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

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The sports world's sense of normalcy was upended over the weekend by a slew of events straight out of 2020.

State of play: Coronavirus cases are surging as the Omicron variant continues to spread, wreaking havoc on league schedules and causing games to be postponed and facilities to be shuttered.

  • The NFL has games on five days this week due to a surge in positive tests. It has also changed its protocols in a big way: fully vaccinated, asymptomatic players are no longer subject to weekly testing.
  • The NBA has postponed five games and returned to elevated protocols as COVID sweeps through the league. Teams are so short-handed that they've been given the green light to sign replacement players.
  • The NHL postponed nine games over the weekend and suspended 12 games involving cross-border travel until after Christmas. There's also a growing belief that NHL players won't compete in Beijing.
  • College basketball: Dozens of men's and women's programs have temporarily shut down, including three ranked men's teams: UCLA, Seton Hall and Ohio State. Multiple games were canceled.

Looking ahead: With border closures in Asia, Christmas on hold in Europe, and Omicron now detected in 89 countries, the Beijing Games — now just 46 days away — could realistically be delayed or disrupted.

Go deeper: COVID isn't finished with us

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.