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COVID-19 and sports: Latest updates across all leagues

It's been several months since sports in the United States came to a screeching halt amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the NBA, MLB and NHL seasons suddenly were put on hiatus.

Recent UFC bouts, WWE matches, NASCAR races and golf tournaments offered a glimmer of hope, and now the timelines of major sports are finally still being finalized. The NBA, NHL and MLB have announced plans to return to play, but with news breaking so often, we’ve gathered the latest stories fans need to know.

 
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NBA

NBA
NBA commissioner Adam Silver Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what has happened over the last couple of weeks in the NBA:

JANUARY 21

  • The NBA has postponed the Grizzlies‘ next three games, the league announced in a press release. Memphis is being affected by the NBA’s contact tracing protocols and, as a result, has a number of players unavailable. Read more here.
  • Michael Porter Jr., who hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 29 due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, has reported back to the Nuggets and will be listed as questionable for Friday’s game against Phoenix. Porter was originally held out for seven days for contact tracing purposes, then tested positive for the coronavirus, extending his quarantine period by another two weeks. The young forward will have to ramp up his conditioning and complete additional testing – including a cardio exam – before he’s formally cleared to return to the Nuggets’ lineup. While it’s not clear if Porter will be game-ready by Friday, head coach Michael Malone said Thursday that he’s optimistic the 22-year-old will be able to play at some point during Denver’s five-game road trip, which begins on Friday in Phoenix and runs through next Friday (Jan. 29) in San Antonio. Read more here.

JANUARY 20

  • The game between the Trail Blazers and Grizzlies scheduled to be played in Portland on Wednesday is being postponed due to COVID-19 contact tracing, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Grizzlies, who last played on Monday night vs. Phoenix, are the team being affected by the NBA’s contact tracing protocols. The Blazers and Grizzlies are scheduled to play again in Portland on Friday, so unless the NBA’s contact tracing investigation resolves quickly, that game may be in danger of being pushed back as well. Read more here.
  • ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the NBA will move security personnel into midcourt areas to remind players that they should not engage in hugs or handshakes with opponents. Read more here.
  • The NBA and National Basketball Players Association confirmed in a joint statement that 11 new players returned positive COVID-19 test results from Jan. 13 through Wednesday. Read more here.
  • For the first time in more than a week, the Washington Wizards are nearing returning to the court for competitive play following a lengthy coronavirus-related layoff. The Wizards have confirmed that they were cleared to resume practices on Wednesday evening. Read more here.
  • The game between the Wizards and Bucks that was scheduled to be played on Friday in Milwaukee has been postponed, the NBA announced. Read more here.

JANUARY 19

  • Adam Silver revealed Tuesday that the NBA is contemplating whether to utilize players’ eventual COVID-19 vaccinations as a public service announcement to encourage the league’s fans, among other specific populations, to do the same. As the league continues to consider whether to include player vaccinations in a broader PSA initiative, the NBA previously raised awareness by sharing a video showing icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar receiving his COVID-19 vaccination. Read more here.

JANUARY 18

  • Monday’s game between the Pistons and Heat, originally scheduled to be played in Miami at 3 p.m. Eastern time, will be delayed until at least 8 p.m. The delay is related to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. Read more here.
  • The Wizards' coronavirus outbreak continues to force postponements. The NBA announced Monday that Wednesday’s game in Charlotte between the Wizards and Hornets won’t take place as scheduled. It’s the fifth consecutive Washington game that has been postponed. Read more here.
  • Ava Wallace of the Washington Post reported on Monday that a seventh Wizards player and one staff member have now tested positive for COVID-19. Before this update, no Washington staff member had tested positive for the virus. Read more here.
  • Despite the Wizards' outbreak, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that available Washington players could be cleared to resume official team practices as soon as Wednesday. The Wizards were scheduled to play at the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, but that game was postponed because they couldn't dress the required league minimum of eight healthy players. Read more here.
  • Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. has been absent for the past nine games and will miss Tuesday's contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to the NBA's COVID-19 protocols. Denver coach Michael Malone gave fans some good news on Monday, though, when he explained that Porter could return to the active roster ahead of Friday's game at the Phoenix Suns. Read more here.

JANUARY 17

  • The Sixers–Thunder game scheduled for Sunday night has been postponed due to ongoing contract tracing, the 14th postponement of the young season, the NBA announced in a press release. Philadelphia doesn’t have the league-required eight players available to proceed, the league said. Read more here.
  • While NBA players aren't the first in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine, they'll have the opportunity to get vaccinated at some point in the near future. With that in mind, the league released a public service announcement regarding the vaccine. Hall of Famer and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar announced that he will be taking the coronavirus vaccine and is encouraging his peers to do the same. Read more here.

JANUARY 15

  • Kyrie Irving has made it abundantly clear in the past that he doesn't care about being fined by the NBA. The Brooklyn Nets star further proved that by recently attending a large family gathering, without a mask, for his sister's 30th birthday amid his ongoing absence from the franchise. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Irving has been fined $50,000 for violating the NBA's health and safety protocols as a result. Read more here.
  • Two more upcoming Wizards games won’t be played as scheduled, according to the NBA. The league announced Friday in a press release that the Wizards-Cavaliers games on the schedule for Sunday (Jan. 17) and Monday (Jan. 18) have been postponed due to health and safety protocols. The games are being pushed back because the Wizards don’t have the required minimum of eight players available. Read more here.
  • Furthermore, the Wizards have six players who have tested positive for COVID-19 and three others under health and safety protocols, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. GM Tommy Sheppard revealed those totals during a press conference. Read more here.
  • ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday that the NBA is working toward expanding regular-season rosters. NBA rules mandate that a team must dress a minimum of eight healthy and available players to compete, and increasing roster sizes could prevent at least some postponements even if contact tracing sidelines a group of players for up to a week or longer. Read more here.
  • Additionally, Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns revealed on Twitter than he has tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.

JANUARY 14

  • With postponed games piling up this week due to health and safety protocols, the NBA sent a memo to teams Wednesday outlining a plan to supplement the current testing guidelines, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Each team in the 28 NBA cities is being asked to research local providers of PCR tests. The league is hoping to have 40 tests on the morning of each game — enough to cover players on both teams along with referees — and have the results available at least an hour before tip-off. Bontemps notes that PCR tests are considered more accurate than rapid tests, but take much longer to process. Read more here.
  • The Boston Celtics have had three consecutive games postponed because of complications linked with COVID-19 cases and subsequent quarantines. There's some good news for Boston fans, though, as the Associated Press explained that the Celtics expect to return to action for Friday's matchup versus the Orlando Magic. Read more here.
  • Magic center Mohamed Bamba stayed in Orlando rather than traveling to Boston for the Magic’s Friday tilt against the Celtics due to the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, according to Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel. Read more here.
  • The NBA is postponing Saturday’s scheduled contest between the Pacers and Suns, per a team press release. Read more here.
  • The Pelicans confirmed on Thursday that Williamson has been cleared to return to basketball activities ahead of Friday's matchup at the Los Angeles Lakers. Read more here.
  • Timberwolves power forward Juan Hernangomez will isolate for at least 10 days due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to Jon Krawcyznski of The Athletic. Like Hernangomez, Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio will also miss the Timberwolves’ Friday bout against the Grizzlies as a result of the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Read more here.

JANUARY 13

  • The NBA imposed stricter health and safety protocols amid a spike in COVID-19 cases around the league. A couple of those new protocols limit player interactions pre- and post-game, which doesn't make sense to Oklahoma City Thunder guard George Hill. Hill, an NBA veteran, did make a few solid points in his argument about the new protocols: "We wanna play the game ... but I don't understand some of the rules," Hill said following Tuesday's 112-102 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN's Royce Young. "We can sweat 48 minutes with a guy next to us for 48 minutes, but we can't talk to them afterward. It makes no sense … I'm a grown man. I'm gonna do what I want to do. If I want to go see my family, I'm going to go see my family," Hill said. "They can't tell me I have to stay in a room 24/7. If it's that serious, then maybe we shouldn't be playing. But it's life; no one's going to be able to just cancel their whole life for this game." Read more here.
  • The NBA instituted far more stringent and restrictive COVID-19 protocols this week, and Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet is among the players expressing skepticism that the changes will do much to improve the rapidly deteriorating situation. Count VanVleet in the camp that the NBA may experience great difficulty getting the league’s coronavirus situation under control, even with the enhanced measures. “It does feel like trying to plug holes in a sinking boat… (I’m) just (trying to) continue to be optimistic and positive about it because it’s not changing anytime soon,” VanVleet told reporters Wednesday, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN. “So either get with the program or stay home, and I’m at work today.” Read more here.
  • The NBA is reporting 16 positives among the 497 coronavirus tests conducted since January 6, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Read more here.
  • The Athletic's Shams Charania tweeted on Wednesday that Friday's Washington Wizards-Detroit Pistons contest and a showdown between the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns also set for Friday are postponed following contact tracing that will prevent the Wizards and Suns from dressing a league-required eight healthy and available players. Read more here.
  • Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce is remaining isolated in a Phoenix hotel room after a member of the team’s traveling party tested positive for COVID-19, a source tells Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Read more here.

