Influenza vaccination utensils. Photo: Christoph Soeder/picture alliance via Getty Images

A surprisingly early strain of the influenza B virus is responsible for 21 of the 32 pediatric deaths in this flu season, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between the lines: Influenza B hasn't been a main cause for sickness in the U.S. for 27 years. It isn't as much of a risk to senior citizens, but tends to cause more complications in young children.

  • This season's vaccine includes influenza B but the variations in that strain may not be a great match, a common challenge researchers have with the flu vaccine each year.
  • Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells Axios it's too early to determine how effective the flu shot is this year, but officials emphasize the importance of partial protection.

Go deeper: The pandemic potential

Editor's note: This piece was updated to include more information on influenza B and the vaccine.

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Deadly Hurricane Zeta slams U.S. Gulf Coast

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a 55-year-old man was "electrocuted by a downed power line" in Louisiana as the storm caused widespread power outages Wednesday night, per AP.

What's happening: Zeta made landfall south of New Orleans as a Category 2 hurricane earlier Wednesday before weakening to Category 1. But it was still "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi with life-threatening storm surge, high winds, and heavy rain" late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Consumer confidence sinking Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
1 hour ago - Health

Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a September Senate hearing on COVID-19 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday he doesn't expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be ready until January 2021 or later.

What he's saying: Fauci said during the interview that the U.S. was in a "bad position" after failing to keep case numbers down post-summer. "We should have been way down in baseline and daily cases and we’re not," he said.