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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but the impact on teenagers has been uniquely profound.

Why it matters: High schoolers spent much of the past year isolated and on the sidelines, and that lack of human connection combined with shortened or canceled sports seasons has taken a devastating toll.

  • A coordinated, national response would have allowed teens to at least take solace in being alone together. Instead, state-by-state protocols meant they all had different experiences.
  • Some kids played sports and attended in-person classes. Others learned virtually and saw sports seasons canceled, robbing them of lifelong memories and, in some cases, the chance to get recruited.

The tale of two towns...

Map data: ©2021 Google

Denver City, Texas, and Hobbs, New Mexico, are separated by just 35 miles, but their states responded to the coronavirus in drastically different ways. Texas was freewheeling; New Mexico was the opposite.

  • Denver City: After the initial lockdown, the town of 5,000 reopened its schools with baseline safety measures (masks, social distancing, contact tracing) and ran a cancellation-free football season.
  • Hobbs: The larger town (population 40,000) across the border continued with remote or hybrid learning throughout the year. Athletes could practice in small pods, but there were no actual games.

What they're saying: For some, like Hobbs junior football star Kooper Davis, the time away from the field and friends was unbearable, as depicted in a must-read story from ProPublica's Alec MacGillis.

"I play football and basketball and those sports make up a big part of my life, and when I'm not here every day doing something with those sports, honestly, I feel really lost in life."
Davis, during an October demonstration to reopen schools

In December, Davis took his own life; the third Hobbs teen to do so in the last three months of 2020 alone. "No doubt, if my son had been in school on Monday this wouldn't have happened," said his father, Justin Davis.

Read the full story.

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden eyes Russia adviser criticized as soft on Kremlin

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Biden is considering appointing Matthew Rojansky, head of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, as Russia director on the National Security Council, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak.
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings.
  5. World: Iran tightens COVID restrictions amid fourth wave of pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Maryland lawmakers override Hogan vetoes of police accountability legislation

Marion Gray Hopkins with Coalition of Concerned Mothers speaks during a rally promoting police reform on March 4 in Annapolis, Maryland. Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Maryland's Democratic-controlled legislature on Saturday voted to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's vetoes of police accountability legislation.

Why it matters: Maryland is the first state to repeal its Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, the Washington Post notes.

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