantine rooms are for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and isolation rooms are for students who have tested positive for COVID-19. The school’s coronavirus tracker shows 241 active cases as of Tuesday morning, including students, staff, faculty, and contracted workers.—Amelia Delphos
Quote of the week
“The issue is that y’all don’t have your facts together. You’re trying to cite me for a [Black Youth Action Committee] event, claiming that it took place in Washington Park and it didn’t.”
—community organizer Zyahna Bryant on the $500 fine the BYAC received for hosting Black Joy Fest, criticizing City Council for not being consistent with enforcing the ban on large gatherings
The lost art
Seven paintings by Charlottesville artist Megan Read, worth a total of $12,000, have gone missing. They weren’t stolen in a dramatic art heist, though: FedEx lost track of the packages, which were en route to a gallery in Denver. Read has tried to track the paintings down, and says she thinks they’re stuck in a shipping center in Kernersville, North Carolina, but she hasn’t been able to find anyone who can help her.
Sign of the times
A blunt sign on the door of one of UVA’s historic Lawn rooms has caught the attention of some of the university’s more traditionally minded alumni. “FUCK UVA,” it says, before reminding passersby of the school’s history of slavery and other crimes. The sign prompted Bert Ellis, class of ’75 and CEO of Atlanta’s Ellis Capital, to drive to town and indignantly knock on the Lawn room door, where, according to his own Facebook post, he was given an eye-opening history lesson from the student who lives there.
After debating the issue late into the night during multiple recent meetings—and getting nowhere—City Council decided on Monday to send proposals for honorary street names to the city’s Historic Resources Committee. Several proposals would honor local Black figures, including activist Wyatt Johnson and enslaved laborer William Henry Martin, while two others suggest honoring UVA men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett.