Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

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

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More kids are landing in the hospital due to COVID and it's not yet clear if it's because the Delta variant is causing more serious illness in kids.

Why it matters: Hospitals are raising concerns about the increasing impact of COVID on kids at the same time schools around the country are preparing to head back for in-person instruction — many without the protection of vaccination or mask mandates.

Driving the news: The latest numbers from the American Academy of Pediatrics show there were nearly 94,000 cases of COVID among kids in the last week, or about 15% of weekly total cases. Kids made up between 1.5% and 3.5% of total hospitalizations, they said.

  • But while serious illness in kids is still comparatively rare compared to adults, pediatric hospitalizations in some areas of the country have reached worrying levels.
  • There is an "epidemic" of very young COVID patients at Children's Hospital New Orleans, physician-in-chief Mark Kline told Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. Half the kids in the hospital are under two years old, he said.

Infectious disease doctors agree the high level of transmission of the Delta virus, particularly in regions of the country with low vaccination rates, is in large part to blame for the uptick.

  • "The states that have the lowest vaccine rates are the states that we have outbreaks and the states where we have people overwhelming the hospital system. There's a clear and direct correlation. It's not a confusing picture," Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s National Hospital in D.C. told Axios.

Reality check: But they worry the level of pediatric hospitalizations may also be due to the Delta variant being more virulent in kids than previous variants.

  • "I do think we're seeing more severe disease and I think part of that is because the kids we're seeing don't have underlying medical conditions," Kenneth Alexander, infectious diseases division chief for Nemours Children's in Orlando told Axios.
  • The hospital has eight or nine children hospitalized with COVID, including two in the ICU. Last summer, the hospital might've had one or two.
  • “Everybody is a little bit nervous about the possibility that the Delta variant could, in fact, be, in some way, more dangerous in kids,” Richard Malley, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital, told the New York Times.
  • But there's still some debate on the matter. DeBiasi said the data hasn't shown an uptick in rates of serious illness among kids in D.C. "It's really remarkable. The entire time, it's been the exact same percentage who've been hospitalized and the exact same percentage who've been critically ill. We've not seen a change even though the type or variant of virus has changed," DeBiasi said.

Zoom out: Kids of different ages are often impacted differently by COVID, and specifically the Delta variant.

  • Teens and children younger than 1 have seemed more likely to be hospitalized, the doctors said.
  • Kids who are obese, as well as kids who are Hispanic or Black seem to be at higher risk, but "we’ve had some very sick kids that don’t have risk factors," Alexander said.
  • Meanwhile, the rare condition associated with COVID-19 called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) peak median age of kids most commonly impacted are around age nine, DeBiasi said. The majority of those cases typically appeared within four to six weeks after each of the big waves of COVID, DeBiasi said.

Experts expect new surges to hit among kids and adults within the next two weeks of the return to school, particularly in states like Florida where mask mandates have been banned.

  • "As we flirt with the idea of not wearing masks, we're not only putting children in danger, we're putting their parents and grandparents in serious danger," Alexander said.

Bottom line: Experts say the concerning rise makes the case for both masks and vaccinations for kids in the Delta era.

  • "We have so much information now on millions and millions of people that have been vaccinated showing the efficacy of preventing severe disease," DeBiasi said. "Even though the virus has changed and the variants changed, that has been a consistent finding."

Go deeper

23 hours ago - Health

Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. Photor: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Louisiana's statewide mask mandate is lifting for all settings except for some schools starting on Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced.

The big picture: The requirement has been in place since early August as the Delta variant surged across the state. Edwards tweeted Tuesday there had been a "sustained improvement across the state in new cases, test positivity & hospitalizations."

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot — FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds — Moderna says vaccine shows strong immune response in kids
  2. Health: COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought — 96% of Tyson Foods employees vaccinated ahead of mandate deadline — U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers
  3. Politics: Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools — Alabama governor orders state agencies to fight federal vaccine mandate — Axios-Ipsos poll: Confidence in Biden COVID recovery tumbles
  4. Education: Benefits of vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says — Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated Oct 26, 2021 - Health

Prime minister flags vaccine mandate for 40% of New Zealand workforce

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during an October COVID-19 briefing in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Robert Kitchin - Pool/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses, as the government pushes to reach a nationwide 90% vaccination target.

Why it matters: Under the new COVID-19 Protection Framework, businesses must require vaccine certificates from customers if they're in close contact with them. Ardern said at a briefing Tuesday that such venues wishing to operate, including hair salons, bars, restaurants and gyms, must ensure staff is vaccinated.