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Children, some wearing face masks as a preventive measure, pick up free lunch at a school in Arlington, Virginia on March 16, 2020. Photo: Andrew Canallero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Students, teachers and other staff members will be required to wear masks in Virginia schools, following a public health order issued by the state health commissioner Thursday.

Why it matters: The order comes as the United States is seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and as hospitals are sounding the alarm about an increasing number of kids landing in the hospital after contracting the virus.

  • The order further clarifies the meaning of a law passed this year that requires schools in Virginia to follow CDC guidance to the “maximum extent practicable," per the Virginian Pilot.
  • “I don’t know that it can be any simpler than that — it’s the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and I expect our school districts to follow the law,” Gov. Ralph Northam said last week, per the Pilot.

Driving the news: Many of the children preparing to head back for in-person schooling this fall are without the protection of vaccination.

What they're saying: "[U]niversal and correct mask use is an important COVID-19 prevention strategy in schools as part of a multicomponent approach and has been shown to be associated with lower incidence of COVID-19 in schools," according to the order.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 19, 2021 - Health

We're still not taking the pandemic seriously

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

20 months after pandemic lockdowns first began in the U.S., government institutions and the public are still struggling to manage COVID-19 as the emergency it is.

Why it matters: Past crises, from the Great Depression to 9/11, led to lasting changes in American society and governance. But institutional inflexibility has left us at risk of further COVID waves and disruption and unprepared for the inevitable next pandemic.

Nov 20, 2021 - Health

Michigan recommends face masks for all residents amid COVID surge

Students walk through the hallway at a high school during the first day of classes in Novi, Michigan, on Tuesday, Sept. 7 2021. Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Michigan announced a new advisory on Friday, saying that all residents 2 years or older should wear a face mask at indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status.

Why it matters: The advisory comes as Michigan faces its highest surge of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Nov 19, 2021 - Health

Pregnant people with COVID face higher risk for stillbirths, CDC data show

Clinicians care for a COVID-19 patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital on Aug. 10, 2021 in Louisiana. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Pregnant people who are infected with COVID-19 face a greater risk of experiencing a stillbirth compared with uninfected people, new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released on Friday show.

Driving the news: The data found that of the 8,154 stillbirths documented between March 2020 and September 2021, 1.26% of deliveries among people with COVID-19 resulted in stillbirth, compared to 0.65% of deliveries among uninfected individuals.