National Airport in D.C. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

It feels like mid-March in America again. The coronavirus is surging, deaths are climbing and the country is dreading a wave of disruptions, less than four months since the first round started.

The big picture: Lingering under all the happy talk of future plans is the reality of this virus — which thrives in potential super-spreader conditions like mass gatherings.

  • You see it in the sports reopening plans, especially for fans who want to attend games this fall. Colleges keep having to delay their training camps, and conferences are preparing for the possibility of no sports this fall.
  • You see it in the school reopening plans, with K-12 and higher education sounding hopeful but facing growing staff revolts.
  • You can see it in the Sun Belt: While governors aren’t giving in to a complete state closure like the first time around, many with hotspot areas have reversed or paused reopening policies that could encourage mass gatherings, Axios' Marisa Fernandez tells me.
  • You even see it far in the future, where the Tokyo 2021 Olympics planners insist the games will start in July of next year — but the Japanese public overwhelmingly disagrees, the AP reports. A recent poll found 77% believe the games can't be held next year.

The bottom line: The U.S. may be implicitly adopting a national herd immunity strategy, but that doesn't mean every facet of life won't be painfully disrupted until we get there — or until an effective treatment or vaccine is widely distributed.

Go deeper: Rural America's coronavirus problem (Axios Re:Cap podcast)

Go deeper

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Why it matters: Mass delays in coronavirus test results across the U.S. have thwarted mitigation efforts recommended by public health experts, per the New York Times. In absence of a federal plan, a bipartisan group of governors on Tuesday proposed one of the country's first interstate testing strategies.

GOP senator says stimulus needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-19 as possible

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said at an Axios virtual event Wednesday that the next coronavirus relief package needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-specific issues as possible in order to resolve the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Why it matters: Democrats and negotiators from the Trump administration remain far apart on a deal for the next tranche of relief. The fraught negotiations come as millions of Americans continue to suffer from the health and economic effects of the pandemic without the unemployment benefits from the first stimulus bill.

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 18,860,908 — Total deaths: 708,676— Total recoveries — 11,394,821Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 4,834,546 — Total deaths: 158,445 — Total recoveries: 1,577,851 — Total tests: 58,920,975Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi rips GOP: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn" — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive.
  4. Public health: Fauci says task force will examine aerosolized spread.
  5. Business: July's jobs report could be an inflection point for the recovery — Teladoc and Livongo merge into virtual care giant.
  6. Sports: Where college football's biggest conferences stand on playing.