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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With the college basketball season slated to begin on Wednesday, 35 men's teams are currently in "pause" and quarantining, per Stadium's Jeff Goodman.

Details: Schedules are in constant flux as schools prepare to fly across the country. Take Illinois State, which was supposed to be in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Wednesday, but will now be in Columbus, Ohio.

Between the lines: Some women's teams have no more than a handful of games scheduled and others are "lining up bus rides and home-and-home series like they're in baseball's minor leagues," AP's Doug Feinberg reports.

  • Coaches are so desperate to fill out their schedules that some have taken to Twitter to try and find games.
  • Others have set up group texts so that if a game gets canceled, they can quickly set up a new game with someone else.
  • "[We] all agreed that if we have an opening we'll play. We'll figure it out if it's home or away, things like that," said Louisville coach Jeff Walz.

The state of play: "The most effective organizing structure in college basketball right now, hilariously, seems to be the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut," New York Magazine's Will Leitch writes.

  • Starting Wednesday, the casino will host 45 Division I games — both men's and women's — over 11 days in a semi-bubble environment after purchasing nearly 5,000 COVID-19 tests.
  • Baylor coach Scott Drew is the latest coach to test positive, so the No. 2 ranked Bears will open the season at Mohegan Sun without him.

The last word: "We don't know a lot of things," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We know we're going to have March Madness [and] a regular season. We just don't know much about both — and it's a hell of a way to run a railroad."

No Cameron Crazies this year. Very sad.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot — FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds — Moderna says vaccine shows strong immune response in kids
  2. Health: COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought — 96% of Tyson Foods employees vaccinated ahead of mandate deadline — U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers
  3. Politics: Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools — Alabama governor orders state agencies to fight federal vaccine mandate — Axios-Ipsos poll: Confidence in Biden COVID recovery tumbles
  4. Education: Benefits of vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says — Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.