JANUARY 12

  • Videos surfaced of Kyrie Irving partying at a large gathering with his family. It was likely a party for Irving's sister, Asia, whose birthday is on Jan. 12, and his father, whose birthday is on Jan. 11. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews, the NBA is expected to investigate the videos of Irving partying maskless. The star point guard is not expected to return to the Nets' lineup this week. Read more here.
  • The Wizards have had two players enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols related to COVID-19, according to the team, which announced Tuesday morning that it has canceled the day’s scheduled practice due to “an abundance of caution.” This marks the fifth straight day that a Wizards player or a player on their previous opponent entered the health and safety protocols. Read more here.
  • There is currently no proven evidence that shows an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 can't eventually become infected with the virus a second time. It appears the NBA is dealing with that reality following the holiday season. ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe reported on Tuesday that multiple NBA players who previously tested positive for the coronavirus have recently tested positive again. Windhorst and Lowe added this isn't surprising, as the CDC has expected reinfections since the start of the pandemic. It's unknown how many supposed asymptomatic players who tested positive for the virus earlier in the year produced so-called "false positives." Multiple leagues and competitions, including the NBA, have confirmed "false positive" cases since the spring and summer months. The CDC hasn't determined how long somebody who battles COVID-19 is immune from becoming infected a second time. Read more here.
  • The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association agreed to tighten several of the health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 for at least the next two weeks, they announced Tuesday in a joint press release. The new, more restrictive measures are being introduced in the wake of a handful of game postponements since Sunday. Several teams around the NBA have had players test positive for the coronavirus within the last week and/or are missing several players due to the league’s contact tracing program. Read more here.
  • The Sixers have been hit hard recently by absences related to the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. As of this afternoon, they’ve added a sixth player to their list of those who are out due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols. Terrance Ferguson, who was previously sidelined for personal reasons, has apparently returned to the 76ers, but will need to undergo a quarantine period before he’s cleared to play. Read more here.
  • After starting Nuggets small forward Michael Porter Jr. cleared his initial quarantine due to COVID-19 contact tracing last week, he saw his isolation window extended for an extra 10 to 14 days. Head coach Michael Malone noted Tuesday night that Porter’s continued absence from the team was a result of his testing positive for the novel coronavirus. Read more here.

JANUARY 11

  • The NBA is officially experiencing the pains of life outside the bubble, as more and more teams have had positive tests and games now being postponed, including Sunday night's matchup between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. Despite these recent struggles, NBA commissioner Adam Silver says that he is hopeful that the league will see a drop of COVID-19 cases by next month. On a league call, Silver referred to these as the "darkest days" and insisted that once the league is able to "get through" them that he is "optimistic about improvements in February..." Read more here.
  • Furthermore, the Heat have announced that Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Maurice Harkless, Udonis Haslem, Kendrick Nunn, and KZ Okpala have all been added to the club's health and safety protocol list following contact tracing and won't be available through at least Tuesday night. Read more here
  • Following the postponements of three games in the last two days, the NBA is holding meetings to discuss possible changes to its health and safety protocols. Read more here.
  • Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon continues to perform most of her coaching duties despite being away from the team due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News reports. Hammon is under a league-mandated quarantine in Los Angeles along with Spurs big man Drew Eubanks and an unnamed staffer. Read more here.

JANUARY 10

  • Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber has been placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocol, which will keep him out of action for 10 to 14 days, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Read more here.
  • Heat guard Avery Bradley is the latest player to be sidelined due to the league’s health and safety protocols, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Read more here.

JANUARY 8

  • The NBA G League has officially announced that its shortened 2020-21 season will take place in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World, confirming the news in a press release. An exact start date has yet to be announced, but the season will tip off in February, per the NBAGL. Previous reports suggested a tentative opening night of Feb. 8. The G League didn’t anticipate being able to accommodate all 29 of its teams in a Disney bubble, so clubs were asked to volunteer to opt out the season. That’s why 11 NBA teams’ affiliates won’t be in action this season. Those NBA franchises will have the ability to assign players on standard contracts and transfer players on two-way deals to another G League team via the flexible assignment rule. Read more here.
  • A Mavericks player has tested positive for the coronavirus, and two other players have been placed under quarantine for seven days due to contract tracing, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Read more here.

JANUARY 7

  • 76ers star Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19; he and the team learned on Thursday. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says the team learned of the positive test near the start of their game on Thursday at Brooklyn. Curry went into an isolation room immediately and left separately from the team. Read more here.
 
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MLB

MLB
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the latest MLB news from the past couple of weeks:

JANUARY 21

  • As the 2021 MLB season approaches, the Toronto Blue Jays are attempting to figure out where their home games will be played if travel to Canada remains restricted. It looks like the front-runner may be TD Ballpark, their spring training stadium in Dunedin, Fla. Read more here.

JANUARY 15

  • According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, MLB is still discussing several rule changes for 2021, including bringing back the universal DH. The league also fears that the pandemic could "create havoc"  for the 2021 schedule, resulting in ongoing discussions about the return of seven-inning doubleheaders and extra-innings games starting with a runner on second base. The Major League Baseball Players Association must approve the rule changes. According to Nightengale, the MLBPA is expected to approve the changes because most players enjoyed them during the pandemic-shortened campaign in 2020. MLB is reportedly seeking a 14-team expanded playoff, two fewer teams than last season but four more than the standard format. Read more here.

JANUARY 11

  • Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told teams Monday to expect spring training to begin on time in February and for a 162-game regular season to occur, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. While plans could change based on the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s nonetheless a major development right now that the league has informed its clubs that it intends to return to a full schedule this year. MLB could only play 60 regular-season games per team in 2020, and there has since been talk about another shortened campaign in 2021. Read more here.

JANUARY 6

  • While we recently learned that spring training and the MLB 2021 season are set to begin on time, the same cannot be said for the minors. MLB informed teams at the Double-A and Single-A levels that their seasons will be delayed, writes Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper. MLB wants to mitigate the number of overall bodies sharing space at spring training facilities. With that in mind, players at the Double-A and Single-A levels will wait until MLB players as well as those slated for Triple-A have departed their facilities. Presumably, that means Triple-A will aim for a more traditional start to their season. Read more here.

JANUARY 5

  • MLB legend Hank Aaron turns 87 years old in February but is still hitting it out of the park. On Tuesday, The Associated Press (h/t ESPN) confirmed that former U.N. Ambassador and civil rights leader Andrew Young recruited Aaron to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to promote its safety to Black Americans. Read more here.

JANUARY 3

  • Despite ubiquitous uncertainty, as well owners advocating for a delay, it appears the 2021 season will start on time, per The Athletic’s Evan Drellich. MLB and the MLBPA have each announced their intentions to stick to the CBA and have regularly scheduled starts for spring training and Opening Day. Read more here.

DECEMBER 29

  • The Yankees' season ended with a Game 5 American League Division Series loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, who went on to lose the World Series to the loaded Los Angeles Dodgers. While Gerrit Cole had a solid first season in Pinstripes, he admitted that playing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was very difficult. Read more here.

DECEMBER 17

  • The Toronto Blue Jays don't know if they will play home games at  Rogers Centre, their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, or  somewhere else during the 2021 MLB season. This is understandably making recruiting free agents just that much harder for Toronto. "The No. 1 question is if we're going to play in Toronto,"  manager Charlie Montoyo said of discussions with free agents during the  offseason, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). Read more here.

