Mikaela Shiffrin’s chances of extending her three-year reign as overall champion took another hit when the World Cup skiing finals were canceled Friday because of the virus outbreak.
Shiffrin already lost her lead in the standings because of a month-long absence following the death of her father.
Shiffrin announced on Thursday that she was returning to the circuit in Europe but now she has only one set of races left in Åre, Sweden — if she enters — to try to erase her 153-point deficit to Italian rival Federica Brignone.
Considering the virus, the Italian Winter Sports Federation was hoping to host the finals, scheduled for March 18-22 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, without fans. But during an emergency International Ski Federation board meeting on Friday, every nation besides Italy voted to cancel the event, the Italian federation said.
“It’s with great disappointment that I accept this decision,” Italian federation president Flavio Roda said. “Every member of the board made their decision based on limitations that their respective governments have imposed in relation to the virus.”
World Cup rules prevent the finals from being moved to another location.
Nearly 150 people have died in Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe, and more than 3,000 have tested positive for the virus. Many nations have imposed travel restrictions to Italy.
A total of nine events were schedule for Cortina: four men’s races, four women’s races and a team parallel event.
The cancellation leaves only two weekends of racing left for the men, with Alexis Pinturault leading the overall standings, 26 points ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and 107 points ahead of Henrik Kristoffersen.
Marcel Hirscher, who won the overall title the last eight years, retired before this season.
The men’s title will be decided by speed races in Kvitfjell, Norway, this weekend, and tech races in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, next weekend.
If she races, Shiffrin will be among the favorites in the three races in Åre beginning next Thursday: a parallel slalom, a giant slalom and a slalom.
The American skier announced in a video posted on Instagram that she was flying to Scandinavia this week.
“I have no promises if I’ll actually be able to race,” Shiffrin said in a six-minute video message that addressed the emotions about her father, Jeff, who died on Feb. 2.
Shiffrin said she had trained a little but with difficulty.
Also in contention for the women’s title is Petra Vlhová. She is 189 points behind Brignone, who is attempting to become the first Italian woman to win the large crystal globe.
The races in Cortina were slated to be the first major test of a new men’s course for next year’s world championships in the Italian resort. The resort known as “the Queen of the Dolomites” is also slated to host skiing during the Milan-Cortina Olympics in 2026.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The resurgence of coronavirus cases engulfing the United States and Europe is imperiling economic recoveries on both sides of the Atlantic as millions of individuals and businesses face the prospect of having to hunker down once again.
Growing fear of an economic reversal coincided with a report Thursday that the U.S. economy grew at a record 33.1 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. Even with that surge, the world’s largest economy has yet to fully rebound from its plunge in spring when the virus first erupted. And now the economy is slowing just as new confirmed viral cases accelerate and rescue aid from Washington has dried up.
If many consumers and companies choose — or are forced — to retrench again in response to the virus as they did in the spring, the pullback in spending and hiring could derail economic growth. Already, in the United and Europe, some governments are re-imposing restrictions to help stem the spread of the virus.
In Chicago, where Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois has banned indoor dining and drinking, Grant DePorter, who runs Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group, worries that the blow to restaurants and their employees could be severe.
When indoor dining was first shut down in the spring, he noted, employees could get by thanks to a $600-a-week federal unemployment benefit. That benefit has expired.
“Everyone is incredibly disappointed by the state’s decision,” DePorter said.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron has declared a nationwide lockdown starting Friday. And in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a four-week shutdown of bars, restaurants and theaters. Merkel warned of a “difficult winter” as Germany’s daily reported coronavirus cases hit a new high Thursday.
In Rheinberg, Germany, Michael Boehm had set up plastic igloos outside his restaurant to welcome guests during the winter. But Germany’s new restrictions, Boehm said, will threaten businesses like his by forcing them to provide only take-away meals through November.
“People prefer to sit outside,” he said ruefully. “We do everything possible, my colleagues do everything possible, too, to ensure that our guests come home healthy.”
A major uncertainty is whether most people will abide by government directives or whether the resistance to lockdowns and other restrictions that have emerged in parts of the United States and Europe will slow progress in controlling the pandemic. President Donald Trump, facing an election in five days, has loudly denounced states and cities that have imposed restrictions on businesses to help control the pandemic. And many of his supporters have registered their agreement.
In Spain, some regions have closed bars and restaurants. But the government hasn’t provided subsidies to aid the proprietors, triggering protests in Barcelona this week by business owners who banged pots, waved cocktail shakers and chanted, “We want to work!”
The U.S. government’s estimate Thursday of third-quarter growth showed that the economy has regained only about two-thirds of the output that was lost early this year when the eruption of the virus closed businesses, threw tens of millions out of work and caused the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
The economy is now weakening again and facing renewed threats. Confirmed viral cases are surging. Hiring has sagged. Federal stimulus has run out. With no further federal aid in sight this year, Goldman Sachs has slashed its growth forecast for the current fourth quarter to a 3 percent annual rate from 6 percent.
Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, noted that the record-high third quarter growth in the nation’s gross domestic product “tells us little, if anything, about momentum heading into” the current quarter.
“The strong GDP performance gives a false impression of the economy’s true health,” Daco wrote in a research note. “We anticipate a much slower second phase of the recovery.”
Likewise in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, Oxford Economics has raised the possibility that its already pessimistic forecast of 1.2 percent growth for the fourth quarter will have to be downgraded. Oxford’s forecast is based on an index that reflects credit card payments, online restaurant reservations, health statistics and mobility data.
Another setback for the U.S. economy would again most likely imperil front-line service companies — from restaurants and bars to hotels, airlines and entertainment venues. Boeing, for example, said this week that it will cut 7,000 more jobs because the pandemic has smothered demand for new planes.
Perhaps no economic sector is under a darker cloud than the bar and restaurant industry, which is both vulnerable to the spread of the virus and deeply affected by government restrictions.
Dr. Emily Landon, a medical director at the University of Chicago’s medical school, said two factors facilitate the virus’s spread in winter, especially at restaurants: Colder air is drier, and the droplets that transmit the virus become even smaller.
Add to that, she said, what people do in a bar or restaurant.
“There are only a couple activities where you have to take your masks off around other people, and that is dining in a restaurant and going to a bar,” Landon noted. “There is just no way to escape the risks (of COVID-19) when you go into a restaurant.”
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, warned that the job market might not fully recover until perhaps 2023 because “many of the jobs in retailing, leisure and airlines have been permanently lost, and those folks will have to find different work, and that will take time.”
In contrast to the hospitality sector, some industries are actually faring well, pointing up the unevenness of the pandemic economy. From Amazon and Walmart to delivery services like UPS, Grubhub and DoorDash, some companies have benefited from evolving consumer demands. So have companies involved in streaming or cloud computing services, like Netflix, Microsoft and Comcast.
But for the U.S. economy as a whole, the prospect that the virus could roar back is a growing fear. Add to that the failure of Congress to pass another rescue aid plan now that the package it enacted back in spring has expired. That $2 trillion package managed to ease the pain of the recession by boosting incomes and spending and supporting small businesses. Without additional aid, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has warned, those dynamics could re-emerge.
The $600-a-week federal unemployment benefit and $1,200 stimulus checks that went to most individuals under last spring’s federal aid package enabled many of the jobless to rebuild savings, allowing them to keep spending even after the $600 supplement expired in July. Both are now long gone.
Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services, envisions a slowdown to GDP growth to 4.8 percent annual rate in the current quarter and a 3.7 percent rate in the first three months of 2021. But he said he might have to reduce his forecasts if either pandemic worsens or Congress fails to provide more economic stimulus early next year.
If many states felt compelled to impose shutdowns in response to an acceleration of the virus,” Faucher said, the economy could even fall back into recession.
“I am concerned,” Faucher said, “that the longer it takes to get a stimulus bill, the more structural damage we will see to the economy with more businesses closing.”
Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the No. 1 Tigers’ game against Boston College on Saturday, Lawrence and the program announced Thursday night. Lawrence’s positive test came on Wednesday after he tested negative on Sunday, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich told CBS Sports.
“I have tested positive for COVID-19, and my symptoms have been relatively mild while I’m following the protocol from Clemson and the ACC. The only thing that hurts is missing an opportunity to be with my teammates this weekend and play the game I love,” Lawrence said in a statement. “I hate that I can’t be there, but I’ll be watching from isolation and pulling for our guys while I wait for the opportunity to rejoin the team.”
According to ACC guidelines, athletes who test positive must isolate “for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms/positive test.” Until Lawrence returns, the Tigers will likely turn to true freshman DJ Uiagalelei, a five-star prospect from the 2020 recruiting class. Uiagalelei has completed 12-of-19 passes for 102 yards in backup duty this season.
“Trevor has authorized us this evening to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation,” Swinney said in a statement. “He is doing well with mild symptoms but will not be available for this week’s game against Boston College. While we certainly will miss Trevor, this is an opportunity for other guys to step up and we’re excited about competing against a very good BC team on Saturday.”
Lawrence is the potential No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and among the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy this season. The junior has completed 135-of-191 passes for 1,833 yards, 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions while leading Clemson to a 6-0 start. His statistics are especially impressive considering that the Tigers have frequently play reserves in the second half during blowout victories.
It’s not the first time Clemson has dealt with COVID-19 issues this year, as the program dealt with outbreaks before the season. But Lawrence will be the most high-profile player in college football to miss game time because of a positive test so far this season.