The flu is widespread in 49 states. Photo: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty

The spread of flu is widespread in every state except Hawaii, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its first weekly update of 2018. Seven kids died from the flu in the first week of the year, and flu-related hospitalizations haven't been this high since the 2014-15 flu season.

The bottom line: Public health officials are urging people to get a flu shot, as many people often contract the disease in January and February.

What we're hearing: "We went for a day at Providence St. Joseph Health where we didn't have a hospital bed available" due in large part to the flu, said Rod Hochman, CEO of the 50-hospital system.

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Felix Salmon, author of Capital
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How equity became more attractive than debt

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The prime example of something highly improbable that became conventional wisdom: The idea that both interest rates and inflation will remain near zero for well over a decade.

Why it matters: As Axios' Dan Primack writes, private equity firms (the polite rebranding of "leveraged buyouts") have historically bought companies and loaded them up with debt.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
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When society faces the unprecedented

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Our febrile world is not normal.

The big picture: The precautions that we're taking against the spread of COVD-19; the way in which the president of the U.S. delights in violating political norms; the fires, hurricanes and other signs that catastrophic global warming has arrived; the virulent spread of the QAnon conspiracy theory — all of these things, and many more, represent a stunning break with the world as we knew it.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 34,026,003 — Total deaths: 1,015,107 — Total recoveries: 23,680,268Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 7,237,043 — Total deaths: 207,008 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Health: New poll shows alarming coronavirus vaccine skepticism — New research centers will study "long-haul" COVID — Coronavirus infections rise in 25 states.
  4. Business: Remdesivir is good business for Gilead.
  5. Transportation: The politics of pandemic driving.
  6. 🎧Podcast: The looming second wave of airline layoffs.