DECEMBER 15

  • Amid the continued uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball hopes to push the start of the 2021 season into May, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes. This would mean a delayed start to spring training and a shorter season than the normal 162-game schedule. The league and the owners want players and all team personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving at spring camp, which doesn’t seem feasible by early to mid-February (the usual start date for spring training) given that coronavirus vaccines are still in the early stages of distribution. Read more here.
  • MLB is reportedly hoping  to delay the 2021 regular season until May, which would set the stage  for a second consecutive shortened campaign. However, the MLBPA fully  plans on returning to a 162-game schedule next year, Evan Drellich of The Athletic reports. Read more here.
  • Washington Nationals manager Davey Martinez says he will take the COVID-19 vaccine when available. However, he won’t force players to be vaccinated. Read more here
  • Agent Scott Boras and MLB disagree over whether the league’s teams lost  money during the pandemic-shortened, spectator-less 2020 season.  Speaking with Jon Heyman of MLB Network and other reporters Tuesday, Boras declared that clubs “lost profits” last season, but they didn’t lose money. Per Heyman, a league spokesman responded that “clubs lost $3B — $100M per team.” Read more here.

DECEMBER 7

  • With MLB and the MLBPA reportedly preparing to ramp up talks on the structure of the 2021 season and the potential continuation of 2020 rule changes, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that Major League Baseball sent a memo to clubs just last week telling them to operate under the assumption that there will not be a universal DH in 2021. It’s not a firm declaration that there will be no NL DH next season, and the two sides will surely discuss the matter further as they also assess 2020 changes like seven-inning doubleheaders, runners on second base in extra innings, roster size and expanded playoffs. Both sides have clear reasons to want the universal DH, and its permanent implementation is broadly seen as a question of “when” that will happen rather than “if” it will happen. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 29

  • The Philadelphia Phillies will be forced to search for a new catcher, preferably one who comes at a much lower price than two-time All-Star J.T. Realmuto. According to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, Phillies owner John Middleton revealed last week that the franchise isn't in a position to re-sign Realmuto, or any big-name free agents, due to coronavirus-related losses totaling nearly $2 billion. Read more here.
  • Additionally, The Philadelphia Phillies laid off 80 employees on Wednesday, reducing their front-office workforce by 20 percent, reports Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 12

  • MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says that the league plans to have fans at games next season, at least in places where government officials will allow them to. Manfred acknowledged that the ballparks would not be at full capacity, as the increased likelihood of an outbreak makes that far too unsafe for the foreseeable future. He did say he hoped "to get people accustomed to the idea that you can go to these live events with appropriate protocols, pods of people, social distancing, masks, and do it safely." Read more here.

NOVEMBER 1

  • MLB commissioner Rob Manfred liked hosting the World Series at a neutral site so much that he’s willing to consider it for the future. Manfred said that there are many reasons a neutral site World Series could be beneficial for the teams involved. He did admit, however, that depriving home fans of seeing their teams in the World Series was a significant drawback. Read more here.
 
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NHL

NHL
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what the NHL has been doing over the past couple of weeks to prepare for he league's resumption:

JANUARY 21

  • The four Washington Capitals players that were placed on the COVID Protocol Related Absences list Wednesday, Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Samsonov, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov, are now in quarantine. All four are expected to miss at least the next four games, according to head coach Peter Laviolette. Laviolette also explained that there was a positive virus case among the Capitals players, which led to contact tracing. Read more here.
  • In the aftermath of the fine and the COVID-19 designation for the four players, Nastya Ovechkin sounded off on the situation in an Instagram story over the arguable hypocrisy of the NHL’s protocols. Read more here.

JANUARY 20

JANUARY 19

  • Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports that the Carolina-Nashville game scheduled for Tuesday evening will be postponed because of a coronavirus situation with the Hurricanes. Read more here.
  • Players in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol include Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen for Carolina; Mikko Koivu for Columbus; Adam Erne and Robby Fabbrie for Detroit; Juho Lammikko for Florida; Alex Stalock for Minnesota; Mikael Granlund for Nashville; Eric Comrie for New Jersey; Shayne Gostisbehere for Philadelphia; Blake Coleman and Curtis McElhinney for Tampa Bay; and Anton Forsberg and Tucker Poolman for Winnipeg. Read more here.

JANUARY 18

  • The Blue Jackets' Mikko Koivu and Red Wings' Adam Erne and Robby Fabbri were out for Monday's Columbus-Detroit game. Each player is in the COVID-19 protocol. Read more here.

JANUARY 16

  •  The Winnipeg Jets are the latest team to postpone scheduled practices, as they announced that the “decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to potential exposure of COVID-19” and that no further information is available at this time. Read more here.

JANUARY 15

  • The 2020-21 Dallas Stars may want to embrace "better late than never" as a mantra. Dallas confirmed on Friday afternoon that its season will begin Jan. 22 with a home game against the Nashville Predators. The Stars had the start of their campaign delayed because of a coronavirus outbreak that, per Emily Kaplan of ESPN, resulted in 17 players testing positive for COVID-19 during training camp. Read more here.

JANUARY 13

JANUARY 12

  • The NHL has decided to share how their health and safety protocols have done so far in hopes that they can continue to improve as the year moves forward. Through two weeks of training camp for 31 organizations, the league estimates that over 12,000 tests for the COVID-19 virus have been administered. The result: just 27 of more than 1,200 players tested received a positive test, with daily testing ongoing for each club since as early as December 30. Read more here.
  • Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning announced that forward J.T. Miller and defenseman Jordie Benn will not be available to the Canucks for the start of the new season as they comply with COVID-19 protocols. Benning did not provide a timeline regarding when the pair will re-join the team, but promised more information will be shared soon. Read more here.

JANUARY 10

  • The Vancouver Canucks announced they have cancelled practice and all workouts Sunday due to concern over potential COVID-19 exposure. The Canucks are the fourth team to be have their training camp interrupted and the first in Canada. Read more here.

JANUARY 9

  • After Columbus and Dallas had to cancel practices on Friday, Pittsburgh has had to do so on Saturday.  The Penguins released a statement to the media, including Mike DeFabo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that the decision to do so “was made out of an abundance of caution due to potential exposure of COVID-19.”  It’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that players have tested positive. Read more here.
  • The WHL has indeed announced a commitment to play the 2020-21 campaign, a season that will last 24 games.  The start date remains to be determined (it had already been pushed back into February) and will be worked on in consultation with the various health authorities.  The WHL has teams in four provinces and two states, so that process will certainly take some time. Read more here.

JANUARY 8

  • The Blue Jackets held several players out of practice Friday "out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with NHL Covid-19 protocols," the team said in a release. The team also canceled a second scheduled practice. Read more here.
  • The Dallas Stars were forced to abruptly cancel practice on Friday and close their training facility after six players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The NHL released a statement Friday announcing that the team's season opener will not be played until Jan. 19 at the earliest following the positive tests. Those who tested positive for the virus are isolating and following CDC and NHL protocols. The training facility will remain closed for the next several days while contact tracing and testing are conducted. Read more here.
  • The Penguins confirmed on Friday that Hall of Fame radio play-by-play announcer Mike Lange has opted out of the start of the campaign due to risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

JANUARY 7

  • When news broke that three AHL teams would be pulling out of the 2020-21 season, it left a question of what the NHL affiliates would do with their minor-league players and prospects. An early report had the St. Louis Blues sending players to the Utica Cometa, while just Wednesday it was announced that the Florida Panthers will be sharing the Syracuse Crunch with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, a similar agreement has been formed between the Nashville Predators, who are normally affiliated with the opting-out Milwaukee Admirals, and the Carolina Hurricanes who will share the Chicago Wolves. Read more here.
  • ESPN's Emily Kaplan reported on Thursday that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators have joined the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens, and Vancouver Canucks among Canadian teams cleared to host in-market regular-season games when the campaign gets underway next Wednesday. While the Winnipeg Jets are still awaiting approval to host opponents at Bell MTS Place, Manitoba acting deputy chief provincial public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal told the Canadian Press (h/t CBC) he's confident the Jets won't run into a last-second hurdle. Read more here.

JANUARY 5

  • Toledo Walleye will not play this ECHL season. Toledo joins the Cincinnati Cyclones, Idaho Steelheads, Kalamazoo Wings, Worcester Railers, Maine Mariners, Reading Royals, Newfoundland Growlers, Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Atlanta Gladiators and Norfolk Admirals as teams that will not play the 2020-21 season but expected to return in 2021-22. Read more here.
  • The NHL sold naming rights for all four of its temporary team groupings. Per an official release, clubs will compete in the Scotia NHL North Division, Honda NHL West Division, Discover NHL Central Division and the MassMutual NHL East Division. As Greg Wyshynski explained for ESPN, 13 franchises have announced sponsors for advertisements placed on player helmets, with more likely to come over the next week. The league is allowing for such ads to account for the financial losses accumulated during the health crisis as organizations continue to stare at the reality of playing games either without fans inside arenas or with venues filled at limited capacities. Read more here.

