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In Spokane, Washington, Adams Elementary School third-grade teachers used plastic cups to build a message to their students. Photo: Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review via AP

Child welfare agencies have lost some of their best "eyes and ears" for reporting abuse and neglect as a result of school closures, AP reports.

Why it matters: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Across the country, states are reporting fewer calls to child abuse hotlines, which officials believe is a sign that many cases are going unreported.

By the numbers: Washington state’s child abuse hotline witnessed a 50% drop in calls, while Montana, Oklahoma and Louisiana are reporting about a 45% reduction.

  • Arizona’s calls are down one-third compared with previous weeks, and Nevada has seen a 14% drop compared to March 2019.

What they're saying: "That means many children are suffering in silence," Darren DaRonco, spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Child Safety, told AP.

  • “When there are large-scale job losses in communities, child maltreatment rates go up," said Anna Gassman-Pines, a Duke University public policy professor whose expertise includes the effect of unemployment on children.
  • Jill Cook, assistant director of the American School Counselor Association in Virginia, said calls to domestic violence hotlines are rising, which indicates that some children may be in unsafe homes.

The big picture: The coronavirus pandemic has upended millions of Americans' routines and inflamed stresses that contribute to child abuse.

  • Marti Vining, Montana’s Child and Family Services administrator, said overwhelmed families should call their state hotlines for help with public assistance, possible child care and a plan to help reduce stress.

Go deeper: Virus vices take a toll on Americans

Go deeper

Jul 27, 2020 - Health

Youth COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida surge 23%

A health care worker directs a person to use a nasal swab for a self administered test, Miami, Florida, July 23. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Coronavirus cases in youths have greatly increased in Florida, with total infections up 34% and hospitalizations up 23% between July 16 and 24, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The big picture: The increase from 23,170 confirmed COVID-19 cases in youths to 31,150 in just eight days comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and the Trump administration continue to aggressively push for schools to resume in-person classes in August.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: The end of the Omicron wave is in sight — Transplants rebound from COVID lull — Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies— Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker
Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."