All eyes are on major league sports right now.
Yup. Yesterday, on the fourth day of a much-delayed season, Major League Baseball had its first COVID-19 crisis. The Miami Marlins, based in one of the hotspots of the pandemic, announced at least 11 players and two coaches tested positive. But despite reportedly knowing about the outbreak, they went ahead with Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The league postponed three games scheduled for last night and tonight. The Marlins are still scheduled to play tomorrow. But all of this is raising questions about how leagues can – or should – reopen amid a global pandemic. So far, none of them are having fans at the games. Here's what else they're planning:
MLB...There's a manual. The league bans spitting and coming within six feet of an umpire or another player during an argument. But there's no rulebook on how to handle an outbreak like this. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says a pause makes sense when a team loses so many players it becomes "non-competitive."
NBA...next up. The season tips off Thursday, all in one place: Disney World. The idea is to keep players in a "bubble" so they don't have to travel. And it's serious. Players who've left the bubble (like to pick up food) faced mandatory quarantine. There's also a so-called "snitch hotline" to report rule breakers. The WNBA – which began its season last weekend – has a similar game plan.
NHL...scheduled to start Saturday. Like the basketball leagues, it's hoping to keep players in bubbles. They're staying in two hub cities – Toronto and Edmonton. And knock on wood, no positive tests yet.
There's no foolproof way to gather people together during a pandemic. Baseball implemented rules to ensure social distancing, but it's already proven tricky. Now, as leagues move ahead with their schedules this week, athletes and staff could be at risk – and their communities could be too.
Moderna. The biotech company's potential vaccine has entered its final stage of testing. Earlier this month, Moderna announced that all the participants in an earlier trial produced antibodies. Now, about 30,000 American volunteers will take part in the last phase of testing – which focuses on safety and effectiveness. Dr. Anthony Fauci said we'll know if the vaccine works by November. And if all goes well, Moderna says it's on track to deliver about 500 million doses per year.
Congress. Yesterday, Senate Republicans rolled out a roughly $1 trillion coronavirus relief proposal. It includes an added $200 per week in unemployment benefits through September – down from the extra $600 the gov signed off on back in March. Then in October, it would switch to a new system where jobless benefits would be capped at 70% of a person's lost wages. Now, the Senate has to negotiate with House Democrats. Easier said than done, since Dems have a different vision...to the tune of $3 trillion.
Psst…the pandemic could impact your wallet in a lot of ways. Here's what it might mean for your paycheck, bills, debt, and more.
Rep. John Lewis. The late civil rights icon and Democratic congressman is being honored at the US Capitol. Yesterday, he lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda – the first Black lawmaker to receive this tribute reserved for presidents and the most distinguished military and gov officials. Today, members of the public can pay their respects to Lewis on the Capitol steps. He'll lie in state at the Georgia State Capitol tomorrow and will be laid to rest on Thursday. RIP.
Black women. A new report has found 122 Black or multi-racial Black women have filed to run for Congress this year – the most ever in an election. And with primaries winding down, about 60 of them are apparently still in the running. Black women are underrepresented in political office. One study found they make up nearly 8% of the US population – but only about 4% of Congress.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). He said the Founding Fathers considered slavery a "necessary evil." The comments – in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – came after he intro'd legislation to try to block federal funds from schools teaching the 1619 Project. It's an initiative launched by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones that aims to reframe American history starting with the year 1619 – when the first slave ship arrived on America's shores.
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