Dec 20, 2021 - Sports

COVID is wreaking havoc in the sports world again

Illustration of two football helmets with coronavirus logos on them flying at each other.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The sports world's sense of normalcy was upended over the weekend by a slew of events straight out of 2020.

State of play: Coronavirus cases are surging as the Omicron variant continues to spread, wreaking havoc on league schedules and causing games to be postponed and facilities to be shuttered.

  • The NFL has games on five days this week due to a surge in positive tests. It has also changed its protocols in a big way: fully vaccinated, asymptomatic players are no longer subject to weekly testing.
  • The NBA has postponed five games and returned to elevated protocols as COVID sweeps through the league. Teams are so short-handed that they've been given the green light to sign replacement players.
  • The NHL postponed nine games over the weekend and suspended 12 games involving cross-border travel until after Christmas. There's also a growing belief that NHL players won't compete in Beijing.
  • College basketball: Dozens of men's and women's programs have temporarily shut down, including three ranked men's teams: UCLA, Seton Hall and Ohio State. Multiple games were canceled.

Looking ahead: With border closures in Asia, Christmas on hold in Europe, and Omicron now detected in 89 countries, the Beijing Games — now just 46 days away — could realistically be delayed or disrupted.

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