Laurel Wamsley

TOKYO — We're in the home stretch of the most dramatic Olympics in recent memory, held against great odds amid a global pandemic in a country where many Japanese residents didn't want it to happen at all.

An ocean expedition exploring more than a mile under the surface of the Atlantic captured a startlingly silly sight this week: a sponge that looked very much like SpongeBob SquarePants.

And right next to it, a pink sea star — a doppelganger for Patrick, SpongeBob's dim-witted best friend.

When revising its mask guidance this week to urge even vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in much of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was criticized for not citing data in making that move.

Now it has — and the data is sobering.

For some of us, the Olympics don't really get started until the runners take the starting line and the javelins go flying.

With the Olympics underway, Tokyo has set a new, unfortunate record: for coronavirus cases.

Tokyo had 3,177 new positive cases on Tuesday, according to the city's government. The city has become Japan's biggest COVID-19 hot spot and is host to most of the Olympic events.

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