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A priest in Brescello, Italy performs a funeral behind closed doors due to social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic on March 27. Photo: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Italy on Friday reported 969 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus over a 24-hour period, marking the deadliest single-day tally in the country since the global outbreak began, according to data from the Health Ministry.

Why it matters: Italy had hoped the worst of the outbreak was over after reporting a decline in the number of new confirmed cases throughout this week. That trend continued into Friday, but was overshadowed by the death count.

  • “We haven’t reached the peak and we haven’t passed it,” said Chief of the Superior Health Institute Silvio Brusaferro, per Reuters, adding the declining infection numbers show “signs of a slowdown.”

Where it stands, via the Health Ministry: 9,134 people have died in Italy from the virus, as of Friday. More than 86,498 people have confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

  • Italy is behind the U.S. in terms of the number of people who've contracted the virus, per JHU data, but leads the world for the number of deaths associated with the pandemic.

Go deeper: Coronavirus dashboard

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden eyes Russia adviser criticized as soft on Kremlin

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Biden is considering appointing Matthew Rojansky, head of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, as Russia director on the National Security Council, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak.
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings.
  5. World: Iran tightens COVID restrictions amid fourth wave of pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Maryland lawmakers override Hogan vetoes of police accountability legislation

Marion Gray Hopkins with Coalition of Concerned Mothers speaks during a rally promoting police reform on March 4 in Annapolis, Maryland. Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Maryland's Democratic-controlled legislature on Saturday voted to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's vetoes of police accountability legislation.

Why it matters: Maryland is the first state to repeal its Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, the Washington Post notes.