Photo: Jim Steffens/Getty Images

On Saturday evening in South Dakota, IMCA Racing treated us to Open Wheel Nationals — a real, live sporting event and a sight for sore eyes.

Why it matters: With sports mostly on pause since mid-March, this small, dirt track event in North Sioux City offered a potential blueprint for successfully restarting sporting events across the country.

The state of play: There have been just seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in Park Jefferson International Speedway's county, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem never issued a stay-at-home order, making the circumstances for this event favorable compared to other parts of the country.

  • The stands at the Speedway were empty, and all 64 teams were capped at 10 people, including driver, crew and family.
  • Pit crews were separated by at least 10 feet, masks and temperature checks were required before entering the track and positions were computer generated, eschewing the standard "pill draw" (think: choosing tiles from a Scrabble bag).

What they're saying: NASCAR and IndyCar have postponed their May races, and while they've both attempted to fill the void with iRacing, at least one writer has finally reached his breaking point:

"I can't cover [iRacing] events the same way as real races anymore. It makes me feel a bit guilty to say that, because a lot of people have worked hard to make iRacing on television a suitable replacement for actual racing ... but after four of these things ... I'm sorry. I just can't do it."
— Jeff Gluck, The Athletic

Highlights: Races lasted just a few minutes due to the short track, and were action-packed and highly entertaining.

Go deeper: ESPN hit hardest after coronavirus shuts down live sports

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Updated Aug 11, 2020 - Health

N.Y., N.J. and Conn. to require travelers from 31 states to quarantine

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Travelers from 31 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are now required to quarantine for 14 days when traveling to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

What's new: Hawaii, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands were added to the travel advisory list on Tuesday, while Alaska, Ohio, New Mexico and Rhode Island were removed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Coronavirus hotspots begin to improve

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections are falling or holding steady in most of the country, including the hard-hit hotspots of Arizona, California and Florida.

The big picture: A decline in new infections is always good news, but don't be fooled: the U.S. still has a very long way to go to recover from this summer's surge.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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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."