Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In less than four days, the 2020 MLB season is seriously at risk after at least 14 members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus, canceling games in Miami and Philadelphia and kicking off an emergency league meeting.

Why it matters: It's a bad sign for baseball moving forward. But most importantly, it's a bad sign for just about everything in our daily lives — showing that something approaching normal can't simply be willed into existence.

  • Marlins players, aware of the team outbreak, decided via group text to play yesterday against the Phillies, circumventing a 113-page safety manual issued by the league before the season started, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • "We knew that this would happen at some point. ... That was never our thought that we weren’t going to play," said Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas.

The league moved forward without the sequestered "bubble" concept embraced by other sports leagues that have restarted or are on the verge of doing so, instead allowing teams to crisscross the country.

  • The NBA and MLS, both bubbled in Florida, turned up zero cases in their latest round of tests, Axios Sports editor Kendall Baker notes.
  • It's not a great omen for football in the months ahead, as both the NFL and college football aren't planning bubbles.

What's next: We can't reasonably expect underfunded public schools to cope as they face reopening with conflicting guidance when a corporation with almost unlimited wealth is overwhelmed in a matter of days.

  • It's hard to imagine how a normal office is supposed to reopen when MLB players — subject to much more stringent oversight than most workers — can seemingly ignore their league's safety policies.

The bottom line: We're about to see the MLB's issues play out en masse in the real world as colleges reopen and welcome back students from around the world next month.

  • If you can't trust professional sports players to make smart decisions to keep their league running during a pandemic, how do you expect students freed from months of home quarantine to fare?

Go deeper

Updated Oct 22, 2020 - World

France becomes 2nd Western European country to top 1M coronavirus cases

French President Emmanuel Macron at the Seine Saint Denis prefecture headquarters in Paris, on Tuesday. Photo: Ludovic Marin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

France has become the second country in Western Europe to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, Johns Hopkins University data shows

The big picture: France had reported 1,000,369 cases and 34,075 deaths from the coronavirus by Thursday morning, per JHU. French President Emmanuel Macron declared a state of health emergency and imposed a curfew on virus hot spots earlier this month. Spain on Wednesday became the first Western European nation to top 1 million cases.

Trump claims COVID "will go away," Biden calls his response disqualifying

President Trump repeated baseless claims at the final presidential debate that the coronavirus "will go away" and that the U.S. is "rounding the turn," while Joe Biden argued that any president that has allowed 220,000 Americans to die on his watch should not be re-elected.

Why it matters: The U.S. is now averaging about 59,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and added another 73,000 cases on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The country recorded 1,038 deaths due to the virus Thursday, the highest since late September.

How the coronavirus pandemic could end

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's still the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but history, biology and the knowledge gained from our first nine months with COVID-19 point to how the pandemic might end.

The big picture: Pandemics don't last forever. But when they end, it usually isn't because a virus disappears or is eliminated. Instead, they can settle into a population, becoming a constant background presence that occasionally flares up in local outbreaks.