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

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A view of the garden of 37,000 American flags planted on the Boston Common in 2021. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Memorial Day celebrations will look more like they used to this year, as falling COVID-19 cases and the easing of health restrictions nationwide will allow veterans and families to gather together to mark the day.

Why it matters: The start of the pandemic last spring restricted or even cancelled many of the events that traditionally take place around the country to pay tribute to fallen veterans.

  • The 2021 memorials will be made more somber by the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 12,000 veterans, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The big picture: Celebrations this year will be larger than the scaled-back events that dominated 2020, per the Associated Press.

  • Last year, the Boston Common's memorial flag garden only placed 1,000 flags to commemorate the holiday. This year's flag garden will be back to having 37,000 U.S. flags, according to AP.
  • “This Memorial Day almost has a different, better feeling to it,” Craig DeOld, a 50-year-old retired captain in the Army Reserve, told the AP. “We’re breathing a sigh of relief that we’ve overcome another struggle, but we’re also now able to return to what this holiday is all about — remembering our fallen comrades.”

Of note: Jeremy Butler, a Navy Reserve officer who leads the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America advocacy group, said that the isolation of the pandemic was especially hard for veterans, who often "depend on kinship with fellow service members to cope with wartime trauma," per AP.

  • “We’re reuniting now, but it’s been an extremely challenging year,” Butler told the wire service. “To have those connections cut off — the counseling sessions, the VA appointments, social events with other vets — those are so important to maintaining mental health.”

Go deeper

Sep 4, 2021 - Health

Hospitalizations among children increase amid Delta surge, CDC studies find

An EMS medic from the Houston Fire Department prepares to transport a 2-year-old girl with COVID-19 to a hospital on Aug. 25 in Houston. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Hospitalizations among individuals under 18 for COVID-19 rose this summer as the Delta variant spread nationwide, per a pair of studies released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

Why it matters: The two studies do not provide conclusive answers about whether Delta causes more severe cases of the virus in children, but they reinforce the importance of widespread vaccination to protect children — many of whom are still ineligible for the vaccine, per the New York Times.

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Kentucky governor calls state lawmakers into special session on COVID

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear at the University of Louisville Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky, in April. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Gov. Andy Beshear is calling Kentucky's GOP-led legislature into a special session next week on policies to address surging COVID-19 cases in the state.

Why it matters: The Democratic governor had imposed a series of emergency pandemic measures, but the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last month that a lower court had incorrectly blocked state Republicans from limiting his executive authority.

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