JANUARY 4

  • The AHL will have a season, but it won’t be with 31 teams. The Charlotte Checkers, Milwaukee Admirals and Springfield Thunderbirds have all elected to opt out of the 2020-21 season. All three will return for 2021-22. After a board of governors call Monday, the league announced realignment for the upcoming season that will see 28 teams operate in five divisions. Several teams have also secured provisional relocations. The league will play a schedule with variable lengths for each division but will have a minimum of 24 games. Read more here.
  • Alongside the news of three teams opting out, four teams temporarily relocating, and realigned divisions for the coming season, more  information continues to emerge following today’s AHL Board of Governors  meeting. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that NHL clubs and their AHL affiliates have been informed that there will be no blanket quarantine period for player recalls and reassignments this season. Instead, quarantine measures will be evaluated on a  case-by-case basis considering the totality of the circumstances. This will include team protocols, travel logistics, and accordance with local  COVID-19 health guidelines. Read more here.

DECEMBER 30

  • The AHL made a huge announcement Wednesday, indicating that the league’s board of governors approved the structural framework that would see the minor league season begin on Feb. 5, 2021. The release did not include any specifics on how exactly the games will be played, rosters structured or revenue generated, but it is still obviously great news for hockey fans across North America. Read more here.

DECEMBER 23

  • The OHL pushed back the start of its season even further, with many now questioning whether it will happen at all. The entire province of Ontario will go into a lockdown on Dec. 26, leading to a decision by the junior league to push things back indefinitely. If the league does eventually cancel the season, it will be a lost year for many prospects trying to further their development. In that scenario, those who are already under NHL contracts could potentially join the teams' taxi squads or report to the AHL (should there be a minor league season). Those who are not signed could potentially also sign amateur contracts with the AHL like they often do after the CHL season ends, but it appears as though many will just lose an entire year of play. Read more here.
 
4 of 18

NFL

NFL
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season started without issues, but the Titans suffered a COVID outbreak, and several big-name Patriots tested positive. As the NFL hopes to continue the season, we'll bring you the latest updates from the league:

JANUARY 20

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs have no new COVID-19 cases as of the halfway point of the week. All four teams are, thus, preparing as normal for Sunday's games that will determine which clubs will compete in Super Bowl LV held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 7. However, the Washington Football Team is dealing with positive COVID-19 cases that are linked with a gathering that occurred after Washington's loss to Tampa Bay on Jan. 9. Read more here.
  • The Washington Football Team closed its facility after a series of COVID-19 cases among coaches and staff members, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. The positive cases stem from a small get-together outside the facility at the conclusion of their season. Read more here.

JANUARY 19

  • We had heard a little over a week ago that the NFL’s annual scouting combine was in doubt, and now we’ve got confirmation of major changes. The league sent a memo to teams, which you can read in full via this tweet from Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, essentially killing the combine as we know it. There will be no mass gathering in Indianapolis, with no on-field in-person workouts happening. Any on-field workouts will happen at individual pro days on college campuses. There are always on-campus pro days, but the league says it will “work with schools to encourage consistency in testing and drills” across campuses. It will also ensure that all teams have access to video from said pro days even if they don’t attend them live. “For a certain number of prospects,” there will also be an in-person medical examination at a designated location “likely in early April.” Each team can send one doctor and one athletic trainer. Read more here.

JANUARY 18

  • Houston Texans fans are not happy with the franchise for how it's handling the ongoing Deshaun Watson situation. With the star quarterback reportedly on the verge of requesting a trade, some fans are planning to take action. Supporters of Watson have been planning a march to defend him. The Clemson product urged them to cancel it on Monday because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

JANUARY 15

  • The Browns have activated left guard Joel Bitonio off of the COVID-19 list, per a club announcement. To make room, the Browns waived safety Tedric Thompson. They will also have head coach Kevin Stefanski back on the sidelines against Kansas City, now that he’s been cleared. Read more here.
  • According to Albert Breer of SI, the NFL spoke with key officials on Friday to flesh out a possible format for the Combine in 2021. The traditional Combine setup in Indianapolis will not happen, and the league instead expects to fan out across the country in order to ensure teams can get a look at top draft prospects. Read more here.

JANUARY 14

  • Cleveland confirmed on Thursday that wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge has been activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Browns added the 26-year-old and also three-time Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio to the list last week, and both missed last Sunday's victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. According to Scott Petrak of the Chronicle-Telegram, the Browns expect to activate Bitonio from the list before Sunday. Read more here.

JANUARY 13

  • Cleveland activated defensive backs Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson off the reserve/COVID list on Wednesday. Both players missed the Browns' last two games, including the wild-card round victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Read more here.
  • ESPN's Field Yates (h/t Rob Demovsky) reported on Wednesday that Jared Veldheer has tested positive for the coronavirus and won't be cleared from the reserve/COVID-19 list for Saturday's NFC divisional-round playoff game versus the Los Angeles Rams. Read more here.

JANUARY 11

  • There's more good news for the Browns. After winning their first playoff game in ages, the team got an “all clear” on their latest round of COVID-19 testing, according to a source who spoke with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Read more here.
  • Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was one of several individuals associated with the team who recently tested positive for COVID-19 and missed Sunday night's playoff victory at the Pittsburgh Steelers. Stefanski told reporters on Monday that he should be good to rejoin his players on Thursday ahead of next Sunday's postseason contest at the Kansas City Chiefs. Read more here.
  • The Buccaneers have activated star linebacker Devin White and defensive lineman Steve McLendon off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Both men missed the regular-season finale and the win at Washington but should be good to go at New Orleans. Read more here.
  • Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that at least one Pittsburgh Steelers player tested positive for the coronavirus less than 24 hours after the Browns downed the Steelers at Heinz Field.  Read more here.

JANUARY 10

  • Unfortunately for 2021 draft prospects, one of the biggest events on the NFL calendar is in danger of being canceled. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL Combine, where teams evaluate draft prospects in Indianapolis every year, could be dropped due to COVID-19. The league is expected to decide this week whether to cancel the event, have a smaller version or use regional combines, per the report. Read more here.
  • Members of the Browns’ coaching staff all drove from Cleveland to Pittsburgh for Sunday’s game rather than flying, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB. The travel arrangements were made as a precaution to both avoid potentially exposing coaches to COVID-19 and allow more space for players to distance on the team flight. Coaches were given the option of driving themselves or having a car service bring them. Read more here.

JANUARY 5

  • Speaking Tuesday during his weekly appearance on 105.3 The Fan, Jerry Jones boasted that the Cowboys broke an attendance record during the pandemic. The Cowboys were unquestionably the most aggressive team in the NFL when it came to the number of fans allowed to attend games. They ended up averaging 27,377 fans at AT&T Stadium for games this season. The high mark came on Nov. 8, when the Cowboys hosted 31,700 fans for a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Team officials reportedly stated that attendance topped 30,000 four times during the Cowboys’ eight-game home slate, per TMZ Sports. Officials in Tarrant County, where AT&T Stadium in located, reported in November that eight individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 informed contract tracers that they recently attended a Cowboys game. Read more here.

DECEMBER 31

DECEMBER 27

  • The NFL is reportedly planning to expand the regular season to 17 games next season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. The 17-game schedule would help the league generate new revenue and could help ease the anticipated dip in the salary cap ahead of next season. Read more here.
  • According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the league fined the Ravens $250,000 for their coronavirus outbreak in November that forced  Baltimore's AFC North showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers to be rescheduled three times. Read more here.

DECEMBER 22

  • Deshaun Watson's restaurant opening went as planned. However, he and his Houston Texans teammates now are facing discipline for gathering outside of the team's facility. According to ESPN's Sarah Barshop, the Texans have fined multiple players an undisclosed amount for attending the grand opening of Watson's new restaurant franchise. Watson, a minority owner of the cheesecake franchise "Lefty's," hosted the opening event last week. Gatherings of more than three players are strictly prohibited due to the NFL's COVID-19 rules. At least six Texans players were in attendance at Watson's event, including Tytus Howard, Laremy Tunsil, Roderick Johnson, Duke Johnson, Brandin Cooks and Charles Omenihu. Read more here.

