Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Globe Life Field hosted 10,700 fans for Game 1 of the NLCS Monday night, and will do the same for the rest of the series, as well as next week's World Series.

Why it matters: These are the first baseball games all year with fans that aren't made of cardboard, and the operation's success — or failure — will dictate MLB's 2021 attendance policy.

The state of play: The safety guidelines comprise a three-pronged approach to minimize the risk of exposure and spread.

  • Social distancing: Tickets are sold in pods of four, separated by six feet, and the 30,000 additional seats are roped off to ensure they stay empty.
  • Masks: Everyone over the age of two must wear a mask unless actively eating or drinking. Staff will issue warnings — three strikes and you're out.
  • Sanitization: Sinks are set up throughout the concourse to encourage frequent hand washing.
  • To further reduce close contact between fans and staff, bags are not allowed and temperature checks are not being performed.

What they're saying: "They brought it for sure, and it definitely got the adrenaline going, especially late in the game. It was intense," Atlanta's Austin Riley said of the fans after his ninth-inning HR sparked a rally.

The bottom line: Globe Life hosted 61 high school graduations this spring, gaining valuable experience about ushering guests through a stadium amid a pandemic. They'll learn even more this month, and so will MLB.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
23 hours ago - Health

Many U.S. coronavirus deaths were avoidable

Data: National Center for Disaster Preparedness; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

If the U.S. death rate had matched that of other wealthy countries, between about 55,000 and 215,000 Americans would still be alive, according to a scathing new analysis by Columbia University's National Center for Disaster Preparedness.

Why it matters: These countries have taken a significantly different approach to the virus than the U.S., providing yet another example that things didn't have to be this way.

The pandemic is getting worse again

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Due to a database error, Missouri had a 3 day gap in reporting from Oct. 11-13; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Every available piece of data proves it: The coronavirus pandemic is getting worse again, all across America.

The big picture: As the death toll ticks past 212,000, at a moment when containing the virus ought to be easier and more urgent than ever, we are instead giving it a bigger foothold to grow from.

How the coronavirus pandemic could end

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's still the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but history, biology and the knowledge gained from our first nine months with COVID-19 point to how the pandemic might end.

The big picture: Pandemics don't last forever. But when they end, it usually isn't because a virus disappears or is eliminated. Instead, they can settle into a population, becoming a constant background presence that occasionally flares up in local outbreaks.