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Cutouts of fans are afixed to seats before the game between the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings. Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The NFL announced Tuesday that three players and five staffers from the Tennessee Titans tested positive for coronavirus, forcing the temporary closure of the team's facility, ESPN reports.

Why it matters: It's the league's first outbreak during the season, which is not taking place in a "bubble," like the NBA and MLS, and looks set to test if its coronavirus protocols will hold.

  • As of Tuesday, everyone who has tested positive is currently asymptomatic.
  • The Minnesota Vikings are also pausing in-person activities, as they played the Titans this past weekend. They have recorded no positive tests so far.
  • “Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the NFLPA, including our infectious-disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments,” the league and players’ union said, according to the Washington Post. “All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration. We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available.”

The state of play: Players who are asymptomatic (and stay that way) but test positive, are allowed to return to to the game 10 days after the positive test or get two negative tests within five days.

What's next: No decision has been made about this weekend's games for both teams.

Go deeper

Fauci sees greater China role in COVID-19 spread, one year on

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Ira L. Black (Corbis), Pool/Getty Images

A lack of transparency by Chinese officials — particularly about the novel coronavirus' transmission and the obstruction of a top U.S. scientist from investigating it — played a significant role in allowing COVID-19 to spread outside China, NIAID director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

The big picture: Axios first spoke with Fauci one year ago this week about the "mysterious pneumonia" in Wuhan, China, which he suspected was a novel coronavirus but was being reported by Chinese health officials as not that infectious.

Severe coronavirus infections continue to mount

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking ProjectHarvard Global Health Institute; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Deaths and severe illness from the coronavirus continue to set new records almost every day, especially in the South and the West.

The big picture: More than 130,000 Americans are in the hospital today with COVID-19 infections. That's straining several states' health care systems and will keep pushing the virus' death toll higher and higher.

Schumer: First priority in new Senate is $2,000 stimulus checks

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) talks with reporters in the Capitol on Jan. 3. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that one of his first priorities in the 117th Senate will be to pass legislation that would send $2000 stimulus payments.

Why it matters: If Jon Ossoff holds his lead over former Sen. Perdue, Schumer is set to become the next majority leader with the power to steer legislation. The election has not yet been called.