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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

The risk of opening schools closely tracks the prevalence of the virus in that community.

  • The CDC's top risk indicators are the number of new cases per 100,000 people within the last two weeks, the testing positivity rate over the same period, and a school's ability to implement several key mitigation strategies (which isn't reflected in this data set).
  • Yes, but: In some rural areas, where the population is small, it only takes a handful of cases to hit what the CDC has deemed a "moderate" risk level.

By the numbers: On Sept. 8, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Iowa had the highest average statewide transmission risks in the country, according to the Coders Against COVID analysis.

  • Connecticut, D.C., New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont all had a transmission risk of 1, the lowest possible.

Iowa, Arkansas, Florida and Texas — all of which had relatively high risk scores — have ordered in-person instruction to be available part- or full-time, according to Education Week.

  • D.C. schools have been ordered to do distance learning until November, and New York City has yet to open its schools after announcing it plans to do so.

What we're watching: Data reporting is inconsistent, but Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee have all already reported more than a thousand cases in K-12 schools, the NYT reported earlier this week.

  • Many of the largest school districts still aren't open for in-person learning, and flu season is around the corner. But for now, schools have avoided some of the worst-case scenarios.

Go deeper

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers — U.S. on the lookout for Omicron casesFDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns" — Two federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Pentagon denies Oklahoma National Guard request for exemption from vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron — COVID-19 "radically altered mobility" globally, UN says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

MLB enters first lockout since '95 as deal expires

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (L) and Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark. Photo: Matt King/MLB via Getty Images

Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday without a new deal in place.

Why it matters: With no CBA, the MLB is in a management lockout — the first work stoppage since a 1994-95 strike led to the cancelation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.

Media giants back Bannon's bid to release Jan. 6 documents

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon at the FBI Washington Field Office in Washington, DC., in November. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A coalition of news outlets including the Washington Post is supporting Stephen Bannon's campaign for the release of documents related to his contempt of Congress charges, WashPost reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: WashPost, the New York Times, CNN, NBC, the Wall Street Journal's parent company and others filed a motion arguing that a proposed protective order seeking to prevent the documents from being released violates the First Amendment, per the Daily Mail, which first reported on the news.

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