Jun 5, 2017

ISIS surrenders another key town in Iraq

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

As part of the U.S.-backed effort to capture Mosul, ISIS surrendered Baaj in northwest Iraq this weekend, which U.S. and Iraqi sources believe was a hideout for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, per Reuters.

Why it matters: This is another indication that ISIS's control of northern Iraq is dissipating (after losing Falluja, Tikrit, Ramadi, and most of Mosul). ISIS held Baaj since mid-2014 and Islamic militants controlled it for 14 years.

What it means: The fight against ISIS is going to shift to Syria; ISIS remains in only a couple urban centers in Iraq now, a spokesperson for the DOD confirmed to Axios.

Complicating factor: Iran is aiding in the campaign to gain land in northern Iraq to establish a military supply route for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Last month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. "will never work with the Assad regime."

Go deeper

Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said on Saturday he is considering a "short term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — states that have already taken steps to quarantine residents and promote social distancing.

The big picture: With 112,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 mins ago - Health

Q&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S., Axios is answering readers' questions about the pandemic — how it spreads, who's at risk, and what you can do to stay safe.

What's new: This week, we answer five questions on smokers' vulnerability, food safety, visiting older parents, hair cut needs, and rural vs. urban impact.

The other coronavirus test we need

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Researchers are racing to develop tests that detect whether someone may have developed immunity to the coronavirus, which could help society return to normal faster.

Why it matters: These tests could help people know if they are able to go back to work, as well as aid researchers in tracking the scale and death rate of the disease — key data for current and future pandemic policies.

Go deeperArrow40 mins ago - Health