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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Epics/Getty Images)

States, local governments and restaurants are starting to pause plans to curb single-use plastics as they try and control the coronavirus outbreak, per Argus Media and the Wall Street Journal.

Driving the news: "The delays are in response to concerns that reusable bags and containers carry more risk of spreading the virus than single-use items, which are designed to be used once and thrown away," Argus reports.

Why it matters: It's yet another variable in the complicated question of how coronavirus will affect energy use policies and patterns in the near- and long-term.

The big picture: Petrochemicals used to make plastic are a big source of oil demand. The scope of future restrictions on plastics are one factor that will determine when global oil use eventually peaks.

Where it stands: States and local officials in Maine, New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere are taking steps to enable continued plastic bag use.

Where it stands: Major restaurants have also been forced to rethink their plans.

  • "Starbucks Corp. has said stores that remain open in North America would serve coffee only in disposable cups for takeout," WSJ reports.
  • "Starbucks, Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. and Tim Hortons — owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc. — have all stopped filling customers’ reusable cups, a U-turn after years of encouraging them."

Go deeper: Our Plastic Planet

Go deeper

Exclusive: GOP Leader McCarthy asks to meet with Biden about the border

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at CPAC. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has requested a meeting with President Biden to discuss the rising numbers of unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border, in a letter sent on Friday.

Why it matters: Biden is facing criticism from the right and the left as agency actions and media reports reveal spiking numbers of migrant children overwhelming parts of the U.S. immigration system. Recent data shows an average of 321 kids being referred to migrant shelters each day, as Axios reported.

Vaccine hesitancy drops, but with partisan divide

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

69% of the public intends to get a COVID vaccine or already has, up significantly from 60% in November, according to a report out Friday from the Pew Research Center.

Yes, but: The issue has become even more partisan, with 56% of Republicans who say they want or have already received a coronavirus vaccine compared to 83% of Democrats.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

China's 5-year plan is hazy on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's highly anticipated 5-year plan revealed on Friday provides little new information about its climate initiatives, leaving plenty to discuss in multinational meetings this year and lots of blanks for China to fill in later.

Driving the news: The top-line targets for 2025, per state media, aim to lower energy intensity by 13.5% and carbon emissions intensity by 18% — that is, measures of energy use and emissions relative to economic output.