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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Not every graduation in America is going virtual this year.

The state of play: In Alabama's Birmingham suburbs, some 1,950 graduates and guests could attend Tuesday night's ceremony at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium (famous from MTV's "Two-A-Days"), AP reports. Another 3,450 could be on hand on Thursday.

Why it matters: Health officials fear large gatherings could result in coronavirus spread, especially since many people are contagious before experiencing symptoms.

  • Much of the U.S. is on week three of loosened their restrictions to some degree, the N.Y. Times notes.
  • Alabama's case count rose in early May, and it's held steady over the past week.

Between the lines: Health officials keep warning against large gatherings, but the ceremonies are outdoors with fewer guests and more space, plus face masks are provided.

  • In two nearby cities that also held outdoor ceremonies, the AP notes, few of the attendees wore protective face masks, and seniors hugged and gathered in tight groups of friends for pictures.

The big picture: Texas is charting a similar path after Gov. Greg Abbott said outdoor graduations are permissible starting May 29.

  • In San Antonio, some students get two guests and a single parking space for their outdoor ceremonies in June, per The Rivard Report, a local news nonprofit.
  • The city's Northside district is having "contactless" ceremonies featuring students walking individually across a stage. The schools will edit the walks into a single video, per the San Antonio News-Express.

The bottom line: These graduations are good examples of the temptations Americans will face — and the lengths they'll go to preserve some sense of normal — until a vaccine is widely available.

Go deeper

19 mins ago - World

Jamal Khashoggi murder suspect arrested in Paris

A person holding a candle and a picture of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a vigil outside of the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

A suspected member of the hit squad that murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018 was arrested at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on Tuesday, according to AP.

Why it matters: Khalid Aedh Al-Otaibi — who is one of several people sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries over Khashoggi's murder — was trying to board a flight to Riyadh and is now being held on an arrest warrant from Turkey, AP reports, citing a French judicial official.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.