DECEMBER 19

  • The NFL on Saturday announced a rule change, effective immediately, that would allow players who are already in the league’s testing protocols  to join new teams immediately. That means that a team could sign a quarterback off another team’s practice squad in an emergency without  having to go through the testing process with them. Read more here.

DECEMBER 16

  • Per a letter sent to the president of the host committee for the Super Bowl obtained by the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), the NFL intends to invite vaccinated health care workers to the championship contest. Read more here.

DECEMBER 14

  • With reports circulating that the NHL is planning for private purchases of available COVID-19 vaccines, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has told reporters that his league won't be pursuing any vaccinations before Super Bowl LV occurs on Feb. 7. Read more here.
 
5 of 18

Golf

Golf
Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods recently participated in a charity golf match. Mike Ehrmann-Handout Photo

The latest from the world of golf since competition resumed:

JANUARY 13

  • Todd Kelly of Golfweek noted as recently as last Friday that Waste Management Phoenix Open chairman Scott Jenkins was committed to welcoming fans to TPC Scottsdale for the 2021 tournament scheduled to take place from Feb. 4-7 despite concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Wednesday, Jenkins officially capped the attendance. "We remain hopeful we can host an extremely limited number of socially distanced fans at 'The People’s Open,' and in light of the current COVID climate, we have decided to further reduce our attendance to fewer than 5,000 fans each day," Jenkins said in a statement shared by Josh Frigerio of ABC15 Arizona. The statement added that guests are required to wear masks on the course and also undergo temperature checks before they're permitted on the grounds. Read more here.

JANUARY 12

  • Masters chairman Fred Ridley explained in a prepared statement that officials are working on protocols "to include a limited number of patrons, provided it can be done safely" for this year's event held from April 5-11. It's hoped that "a small number of patrons" will also be allowed to attend the Augusta National Women’s Amateur on April 3 and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on April 4. The Masters added that refunds will be offered to ticket holders not selected for this year's event. Read more here.

DECEMBER 17

  • PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said he does not think that golfers, caddies or officials will be required to get vaccinated for COVID-19, saying that it will be an individual choice for everyone and that "there's still an awful lot that we need to learn and we need to know." Read more here.

NOVEMBER 11

  • There is no guarantee that spectators will be welcomed to the 85th Masters scheduled for next April. "We would need to see objective data that would give us a high level of confidence that we could bring large numbers of people onto the grounds for April,'' Augusta National and Masters chairman Fred Ridley told reporters on Wednesday, per Bob Harig of ESPN. "I think the vaccine — I don't want to get into medical prognostications — but just logically as a layperson, the vaccine while it will be wonderful when it happens, there are all kinds of issues that point to beyond April (for the vaccine) as the silver bullet. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 9

  • Sergio Garcia announced he has tested positive for COVID-19. Garcia was driving home from the Houston Open on Saturday when he "started feeling a bit of a sore throat and a cough." The 40-year-old still had a sore throat and a cough when he woke up on Sunday, so he and his wife Angela decided to get tested. While his wife tested negative, Garcia discovered that he had tested positive and, as a result, would miss the Masters. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 16

  • PGA Tour of Australasia Tournaments director Nick Dastey confirmed that the Australian PGA Championship has been postponed until at least February 2021 due to concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 14

  • Englishman Sam Horsfield became the second player to withdraw from the upcoming U.S. Open due to a positive coronavirus test. The 23-year-old confirmed the news and explained he is asymptomatic via a statement he released on Twitter. Scottie Scheffler returned a positive at-home test and withdrew from the U.S. Open on Sunday. Read more here.
 
6 of 18

NASCAR

NASCAR
Kevin Harvick won the Real Heroes 400. Brynn Anderson-Pool Photo

What's the latest from the world of NASCAR:

JULY 16

  • Over 20,000 fans were in attendance at NASCAR All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway to watch fan-favorite Chase Elliott pull off another win. The event is believed to have the highest attendance of any sporting event in America since the pandemic began. Read more here.

JULY 10

  • Jimmie Johnson was forced to miss a race for the first time in his career following a positive coronavirus test, and he expressed his confusion with the whole situation, as he never had any symptoms and tested negative just three days later. "My first response was just anger. I started cussing and used every cuss word that I knew of and I think invented a few new ones," Johnson said. "It was just so weird — the anger — because I've been asymptomatic. Anger hits. Read more here.

JUNE 30

 
7 of 18

NCAA athletics

NCAA athletics
NCAA president Mark Emmert Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Several conferences announced that fall sports would canceled, the biggest among them being the Big Ten and Pac-12. However, the B1G and Pac-12 reversed course and completed their seasons. Meanwhile, the ACC, SEC and Big 12 were always determined to play fall sports, and they were also able to complete their seasons. On January 11, the Alabama Crimson Tide won the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Here is the fallout from the most recent news from the NCAA:

JANUARY 21

  • In what's been a rarity among schools during the coronavirus pandemic, both the men's and women's basketball teams of the Old Dominion Monarchs announced on Thursday that they are pausing activities due to COVID-19 issues. Old Dominion confirmed the discovery of positive COVID-19 results among the Tier 1 groups that include players, coaches, managers and support staff. The programs did not disclose how many people tested positive or how long the pause will last. As a result, the men's and women's Old Dominion teams won't play scheduled games against the North Texas Mean Green on Friday and Saturday. It remains unknown if the Monarchs will be cleared to face the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers/Western Kentucky Lady Toppers on Jan. 29 and Jan. 30. Read more here.

JANUARY 19

  • The Boston College Eagles won't be able to play at the No. 16-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies on Wednesday night. Bothschools confirmed that the Atlantic Coast Conference postponed Wednesday's game because of a positive COVID-19 test, subsequent quarantines and contact tracing impacting the Boston College team. No makeup date for the matchup was included in the brief statements shared by the programs. Read more here.
  • Both Texas Tech and the Iowa State Cyclones have confirmed that Saturday's men's basketball game between the two schools has been postponed due to ongoing COVID-19 issues affecting Iowa State. Iowa State hasn't competed since falling to 2-7 overall via a 91-64 loss to Texas Tech on Jan. 9 and has since had four contests postponed. Read more here.
  • South Florida men's basketball confirmed on Wednesday that it is pausing activities indefinitely due to the program's COVID-19 protocols. As a result, Sunday's game at the Wichita State Shockers and the Jan. 27 showdown with the Temple Owls have both been postponed. Read more here.

JANUARY 18

  • Baylor Lady Bears head coach Kim Mulkey held nothing back when speaking with reporters about the NCAA continuing college basketball seasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic following Saturday's 75-71 loss to the Iowa State Cyclones. “The answer is this: The season will continue on. It’s called the almighty dollar,” Mulkey said, according to The Associated Press (h/t Chicago Sun-Times). "The NCAA has to have the almighty dollar from the men’s tournament. The almighty dollar is more important than the health and welfare of me, the players or anybody else. One conference does this, one conference does that. The (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says this. Everybody is confused. I’m confused. I’m uncomfortable coaching. I understand, COVID is real. I’ve had it — come talk to me sometime. But I don’t know ... all the calls and procedures, that’s gonna go on and make it unusual, uncomfortable for every program. We’re no different at Baylor." Read more here.
  • Legendary UConn Huskies women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma responded to those comments by Mulkey during a Monday Zoom call and added that he believes most players want to complete the campaign despite risks associated with the health crisis. Read more here.
  • The Vanderbilt Commodores women's basketball team announced on Monday that it is discontinuing the remainder of the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19 issues, injuries and player opt-outs. The Commodores join the Duke Blue Devils, Virginia Cavaliers and San Jose State Spartans among women's teams that prematurely ended seasons amid the health crisis. Vanderbilt went 4-4 overall and 0-3 in SEC play. Read more here.
  • The Oregon Ducks men's basketball team, ranked No. 21 in the nation, announced on Monday that it has been cleared to resume activities ahead of this coming Saturday's home game versus the Oregon State Beavers. Read more here.

