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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Foreign students from China, Iran, Brazil and South Africa will be exempt from pandemic travel bans and will be allowed back into the U.S. as long as they have proper visas, the State Department announced in a statement.

Why it matters: International students are a major source of revenue for U.S. universities and institutions saw their enrollments plunge last fall.

  • The number of foreign students on F-1 and M-1 visas fell by 18% and visa records for new students lowered by 72%, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Details: Students, journalists and academics will now qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE), which is a designation given to people whose entry into the U.S. is determined to be in the country's best interest.

  • "Students and academics ... may qualify for an NIE only if their academic program begins August 1, 2021 or later," the State Department said.
  • The Trump administration had previously made similar exceptions for students from the U.K., Europe and Ireland, the WSJ notes.

The big picture: Travelers coming into the U.S. must show a negative test to be allowed entry. While they are not required to show a proof of vaccination, some universities are requiring that students be vaccinated to return to in-person instruction.

Flashback: The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last July said international students could not enter the U.S. if their courses were online.

Go deeper

Biden and DeSantis snipe over Florida's COVID response

President Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis talk about the collapse of the condo building in Surfside, during a briefing in early July. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

During a week when Florida has seen COVID cases and hospitalizations break records, Gov. Ron DeSantis blamed the spike on a "seasonal pattern" and "media hysteria."

  • His latest target: President Biden not securing the border with Mexico.

State of play: At a press conference in Panama City yesterday, DeSantis claimed that Biden is "facilitating" the virus by allowing "hundreds of thousands of people pouring across [the U.S.-Mexico border] every month."

Aug 5, 2021 - Health

What it's like to go to an in-person conference during Delta

About 500 people attended the big auto industry conference in Traverse City, Mich. Photo: Katie Ramsburgh, Center for Automotive Research

This week I'm attending my first professional conference in 18 months, but unfortunately, I'm afraid it might be my last for a while.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases are surging again, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, triggering a sudden tightening of corporate travel policies and raising serious doubts about in-person conferences and events.

Aug 5, 2021 - Health

The pandemic is now a "negative" for CVS

Expand chart
Data: Company filings; Chart: Axios Visuals

For every premium dollar that CVS Health's insurance arm, Aetna, collected in the second quarter, it paid a little more than 84 cents to medical providers — a "medical loss ratio" that was a lot higher than Wall Street expected.

The big picture: Health insurers were the main beneficiaries of the pandemic last year, as the widespread delay of doctor visits and procedures greatly offset what they had to pay for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Now that routine care is back, and COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise again, CVS executives said the pandemic is a "modest negative" for the rest of 2021.