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Rep. Richard Hinch speaks during the opening session of the New Hampshire Legislature on Dec. 2. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

New Hampshire House Speaker Richard "Dick" Hinch died of COVID-19, the state's attorney general's office said Thursday, citing the autopsy report. He was 71.

The big picture: Hinch is among the record 3,124 people in the U.S. who died from the coronavirus on Wednesday.

  • He had been formally elected House speaker on Dec. 2. He served as the state’s House Republican leader from 2015 to 2018, per CNN.
  • The state legislature’s swearing-in ceremony was held outdoors due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier that week, several Republicans who attended an indoor GOP caucus meeting on Nov. 20 tested positive for COVID-19, WCVB reports.

What's next: Sherman Packard, who was appointed Hinch's deputy, will serve as acting speaker until the House can elect a successor. The House is scheduled to meet Jan. 6.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.