JANUARY 15

  • On Thursday, the South Carolina Gamecocks confirmed that men's basketball head coach Frank Martin and two of his staff members wouldn't be traveling for Saturday's game at the LSU Tigers due to health and safety protocols related to COVID-19. On Friday, Martin confirmed that he tested positive for the coronavirus for the second time. The 54-year-old announced in June that he tested positive for COVID-19 the previous month. Martin was sure to note on Friday that things were different and more challenging this time around. Saturday's game between South Carolina and LSU remains on, as scheduled. Gamecocks assistant Bruce Shingler will serve as acting head coach during Martin's absence. Read more here.
  • Saturday's rivalry men's basketball showdown between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Oklahoma Sooners is off. Jacob Unruh of The Oklahoman was the first to report that the matchup has been postponed because of a positive COVID-19 test result and subsequent contact tracing impacting the Cowboys. Unruh added that the Oklahoma State program is going on pause because of the coronavirus-related issues. According to Unruh, Oklahoma forwards Brady Manek and Jalen Hill missed the past two games because of COVID-19 issues. Manek likely was out through at least Saturday, but it was hoped Hill could play against Oklahoma State. Read more here.
  • The Baylor Lady Bears, ranked No. 6 in the country, haven't competed since going on a coronavirus-related pause on Jan. 5 but are expected to return to action for Saturday's home game against the Iowa State Cyclones. Baylor may be without head coach Kim Mulkey, however. Mulkey missed her team's victory over the TCU Horned Frogs on Jan. 2 because she had been exposed to an infected family member and then tested positive for COVID-19 days later. She explained at that time that she hoped to rejoin the team on Jan. 15, but school officials have confirmed that her status for the Iowa State clash won't be revealed until Saturday. Bill Brock served as interim Baylor head coach against TCU and would remain in that role if Mulkey can't attend the matchup against the Cyclones. Read more here.

JANUARY 14

  • Virginia women's basketball program announced that it would be canceling the remainder of its season, making the Cavaliers the second women's school in the ACC to opt out of finishing the scheduled season, citing "health and safety concerns." Virginia had not played a game in over a month, with six games being canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. So far, Virginia and Duke's women's teams are the only major basketball programs to opt out of the remainder of their seasons. Read more here.
  • The men's basketball program of the East Carolina Pirates had Wednesday's showdown with the Cincinnati Bearcats postponed and have now had at least two more games temporarily called off because of coronavirus-related complications. Read more here.
  • The Atlantic 10 confirmed on Thursday that the 2021 men's basketball championship tournament will be relocated from Barclays Center in Brooklyn to the campus of a conference member because of issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
  • Summit League commissioner Tom Douple confirmed on Thursday that the men's and women's basketball conference championship tournaments will be relocated from the Denny Sanford Premier Center to the smaller Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota because of issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

JANUARY 13

  • Michigan State Spartans coach Tom Izzo confirmed on Wednesday that guard Steven Izzo, his son, and center Mady Sissoko have tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.
  • The Georgetown men's basketball team has confirmed that Wednesday's home game against the DePaul Blue Demons has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues affecting the Hoyas. Additionally, Matt Norlander of CBS Sports tweeted that Georgetown is temporarily pausing team activities because of coronavirus-related concerns. As a result, Georgetown's road games at the Providence Friars on Saturday and at the Marquette Golden Eagles on Jan. 20 are also expected to be rescheduled. Read more here.

JANUARY 12

  • Tuesday's men's basketball game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the No. 10-ranked Tennessee Volunteers won't occur as scheduled. The Commodores confirmed that they will be unable to take the court due to positive COVID-19 test results, contact tracing and subsequent quarantines. No potential makeup date for the contest had been announced as of early Tuesday afternoon. Read more here.
  • The women's basketball team of the Villanova Wildcats has become the latest to go on pause because of coronavirus-related concerns. Villanova's brief statement on the matter merely explains that the team is dealing with COVID-19 issues. As a result, games against the Providence Friars on Wednesday, the No. 4-ranked UConn Huskies on Saturday and the No. 19-ranked DePaul Blue Demons on Jan. 20 have all been postponed. Makeup dates for those contests haven't yet been determined. Read more here.
  • The men's basketball team of the West Virginia Mountaineers, ranked No. 13 in the country, made news on Monday by announcing it wouldn't play against the Baylor Bears on Tuesday because of COVID-19 issues. West Virginia has since confirmed that home games against the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday and versus the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Jan. 19 have also been postponed. Read more here.

JANUARY 11

  • Ohio State will be without 13 players for the title game, including kicker Blake Haubeil, nose tackle Tommy Togiai and defensive end Tyreke Smith will all miss the game. Those players are all starters. The Buckeyes will also be without Miyan Williams, Ty Hamilton and Dawand Jones. Another kicker, Dominic DiMaccio, will also miss the game. Read more here.

JANUARY 8

  • The men's basketball program of the Georgia State Panthers has postponed two games and is going on pause for at least a week. Georgia State's back-to-back series against the Troy Trojans scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday was scrapped due to COVID-19 issues impacting the Panthers. According to an official school statement, Georgia State discovered multiple positive coronavirus test results within its Tier 1 group that includes players, coaches, team managers and support staff. Read more here.
  • On Friday, the men's basketball program of the No. 13-ranked Missouri Tigers became the latest to halt activities because of COVID-19 issues. As a result of the pause, Missouri's home game against the LSU Tigers scheduled to take place on Saturday night is postponed. No new date for that matchup was included in the school's official statement, and it's also unknown how many positive coronavirus tests, if any, were recently recorded among Missouri players or staff members. Read more here.
  • The men's basketball team of the Clemson Tigers, ranked No. 19 in the country, announced on Friday that it is temporarily pausing basketball-related activities due to the discovery of a positive COVID-19 test result and subsequent contact tracing within its student-athletes, coaches and staff members. Read more here.
  • George Washington confirmed on Friday afternoon that it is temporarily pausing basketball-related activities following the discovery of a positive COVID-19 test result among a Tier 1 staff member within the traveling party. Read more here.

JANUARY 7

  • The women's basketball team of the South Carolina Gamecocks, ranked No. 5 in the country, won't play against the Georgia Lady Bulldogs on Thursday. "Following the results of Wednesday's COVID-19 testing, South Carolina women's basketball has paused all team activities until further test results are received," South Carolina announced in an official statement. "As a result of the combination of the positive test, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the program, Thursday's game against Georgia has been postponed, consistent with Southeastern Conference COVID-19 management requirements." No makeup date for the game had been determined as of early Thursday afternoon. Read more here.

JANUARY 6

  • The women's basketball team of the UConn Huskies, ranked No. 3 in the nation, is struggling to return to action following a 75-52 win over the DePaul Blue Demons on Dec. 29. UConn's game versus the Xavier Musketeers scheduled for Jan. 13 has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues impacting Xavier. In a prepared statement, the Musketeers announced they are pausing team activities following contact tracing protocols. Read more here.
  • Penn State men's basketball has temporarily paused all team activities because of positive coronavirus test results within Tier 1 personnel. As a result, games versus the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday and against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights next Tuesday are postponed. Read more here.

JANUARY 5

  • A highly anticipated women's college basketball game between the No. 6-ranked Baylor Lady Bears and UConn Huskies, No. 3 in the nation, is off. Baylor has confirmed that its program is temporarily restricting team activities after head coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. The Lady Bears will conduct additional testing to determine their next steps but did announce that they won't face UConn on Thursday, as planned. In the prepared statement, Mulkey explained that she was exposed to an active coronavirus case on Christmas Day. That caused her to miss her team's victory over the TCU Horned Frogs this past Saturday even though she produced three negative tests before that contest. Read more here.

JANUARY 4

  • The men's basketball program of the Villanova Wildcats announced on Monday that it is going back on pause because of COVID-19 issues. As a result, the Big East has postponed Villanova's upcoming games against the DePaul Blue Demons (Tuesday), the Marquette Golden Eagles (Friday), and the Xavier Musketeers (Jan. 13). The Wildcats remain scheduled to face the UConn Huskies on Jan. 15. Read more here.
  • Tennessee announced on Monday that its women's basketball program has been cleared to resume team activities ahead of Thursday's showdown with the No. 13-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. The Lady Vols temporarily paused all activities last Tuesday because of the discovery of a positive COVID-19 test among players, coaches, team managers and support staff. As a result of that decision, Tennessee's games against the Texas A&M Aggies and Kentucky Wildcats were postponed by the Southeastern Conference. According to Mechelle Voepel of ESPN, those contests have not yet been rescheduled. Read more here.

DECEMBER 17

  • Per Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports, Houston basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson told reporters on Thursday that "all 15  players" and also some coaches associated with the Cougars tested  positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.

