Dec 20, 2021 - COVID

Omicron threatens to upend Colorado sports

Illustration of basketball wearing a face mask
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Denver's professional sports franchises are seeing their schedules slashed, with game postponements and expectations for the season up in the air.

Why it matters: COVID is affecting the sports world in ways not seen since before the vaccine became widely available, Axios’ Jeff Tracy writes. The recent onslaught of cases may foreshadow a fifth wave of the pandemic, spurred by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

What's happening: The NBA postponed the Denver Nuggets' Sunday game against the Brooklyn Nets after nearly a dozen of the out-of-town team's players tested positive for COVID-19.

The big picture: When the Delta variant hit over the summer, most vaccinated arms had been freshly jabbed, but Omicron's ascent comes as springtime vaccine potency wanes.

State of play: National leagues, along with Colorado's governor, are taking notice that booster shots more than double effectiveness against Omicron and are now adjusting their policies.

  • Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday told NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" that the state will likely change the definition of what it means to be "fully vaccinated" to include the booster.
  • His move comes after the NBA modified its definition to include a three-dose regimen as of Dec. 17, and the NFL decided to require boosters for many of its employees by Dec. 27.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Denver's professional sports franchises have had games postponed this season due to COVID, not cancelled.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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