Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As colleges continue making decisions regarding both academics and athletics for the fall semester, the coronavirus continues to show it's far from run its course.

Driving the news: The New York Times released results of a nationwide survey yesterday, linking at least 6,300 coronavirus cases to roughly 270 colleges.

  • And while some schools have moved classes online and others have canceled fall sports, many "still plan to welcome freshmen to campus in the coming days, to hold in-person classes and to host sporting events."

The big picture: In just the past day, the Big West postponed fall sports, Penn State reported eight positives among student-athletes, the ACC set an 11-game schedule and the 15-player outbreak among the Rutgers football team was linked to an on-campus party.

  • The ESPN site dedicated to these updates reads like a window into the mind of a reckless individual, but it's just what happens when institutions are faced with unprecedented circumstances and no easy answers.

Between the lines: Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley, a projected first round pick in the 2021 NFL draft, has opted out of the 2020 season "due to uncertain health conditions and regulations."

  • Ultimately, more top prospects will likely follow suit, and a pertinent question might be how many more it will take before those decisions force schools' hands, instead of the other way around.

The bottom line: We've already seen how effective bubbles can be and how quickly things can go sideways in the absence of one. But since colleges will never have the luxury of even considering a bubble, it begs the question of just how long this house of cards can last before toppling.

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2020 - Health

CDC changes "close contact" guidance for COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Noam Galai, Jamie McCarthy, Josep LAGO / AFP, Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP, and Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto, all via Getty Images

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its definition of who is considered a “close contact” of an individual infected with the coronavirus in a report released Wednesday.

Why it matters: The update is likely to pose challenges for schools, workplaces and other group settings as the U.S. prepares for a third coronavirus wave. It also reinforces the importance of masks in the face of President Trump’s repeated attempts to belittle their efficacy.

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.
Oct 21, 2020 - World

Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million COVID-19 cases

Photo: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

Spain exceeded 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, becoming the first country in Western Europe to hit the milestone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The state of play: Spain, which reported 16,973 cases over the previous 24 hours, was one of the most affected countries when the pandemic started, and cases have been on the rise since September, according to NPR.