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We'll soon be crowding into cafes it's 1954 in Rapallo, Italy. Photo: LIFE Picture Collection via Getty

Europeans and Americans are desperate to move beyond the worst of the crisis and return to something approximating normality, but the World Health Organization is cautioning that moving too fast will undermine the sacrifices made so far.

Where things stand: Nearly every country on Earth is still seeing their caseload increase, and a recent uptick in Singapore shows that apparent victory over the virus can be fleeting. But several countries are providing reason for optimism.

Four countries now report fewer active cases than one week ago, according to a report from Albright Stonebridge Group, though Cambodia’s testing rate is so low that there’s little reason to trust its data.

  • China’s numbers might also be too good to be true, but the trajectory is clearly positive. The cordon sanitaire around Wuhan was lifted Wednesday after 76 days, allowing people to travel freely and families to reunite.
  • South Korea now has twice as many recoveries as active cases, but it isn’t declaring victory yet. The government is extending strict social distancing rules for another two weeks, but the country will go ahead with parliamentary elections on April 15. Voters will wear masks and gloves.
  • In Jordan, thousands have been arrested for the crime of being outside during what is perhaps the world’s strictest coronavirus lockdown. It seems to be working — Jordan’s case count has fallen to 202, while numbers are climbing elsewhere in the Middle East.

New Zealand saw more recoveries (35) than new cases (29) in the past 24 hours.

  • While the government's decisive action has contained the outbreak, the aim is to "crush it" before easing restrictions, Axios' Rebecca Falconer writes.

Austria is leading Europe’s tiptoe toward normal life, with small shops reopening next week and larger ones on May 1. Schools, restaurants and hotels are slated to open their doors in mid-May.

  • Denmark and Norway are also rolling out staged reopening plans, while Italy is expected to allow some factories to reopen soon.
  • “Phase two is a necessary phase in which we will have to learn to coexist with the virus, because the virus won’t disappear,” Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza has said. “We have to rethink how we will organize our social life, our manufacturing and our public health-care system. ... It will be very gradual.”

Italy and Spain appear now to be through the worst of what have been Europe’s deadliest outbreaks so far.

  • “We have begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We can touch it,” Alberto Mantovani, scientific director of the Humanitas hospitals in Milan and Bergamo, told WSJ. “We feel it in the hospital. The number of admissions is down and people are leaving the ICU.”
  • France, Italy and the U.S. are now in the eye of the storm.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — 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.
  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.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”