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Data: American Academy of Pediatrics; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios; Note: Case data reported by 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Hospitalization data reported by 23 states and New York City. Gaps in chart indicate weeks where no data was reported.

The return to school across the U.S. coincided with surges in cases among kids, causing enough hospitalizations for children's hospitals to warn of capacity concerns.

By the numbers: There were roughly 204,000 child COVID-19 cases reported last week, according to the latest data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • That was a 9% increase in pediatric cases, compared to the week before.

Zoom out: Tens of thousands of U.S. students have had to quarantine due to COVID this school year. Most recently, a South Carolina district reportedly had 9,000 students in quarantine.

  • A school district in Texas announced plans to close until after Labor Day after two teachers died of COVID-19.

Driving the news: Pediatric hospitals called for federal help for their "capacity crisis" in a letter to President Biden, NPR reported.

  • "With pediatric volumes at or near capacity and the upcoming school season expected to increase demand, there may not be sufficient bed capacity," the Children's Hospital Association said in the letter.

Go deeper: NIH to study long COVID in kids

Go deeper

Oct 22, 2021 - Health

Illinois mandates daycare workers to receive COVID vaccine or weekly testing

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a round table discussion with high school students in October 2018. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced Friday that all daycare workers in the state will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or or submit to weekly testing.

Driving the news: Pritzker said he was issuing the requirement to protect "babies, toddlers, and young children not yet eligible for the vaccine."

ACLU sues Texas school district for punishing boys with long hair

An instructor leads a classroom discussion at the Xavier Academy in Houston, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of seven students in a Texas school district over what they call a discriminatory policy requiring boys, but not girls, to wear short hair.

Driving the news: School officials in the Magnolia Independent School District have punished boys for having long hair, including one 9-year-old student who was forced to serve an in-school suspension for a month and be removed from campus, according to the lawsuit.

Oct 22, 2021 - 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."