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Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Coronavirus hospitalizations are surging once again, threatening to overburden some local health care systems just as badly as the waves that hit last spring and summer.

Why it matters: It's hard to argue that a person's vaccination status doesn't impact anyone but themselves when hospitals around the country are filling up.

Where it stands: More than 40,000 patients are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 infections.

  • Florida is setting new COVID-19 hospitalization records, forcing the state's largest hospital systems to limit visitors, expand coronavirus units and prepare for staffing shortages, ABC News reports.
  • Hospitalizations in this wave of the pandemic "clearly will surpass waves 1 and 2," tweeted Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research.

Between the lines: The vast majority of hospitalized coronavirus patients are unvaccinated.

  • But a very small percentage of vaccinated people do develop COVID-19 infections, and small percentage of that small percentage do require hospitalization.
  • As the number of overall cases continues to grow, so will the number of breakthrough hospitalizations — but not nearly as quickly as hospitalizations among the unvaccinated.

What we're watching: In many states where the virus is taking off, there's no political appetite at all for the mitigation policies that would help slow Delta's spread.

  • That means the steep increase in hospitalizations can and will get worse — straining more health care systems and potentially disrupting entire communities' access to care.

Go deeper

Oct 18, 2021 - Health

Over 30 states have limited officials' public health powers

Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Republican lawmakers in more than 30 U.S. states have weakened health officials' authority to implement policies to protect the public against the coronavirus, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers in all 50 states have introduced bills to curb state and local officials' public health authority.

21 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

Minnesota offers cash and chance at $100K scholarship as vaccine incentive for teens

Expand chart
Data: Minnesota COVID-19 Response; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Minnesota is offering new incentives to shot-wary teens in an effort to boost the state's COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Driving the news: 12 to 17 year olds who get both doses over the next six weeks will receive a $200 Visa gift card, Gov. Tim Walz's administration announced Monday.

  • Kids vaccinated during this period can also enter a lottery for one of five $100,000 scholarships to attend any of the state's public or private colleges or universities.

Why it matters: Public health officials say increasing vaccination rates among young Minnesotans is key to curbing spread of the virus, especially in schools.

Florida's secret delta toll

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Roughly 4,500 Tampa Bay residents — an average of about 36 per day — died from COVID-19 over the four months the Florida Department of Health did not share daily pandemic information with citizens.

Driving the news: The data is now available and gives a clearer picture of the heartbreaking toll of the latest record-breaking spikes from the delta variant — which is only now subsiding — between June and October.