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Axios' Kendall Baker and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (R). Photo: Axios

Gyms that follow coronavirus mitigation strategies — like enforcing masks, social distancing, and prompt cleaning — should stay open when possible under local guidelines, Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona said at a virtual Axios event on Tuesday.

Where it stands: Several states have shuttered gyms as coronavirus cases rise, or introduced limitations on how many customers can be inside the facility at once, per a New York Times tracker.

What he's saying: "And I think first and foremost, whatever you're doing, we have to adhere to the best public health practices, social distancing, wearing a mask, stay within your own bubble at home. Don't be interacting with lots of people you don't know, things like that," Carmona said.

  • "Now when you take it to a gym ... you have to really step up and make sure the staff is on board, there's a team approach, there's cleaning, there's social distancing, there's masking, machines are separated much further apart now so that we have the social distancing."
  • "So I think when those best public health practices can be applied, we should consider letting those facilities stay open when possible based on epidemiologic data, because people need that social connection."
  • Carmona noted that "mental health and physical health are connected inextricably," and it was important for people to stay active during the pandemic.

Watch the full event here.

Go deeper

Jan 8, 2021 - Health

Why some experts want to relax vaccine prioritization

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Some political leaders and public health experts are rethinking strict prioritization for coronavirus vaccines, suggesting that it might make more sense to simply try to administer as many doses as possible as quickly as possible.

Why it matters: Especially while supplies are still limited, there's an inherent tension between trying to focus first on the people most at risk from the virus — including those most likely to spread it — and getting shots into arms at maximum speed.

By the numbers: Leaving House

Expand chart
Data: House Press Gallery; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) is the latest House lawmaker to announce he won't seek re-election next year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 13, compared to nine Republicans.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.