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Spectrum Field, the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies announced Friday that the team would indefinitely close its Clearwater, Florida, spring training facility after five players and three staff members tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The news, first reported by NBC Sports Philadelphia, illustrates just how challenging it will be to bring sports leagues back as some states — including Florida, the planned home for the NBA, MLS and WNBA — have seen a surge in new cases.

  • 20 players and 12 staff members are still in the process of being tested. Eight staffers tested negative.
  • The team had begun spring training in Florida when the MLB postponed the start of its season earlier this year due to the pandemic. Some players have been allowed to return to the facility over the last few weeks.

The big picture: MLB and its players' union remain locked in negotiations over how to restart the season — jeopardizing the league's return this year.

Go deeper

Sep 26, 2020 - Health

U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases

Flags on the Washington National Mall on Sept. 22, each representing 1,000 people killed from the virus. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

The United States reported 55,054 new coronavirus cases on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Why it matters: It was the highest single-day increase since August 14, when the country reported 64,350 new cases over a 24-hour span, and suggests that the U.S. has yet to contain the spread of the virus.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker