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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

COVID-19's Delta variant is sending more young people into Ohio hospitals than ever before.

Why it matters: The recent spike is putting a major strain on healthcare systems. It's also threatening Ohio's ability to keep children in classrooms.

  • Nationwide Children's Hospital chief medical officer Dr. Rustin Morse told Axios that COVID hospitalizations were a "non-issue" in the spring and summer — then came the Delta variant.
  • Hospitals facing staffing shortages and an unseasonable spike of respiratory syncytial virus, which usually peaks in winter, created a "perfect storm."
  • "The way we get out of this pandemic is by vaccinating people," Morse said.
Data: The Ohio Hospital Association; Chart: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

State of play: Ohioans under 29 years old are the state's least vaccinated age group, partially because COVID vaccines aren't yet available for kids under 11.

  • One could be coming within "weeks," though kids can't get vaccinated without parental permission, Morse said.

The latest: In an attempt to boost vaccination rates, Gov. Mike DeWine announced a new "Vax 2 School" lottery.

  • Ohioans between 12-25 years old who receive a COVID vaccine will be eligible to win one of five $100,000 scholarships or 50 $10,000 scholarships for college or career training.
  • Registration information is coming soon. Drawings begin the week of Oct. 11.

Flashback: DeWine drew national attention — along with praise, criticism and copycats — with Ohio's Vax-a-Million lottery earlier this year that awarded five $1 million prizes and five full-ride college scholarships.

What they're saying: Micah Berman, associate professor of public health law at Ohio State University, said this new program, like its predecessor, might produce a short-term bump in vaccinations.

  • "But it's certainly not enough to meet the moment," he told Axios.

Go deeper

Nov 28, 2021 - Health

Moderna says updated vaccine for Omicron could be ready in early 2022

Syringes and a vial of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Moderna's chief medical officer Paul Burton said Sunday that a reformulated vaccine against the newly identified Omicron coronavirus variant could be ready as soon as early 2022 if it's found to be necessary.

Why it matters: Burton's comments on BBC's "Andrew Marr Show" come as companies are testing whether current COVID-19 vaccines will provide adequate protection against the strain.

Nov 26, 2021 - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID-19 strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

Food delivery "ghost kitchens" face major obstacles

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The growing popularity of food delivery has given rise to startups that open "ghost kitchens" — kitchens in warehouses or trailers that prepare food solely for delivery and have no option to dine in.

  • But they can come with a whole host of problems.

The big picture: The concept of "ghost kitchens" has been dubbed the next big thing in the future of services, with high profile backers like Uber founder Travis Kalanick. But these kitchens can be hard to run or unsafe.