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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Many Broadway shows announced plans this week to cancel performances following COVID-19 cases among cast or crew members.

Driving the news: The cancellations come as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across the country as the Omicron variant gains a bigger foothold in the U.S.

Why it matters: Broadway shows are a vital part of New York City, creating about 97,000 jobs and contributing $14.7 billion to the city's economy in the 2018-2019 season, according to the Broadway League.

  • A missed performance for a show that grosses $1 million a week would cost about $125,000, the New York Times reports. Weekends, when shows are most full, would lose more.
  • But cancellations now are especially painful because Broadway traditionally sees an attendance spike during the holiday season, according to the Times.

State of play: Shows such as “Tina,” a musical about Tina Turner, canceled performances from Friday to Monday due to COVID-19 cases.

Also: "The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes" also had to cancel all of its remaining shows in 2021 due to COVID-19 cases. All tickets for the show will be fully refunded.

Flashback: In September, many Broadway shows like "Wicked" and "The Lion King" returned after 18 months of going dark due to the pandemic. It was the longest shutdown in Broadway history.

  • Broadway hit "Aladdin" announced in September that it canceled all future shows for two weeks because of a breakthrough of COVID-19 cases among cast members.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker