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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.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

3 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.

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