DECEMBER 14

  • The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee announced that the 2021 women's 64-team basketball tournament will be held at one location. Additionally, the committee has already begun preliminary talks with San Antonio, which was set to host the women's Final Four, about holding the entire competition. Read more here.
 
8 of 18

Tennis

Tennis
Wimbledon was canceled for the first time in 75 years. Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what has happened most recently in the world of tennis:

JANUARY 14

  • Andy Murray may be forced to miss the Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 a few days before his scheduled flight to Melbourne. An official statement from the Australian Open said that Murray was self-isolating at his home in England. Read more here.
  • American tennis star Sloane Stephens shared heartbreaking news via Twitter on Thursday when she announced that both her grandmother and aunt passed away due to COVID-19. Read more here.
  • American tennis star Madison Keys took to Twitter on Thursday to announce that she tested positive for COVID-19 and won't be able to travel for the 2021 Australian Open. Keys, currently No. 16 in the official WTA rankings, added that she hopes to resume play at some point next month. Read more here.
  • Tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem will both be without their coaches at the Australian Open that gets underway on Feb. 8. Nadal's coach Carlos Moya is not traveling to Australia because of the country's strict health and safety protocols that include a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Thiem's coach Nicolas Massu tested positive for COVID-19 but is hoping to receive clearance to travel if he returns negative tests. Reuters added, though, that travel restrictions will likely prevent Massu from joining Thiem's team at Melbourne Park. Read more here.

DECEMBER 30

  • American tennis player Sam Querrey made headlines in October when he and his wife were accused of fleeing Russia after  they, along with their baby son, allegedly tested positive for COVID-19  ahead of the St. Petersburg Open. On Wednesday, the ATP announced its ruling on the matter. Per an official statement, the ATP handed Querrey a $20,000  fine for actions "contrary to the integrity of the game under the Player  Major Offense provision in the ATP Code of Conduct." Read more here.

DECEMBER 2

  • As had been expected throughout the fall, it appears the start of the 2021 Australian Open will be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The beginning of next year's first grand slam will be postponed by three weeks and is slated for Feb. 8. This, per a memo sent to players by Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley that was obtained by sources, will allow participants to arrive in Melbourne between Jan. 15-17 and return negative coronavirus test results before they commence training. Tennis Australia will charter flights for players and coaches, and mandatory 14-day quarantines will begin only once individuals arrive at the bubble site. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 30

  • Spaniard and former top-10 player Fernando Verdasco has told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser that he wants to sue the French Open over the alleged "false positive" coronavirus test result that caused him to be dropped from this year's tournament. Read more here
 
9 of 18

Pro wrestling

Pro wrestling
This year's WrestleMania still took place. Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com-NorthJersey

Pro wrestling news over the past few weeks:

JANUARY 11

  • WWE champion Drew McIntyre tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in quarantine. As Joseph Currier of the Wrestling Observer noted, this is the first time that WWE confirmed the identity of a roster member who returned a positive coronavirus test since the start of the pandemic. According to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com, multiple wrestling brands that have national television deals are currently dealing with COVID-19 issues. Read more here.

SEPTEMER 24

  • Back in March, Roman Reigns decided to opt out of WrestleMania 36 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During an appearance on "WWE After the Bell" with "SmackDown" announcer Corey Graves, Reigns explained his choice, saying that it was entirely based on keeping his family safe. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 2

  • Legendary wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shared on Instagram that he, his wife, and his two baby daughters all tested positive for the coronavirus. The Rock says they got the virus from close family friends. He said overcoming the virus was harder than recovering from injuries he’s dealt with in the past. Read more here.
 
10 of 18

UFC

UFC
Henry Cejudo (red gloves) fights Dominick Cruz (blue gloves) during UFC 249. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

JANUARY 21

  • Mixed martial arts legend Fedor Emelianenko (39-6-0), one of the most popular fighters in the world during his prime, confirmed via Instagram that he is currently hospitalized in Russia while battling COVID-19. Read more here.

JANUARY 8

  • For the first time since the UFC temporarily halted its schedule last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the promotion will hold shows in front of a limited number of paying fans. As ESPN's Brett Okamoto explained on Friday, an undefined number of spectators will be permitted to attend the UFC events held at the "Fight Island" site on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 16, Jan. 20 and Jan. 23. Read more here.
 
11 of 18

Boxing

Boxing
The third installment of Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin will be postponed. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

What's new in boxing:

OCTOBER 8

  • The unified welterweight title fight between champion Errol Spence Jr. and challenger Danny Garcia has been moved to Dec. 5 at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas. The bout was originally planned for Nov. 21 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, but promoters had placed holds on other venues with the hope that spectators could attend despite concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Seats for the upcoming boxing event will be sold in "pods" to allow for social distancing. Attendees will be required to wear masks or other face coverings when not actively eating or drinking. Read more here.
 
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Summer Olympics

Summer Olympics
The 2020 Summer Games were pushed to 2021. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The latest from the IOC:

OCTOBER 3

  • With the NBA expecting the 2020-21 season to start this upcoming January at the earliest, the league’s players would likely not participate in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, per commissioner Adam Silver. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the 2020 Olympics to be postponed, thus casting doubt on NBA players being able to participate. Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 8

  • Japanese Games Minister Seiko Hashimoto voiced a sense of urgency about the Olympics happening next year, saying that they should not be postponed again "at any cost." Read more here.
  • Olympic great Kerri Walsh Jennings is drawing attention for two recent posts on Instagram. The first post advocated for people to get back to life and improve their health to best combat the virus. The part of her post that irritated many readers was when she said she went shopping without a mask. After receiving many complaints about her post, Walsh Jennings posted on the subject a day later. In the second post, Walsh Jennings posted an image saying she was looking for a “truce.” Read more here.

SEPTEMBER 7

  • Senior IOC official John Coates said the 2021 Olympics "will take place with or without COVID." Read more here.

AUGUST 25

  • Eight-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record sprinter Usain Bolt celebrated his 34th birthday, which occurred on Aug. 21, with a party that reportedly included visitors not wearing masks despite concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Jamaica's health ministry confirmed that the charismatic multi-sport athlete tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.

JULY 21

  • The Kyodo news agency released a poll last week that showed just how little support the Olympics currently have in Japan, with only 23.9% of Japanese citizens polled supporting the Olympics being in Tokyo next summer. Meanwhile, 36.4% said they believed the Olympics need to be delayed again, and 34% said they would support the event being canceled altogether. Read more here.

JULY 11

  • Team USA basketball coach Gregg Popovich had some encouraging words about the Olympics taking place next summer. Per the Associated Press' Tim Reynolds, Pop cited Japan's successful response to the pandemic for why he's optimistic the Olympics can take place in Tokyo in 2021. Read more here.

JUNE 30

  • The International Olympic Committee says it will provide added support services to athletes worldwide through Athlete365, as an added layer to help them with the challenges that have arisen amid the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of this year's games.

MAY 20

  • IOC president Thomas Bach said, “You cannot have the athletes being in uncertainty,” according to the BBC.

APRIL 28

  • Tokyo Games president Yoshiro Mori said these Olympics would be canceled entirely if they can’t take place on the new date. Read more here.

MARCH 29

  • The 2020 Summer Games were set to take place in Tokyo July 24 through Aug. 9 but now are tentatively scheduled for July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. The sad truth is that no one knows what the world will look like a year from now and whether the games can take place then either. Read more here.
 
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MLS, NWSL

MLS, NWSL
MLS and NWSL continue to be on hold. Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

MLS and NWSL most recent developments:

JANUARY 5

  • United States Women's National Team superstar Alex Morgan confirmed on Tuesday that she is recovering after testing positive for COVID-19. According to ESPN, the U.S. will announce call-ups for a January training camp on Wednesday. It's unlikely Morgan will participate. Read more here.

DECEMBER 10

DECEMBER 9

  • Columbus Crew mixed some concerning news with positivity ahead of Saturday's MLS Cup final against the Seattle Sounders. The Crew confirmed on Wednesday that one player has recently tested positive for COVID-19. However, "no additional confirmed positives for players or staff were returned following two days of testing results on Monday and additional testing results returned Tuesday night." Columbus added that six players who were previously unavailable during the postseason due to positive coronavirus test results have returned to training. Per Jeff Carlisle of ESPN, the Crew expect to have a seventh player back in training on Thursday. Read more here.

