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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The NBA has discussed having players receive COVID-19 vaccines to educate the public about their safety and effectiveness, commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The coronavirus has disproportionately struck Black communities, who have developed resistance towards vaccinations — and a general distrust of medical institutions — for understandable historic reasons.

By the numbers: Roughly 75% of NBA players are Black, and superstars like LeBron James (77.6 million Instagram followers) and Steph Curry (32.4 million) can reach a large swath of the population with a single social media post.

The backstory: In the early 1930s, the federal government launched the Tuskegee experiment, which denied Black men in Alabama treatment for syphilis and secretly documented how the disease destroyed their bodies, Axios' Russell Contreras writes.

  • A U.S. Senate committee in 1972 heard testimony that around 2,000 poor Black women had undergone forced sterilization in previous years stemming from a eugenics-inspired policy.
  • These episodes wrecked African Americans' trust in medical institutions that continues to this day.

Go deeper: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines

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 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron should also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, the WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."