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Medical assistants administer COVID-19 sampling tests last week in Houston. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Texas has requested five mortuary trailers from FEMA to help deal with an expected surge in COVID-19 deaths, NBC News reports.

The big picture: The trailers will be based in San Antonio and sent around the state as needed. Officials ordered them at the start of the month after data showed deaths in Texas are surging, Department of State Health Services spokesperson Doug Loveday told NBC.

  • "We are anticipating a need within the state of Texas for these trailers as COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to increase," Loveday said.
  • Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the same agency, said the trailers were ordered as a precaution and that no localities have requested them.
Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

State of play: Texas has seen a surge in new cases, amid the spread of the Delta variant, with the state's seven-day coronavirus death rate seeing its highest levels since March 2021.

  • In North Texas, no pediatric ICU beds are left as cases surge among the young as well, NBC News reported.
  • Last week, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked hospitals to delay elective procedures to free up space for COVID-19 patients.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show Texas' seven-day coronavirus death rate is at its highest levels since March 2021 (not March 2020).

Go deeper

COVID looms over Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: New York Times; Cartogram: Will Chase and Kavya Beheraj/Axios

COVID cases are up nationwide, and while Texas is doing better than many other states for now, the rolling seven-day average of new infections is slowly climbing again, according to state data.

Driving the news: Vanderbilt University Medical Center infectious disease expert William Schaffner had hoped COVID-19 would be under control by Thanksgiving 2021.

  • But "COVID, particularly this Delta variant, keeps throwing us curveballs," he told Axios Nashville.
Nov 24, 2021 - World

Italy announces new COVID restrictions for the unvaccinated

Doctors at work in triage before administering the third dose of the COVID vaccine in Molfetta, Italy. Photo: Davide Pischettola/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Italy announced new COVID restrictions on Wednesday — barring unvaccinated people from dining indoors, attending shows, sports events, public ceremonies and entering nightclubs starting in December, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: It follows a trend of public officials around the world imposing restrictions on unvaccinated people, as nations have struggled to get shots in arms, writes Axios' Shawna Chen.

Nov 24, 2021 - Health

European health agency urges expanding COVID booster shot access

A woman in Slovakia recieving the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19. Photo: VLADIMIR SIMICEK/AFP via Getty Images

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recommended booster shots for all adults in a statement on Wednesday, as COVID-19 reaches new daily highs throughout the continent.

The big picture: Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Hungary all reported new daily highs in infections on Wednesday, Reuters reports.