DECEMBER 5

  • The Columbus Crew, New England Revolution, Seattle Sounders, and  Minnesota United are the last four teams standing of the Major League  Soccer season unlike any in history. It's possible none will host the MLS Cup final on Dec. 12. ESPN's Jeff Carlisle and Kyle Bonagura reported on Friday that the North American top flight is considering  multiple contingency plans for the final, including hosting it at a  neutral venue. Specifically, the ESPN story lists Exploria Stadium, home  of Orlando City SC, as a possible site for the title game. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 20

  • Friday night's Inter Miami at Nashville SC MLS Cup playoff game is still on, as scheduled, despite Miami dealing with worrisome COVID-19 issues. Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald was the first to report that Miami starters Gonzalo Higuain and Gonzalez Pirez, along with Gonzalo's brother Federico Higuain, tested positive for the virus and didn't travel to Nashville for the postseason fixture. Two reserve players who wouldn't have been in the Miami squad for Friday's contest also tested positive. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 18

  • MLS playoff protocols allow for the rescheduling of postseason games if a virus outbreak affects one or both teams involved. With the MLS Cup slated for Dec. 12 and the league looking to begin the 2021 campaign in early March because of calendar congestion caused by multiple international tournaments and dates, teams could be bounced from the league playoffs if sidelined indefinitely due to COVID-19 issues. In such scenarios, the club battling the outbreak and subsequent quarantines will forfeit. If both teams aren't cleared to play during a playoff round, though, the club with the higher regular-season points-per-game average will go through. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 13

  • Despite concerns related to the worsening health crisis, MLS is aiming for its typical turnaround before the start of the upcoming season. In a statement shared by Jeff Carlisle of ESPN, MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said the plan is to start the 2021 campaign in early March due to schedule congestion caused by multiple international tournaments and dates. "Based on the crowded international calendar next year, we are targeting to start our season in early March as usual," Abbott explained. It's believed clubs will host matches in-market as they did following the MLS is Back tournament. Read more here.
 
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International soccer

International soccer
Some soccer leagues overseas have resumed play, albeit in empty stadiums. Ulrich Hufnagel/Xinhua/Sipa USA

Most recent news from international soccer circles:

JANUARY 15

  • Reigning Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain confirmed on Friday that new manager Mauricio Pochettino tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here.

JANUARY 7

  • Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is currently isolating away from the Spanish giants after he came in direct contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. Zidane missed a Thursday practice session and is awaiting the results of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and an antigen test. He previously tested negative in a rapid test but wasn't cleared to return to club activities because of his direct contact. Read more here.

JANUARY 4

  • Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and, later, England Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new national restrictions on Monday due to rising coronavirus cases in those countries. As Sky Sports explained, however, the English Premier League and other elite sports competitions, such as the rugby Gallagher Premiership, will be permitted to continue. Similar to major North American sports leagues, the English top-flight utilizes strict COVID-19 testing to prevent outbreaks among athletes and other personnel. Read more here.
  • Wednesday's La Liga showdown between Spanish giants Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao is in question after Barca confirmed on Monday that two members of their first-team staff tested positive for COVID-19. "As a result the training session planned for tomorrow Tuesday at 11.00  am CET has been postponed," Barcelona explained in a statement. Read more here.

DECEMBER 3

  • As Kieran Canning wrote for Agence France-Presse (h/t Yahoo Sports), Arsenal became the first top-flight English club to welcome fans to a stadium in 270 days since the COVID-19 pandemic caused the temporary stoppages of football competitions around the world. Read more here.

NOVEMBER 16

  • In a statement translated by a report from Alex Kirkland of ESPN, the Uruguayan Football Association confirmed that Luis Suarez tested positive for COVID-19 during the current international break. "The Uruguayan football association reports that swab tests have been performed on all members of the National Team, and the players Luis Suarez and Rodrigo Munoz and team official Matias Faral have tested positive for COVID-19, while the other members of the party have tested negative," the AUF explained. Read more here.

OCTOBER 30

  • Italian Serie A giants Juventus confirmed on Friday that superstar Cristiano Ronaldo tested negative for COVID-19 nearly three weeks after he tested positive for the virus while on international duty with Portugal. "The exam provided a negative result," Juventus explained of Ronaldo's latest diagnostic test. "The player has, therefore, recovered after 19 days and is no longer subjected to home isolation." Read more here.

OCTOBER 26

  • Hours before AC Milan were scheduled to face Roma in a Monday Serie A clash, Milan confirmed that goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and winger Jens Petter Hauge tested positive for the coronavirus. Three staff members also tested positive and were placed in isolation. Read more here.

OCTOBER 13

  • Cristiano Ronaldo has become the latest major athlete to test positive for the coronavirus, as the Portuguese Football Federation announced that the superstar striker has officially started self-isolating following the positive test. Read more here.
 
15 of 18

WNBA

WNBA
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

WNBA's latest developments:

OCTOBER 7

  • The WNBA was able to complete its season, with the Breanna Stewart-led Seattle Storm beating the Las Vegas Aces in the Finals. Read more here.
 
16 of 18

International baseball

International baseball
While MLB remains on hold, baseball has resumed overseas. Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

What has happened in international baseball:

JULY 8

  • During a recent game against the Rakuten Eagles, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks employed 20 dancing robots to liven things up. The two kinds of robots, SoftBank’s humanoid robot ‘Pepper’ and others on four legs, engaged in a choreographed dance to the team’s fight song. Read more here.

JULY 1

  • The Mexican Baseball League has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 season, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN). The league's clubs earn the majority of their revenues from gate sales and in-person purchases. Sporting events throughout Mexico currently can only occur behind closed doors and without spectators. The season was scheduled to start Aug. 7. Read more here.
 
17 of 18

eSports

eSports
eSports has thrived under lockdown during the pandemic. The Commercial Appeal-Imagn Content Services, LLC

esports carries on:


MAY 19

  • Esports’ popularity has experienced an uptick on both sides of the remote, as CNBC’s Bob Woods reported on May 19 that streaming website Twitch experienced a “23% surge in viewership in March,” coinciding with the time frame when much of the country started to stay home.

MAY 4

  • While the pandemic is having a negative effect on the sports world, it’s been business as usual for esports and gaming. Participants can easily play while maintaining social distancing guidelines since gaming takes place online. In fact, esports has been flourishing. Texas A&M head esports coach Travis Yang told KSAT.com that there has been a “noticeable increase” in gamers and tournaments as people were forced to stay at home.
 
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One-off events

One-off events
The Boston Marathon was canceled for the first time in 124 years. Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Most recent developments among other sports:

AUGUST 21

  • After hoping to allow a decreased percentage of spectators to the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced on Friday afternoon that no fans will be welcomed to the event postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

AUGUST 4

  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway has once again reversed course and declared that the Indianapolis 500 held on Aug. 23 will occur without fans in the stands due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

JULY 1

  • The 2020 Mexico City Marathon announced that the race scheduled for Aug. 30 is canceled. According to Mexico News Daily, the event drew roughly 30,000 runners last year. Read more here.

JUNE 26

  • The Indianapolis 500, set for Aug. 23, became the latest American sporting event to welcome fans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles confirmed the news, stating, "We will be limiting attendance to approximately 50 percent of venue capacity." Per Shanna McCarriston of CBS Sports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway carries a capacity of around 235,000. The official announcement also explained that individuals who do not wish to attend, such as those considered high-risk, will receive credits. Safety items such as masks and hand sanitizer will be distributed to all race attendees. Read more here.

JUNE 24

  • The world's largest marathon in New York City has officially been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jackie Salo of the New York Post. The five-borough race, which hosts more than 50,000 runners from across the globe, would've celebrated its 50th anniversary on Nov. 1. It is now set to take place on Nov. 7, 2021. Read more here.

JUNE 23

  • The Haspa Marathon Hamburg, which was postponed from April, is set to occur on Sept. 13. The race is expecting 10,000 to 14,000 runners. However, Americans might not be among thm. Action Network's Darren Rovell reported that runners from "higher-risk COVID areas" will not be allowed to participate. A higher-risk area could include the United States. Read more here.

JUNE 13

  • Approximately 20,000 rugby fans in New Zealand packed the stands to watch the Otago Highlanders take on the Waikato Chiefs in the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. New Zealand lifted nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions earlier in the week, as no new cases have been reported for more than 20 days and the death toll is at just 22 in the country since the pandemic started. Read more here.

MAY 28

  • The Boston Marathon, originally scheduled for April 20 but postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, was canceled and converted into a virtual experience. It's the first time in 124 years the Marathon won't run. Read more here.

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