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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Over the weekend, Texas reported reaching the milestone of zero deaths from COVID-19 for the first time since March 2020. Arizona, Minnesota, and Massachusetts also recently reported COVID death-free days for the first time in months.

State of play: Other states also posted positive COVID metrics at the top of the week while COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. fell to their lowest in nearly 14 months, Reuters reported.

  • Maryland reported its lowest new daily COVID-19 cases since the end of March 2020, the Baltimore Sun reported. Virginia also posted its lowest rate of new cases since the beginning of the pandemic, the Virginian-Pilot wrote.
  • Of course, expect this to spark more political debates about how individual states have handled mask mandates and reopening. As Newsweek pointed out, in March, Biden called Texas' leaders reopening plan "neanderthal thinking."
  • And it's important to remember, plenty of states are still battling to get their case counts down. Alabama, Colorado and Michigan have the most cases per capita in the nation.

The big picture: There are still a lot of people who still need help abroad and it's far too soon to declare victory. But at least in the U.S., the evidence is growing that there are good reasons to be hopeful.

Go deeper

May 18, 2021 - Health

Eyebrows raise over another senior CDC departure

Shoshana Gordon/Axios

As some public health experts continue to criticize the rollout of the CDC's new mask guidance, a top CDC official announced her retirement yesterday — the second in a month.

Why it matters: Although the agency has taken a decidedly more pro-science approach to the pandemic under the Biden administration than it did under Trump's, the trio of negative headlines suggest lingering turmoil.

May 18, 2021 - Health

U.S. confronted by calls for larger effort in vaccine exports

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

President Joe Biden's plan to share an additional 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses overseas brings the U.S. total exports to 80 million. But experts and some policymakers say it's not enough.

Driving the news: The world has reached a situation of "vaccine apartheid", World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday, saying "the big problem is a lack of sharing."