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

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Florida has become the de facto hub for sports leagues hoping to resume play this summer, but the state has experienced a dangerous spike in coronavirus cases since it began reopening last month.

The state of play: The NBA and MLS plan to resume their seasons at Walt Disney World near Orlando, with rigorous testing and countless safety measures in place. Meanwhile, the WNBA plans to play at IMG Academy near Tampa Bay.

  • Yes, but: There is growing concern about how resort staff factor into the safety protocol, and the NBA told players that Disney staff will not be subject to the same rigorous testing, which sort of defeats the purpose of a bubble — especially if they're commuting from places riddled with COVID-19.

By the numbers: The WHO recommends that governments not reopen unless their positive test rate drops below 5% for 14 straight days.

  • In Orange County, home of Disney World, the seven-day average ending Tuesday was 6.5%, including 11.9% on Tuesday alone, when the state reported its single highest daily total of new cases (2,783).

The backdrop: Florida was slow to lock down and quick to reopen, as Gov. Ron DeSantis has pushed onward "recklessly" despite the data "screaming for caution," state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried tweeted on Tuesday.

  • A data scientist in the Florida Department of Health was fired last month for "insubordination," which she says was based on her unwillingness to manipulate her COVID-19 dashboard to make the state look healthier than it was.
  • Since being fired, she has launched her own dashboard, which shows that only two of Florida's 67 counties currently meet the criteria for further easing restrictions.

What they're saying: In response to the recent spike, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told AP: "It's concerning but not surprising. I've watched this governor behave as if the virus is an inconvenience as opposed to a virus."

The bottom line: The worst-case scenario is, of course, that these numbers remain so high that Florida is no longer deemed safe enough to host sports leagues.

  • Assuming play does resume, the state will still need to significantly flatten the curve to stop the looming threat of infection from controlling the narrative once teams arrive.

Go deeper: NBA details life inside its Disney World "bubble"

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Naema Ahmed/Axios

Go deeper

Updated Oct 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Pfizer booster has 95.6% efficacy, large study shows — FDA authorizes mix-and-match for booster shots — J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year.
  2. Health: Cases and deaths keep falling — White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11 — The global coronavirus vaccine gap — Gates Foundation to send $120 million of antiviral pills to lower-income countries.
  3. Politics: Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID — Puerto Rico leads U.S. vaccination rates — Hawaii invites fully vaccinated travelers to return from Nov. 1.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 18 mins ago - World

U.S. threatens to cut aid to Sudan after military takeover

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

The latest: The head of the military faction of the Sudanese government, Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, said in a statement that he is announcing a state of emergency, suspending several parts of the interim constitution and dissolving the civilian government and interim sovereignty council — the highest governing body in the country.

Facebook's pivotal week

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

They're battening down the hatches at Facebook headquarters this week as the company faces a trifecta of tumult: a continuing wave of negative press coverage fueled by document leaks, a critical earnings report Monday and a reported name change looming.

The big picture: All this is unfolding as Mark Zuckerberg tries to transform Facebook from a social network into the prime mover behind a new "metaverse" of VR- and AR-driven remote work and play.

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