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Cyclists during the 107th Tour de France 2020, Stage 1, on Aug. 29. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

The 107th Tour de France started its 2,156-mile journey around France on Saturday, around seven weeks later than its traditional July start time and amid a global pandemic that's currently worsening across Europe.

Why it matters: Though Tour de France cyclists have been germ-conscious for years now, health protocols for teams and riders have never been more important than this year's race, the Wall Street Journal reports.

How it works: Every team will consist of up to eight riders and 22 staffers, and all members must receive regular testing and remain sealed off from the outside world as they travel around the country.

  • Teams have been warned against giving autographs, dining at buffets and having roommates.

The big picture: France is currently experiencing a surge of new cases. The country reported 7,462 new cases on Friday, its largest single-day jump since May 16, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

  • Riders started the first stage of the race from the southern city of Nice. They're set to end in Paris on Sept. 20, though that is subject to change, the New York Times reports.

Go deeper

Nov 15, 2020 - Health

U.S. surgeon general: "Pandemic fatigue" behind soaring coronavirus cases

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams. Photo: MichaelL Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

"Pandemic fatigue" is the main reason for the record rises in COVID-19 cases the United States has seen this month, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told NPR in an interview broadcast Saturday.

Why it matters: The U.S. is on track for its worst month of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. The latest Johns Hopkins data shows the U.S. broke the world record for the number of new cases again on Friday, with 177,224 people testing positive.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

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