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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday he regrets signing a bill into law that banned local mask mandates in the state.

State of play: Hutchinson has called on the state legislature to amend the law to let school districts decide whether to require face coverings when they return to in-person learning this fall.

What he's saying: "There is no state wide mask mandate. I'm not in favor of a statewide mask mandate," Hutchinson said at a news conference. "There are no government vaccine mandates as well, but we do have a vulnerable group that is not eligible for the vaccine."

  • "The local school districts should make the call and they should have more options to make sure that their school is a safe environment during a very challenging time for education."

Catch up fast: Hutchinson signed the bill as COVID-19 cases were declining in March.

  • "In hindsight, I wish that it had not become law," he said Tuesday.

What to watch: The Arkansas state legislature will begin a special session on Wednesday at 10 a.m. local time to look into the face coverings ban.

By the numbers: Arkansas has seen a 517% increase in new cases among people under age 18 between April and July, said Jose Remero, the state's health secretary, at the news conference. That number is 690% for children 12 and under.

  • Hospitalizations among people under 18 have increased nearly 270% in that time.

Go deeper

Oct 20, 2021 - Health

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5–11

Charles Muro, 13, is inoculated at Hartford Healthcare's mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of 5 and 11, pending authorization from the FDA of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, and tens of thousands of pharmacies to administer the shots.

23 hours ago - Health

CDC director: U.S. may change definition of "fully vaccinated" as boosters roll out

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday the U.S. "may need to update" its definition for what it means to have full vaccination against COVID.

The big picture: The CDC and the FDA have officially approved boosters with every authorized vaccine in the U.S. for people who meet specific requirements. Walensky explained that since not everyone is eligible for a booster, the definition has not been changed "yet."

Oct 21, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado COVID cases pose continued concern

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state continue to climb, with case counts here outpacing all but two states nationwide.

By the numbers: Colorado stands out as one of only 10 states that saw infections increase during the past two weeks, a New York Times analysis shows.