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Photo: Florian Gaertner/Getty Images

The 2019 flu season has spanned 21 weeks, according to reports released on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it among the longest running stretch for the illness since the government began keeping track over 20 years ago, the AP reports.

Details: The CDC has estimated 35,000 to 55,000 flu-related deaths took place this season. At the start of the 2018-2019 season, most flu cases were due to a strain that was managed and remedied by vaccines, however by mid-February, a more severe strain — poorly matched to this year's flu vaccine — led to upticks in illnesses and hospitalizations. Despite this year's protracted duration, last winter’s 19-week season was marked as the deadliest in at least the last 40 years, with approximately 80,000 Americans dying of the flu and complications last season. Per the AP, the CDC’s Lynnette Brammer, who oversees flu tracking, says this year's flu season should be close to its end.

Go deeper

2 mins ago - World

Abbas announces first Palestinian elections in 15 years

Abbas is 85 and in the 15th year of a 4-year term. Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published a decree on Friday announcing the dates for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: This is the first time in 15 years that such a decree has been published. The last presidential elections took place in 2005, with Abbas winning, and the last parliamentary elections took place in 2006, with Hamas winning.

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — America has tuned out the coronavirus at the peak of its destruction — 1 in 3 people in L.A. County believed to have been infected with coronavirus.
  2. Politics: Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan— Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat — Joe Biden will seek nearly $2 trillion in COVID relief spending.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.