Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

For the first time in decades, the number of overdose deaths in the U.S. may finally be falling, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing provisional government data.

Why it matters: That would be a strong and promising sign that the current addiction epidemic — fueled by prescription opioids, heroin and illegal fentanyl — has at least stopped getting worse.

  • Yes, but: This progress is tenuous, and one year will not make up for the 30-year rise in overdose deaths. While life-saving drugs to reverse the immediate effects of an overdose have become much more widely available, access to longer-term addiction treatment is still wanting. One other grim explanation, the Journal notes, "is that some of the most vulnerable people have already been killed."

Go deeper: The hot spots of the opioid epidemic

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Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court clears way for first federal execution since 2003

Lethal injection facility in San Quentin, California. Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled early Tuesday that federal executions can resume, reversing a lower court decision and paving the way for the first lethal injection since 2003 to take place at a federal prison in Indiana, AP reports.

The big picture: A lower court had delayed the execution, saying inmates had provided evidence the government's plan to carry out executions using lethal injections "poses an unconstitutionally significant risk of serious pain."

2 hours ago - Health

More Republicans say they're wearing masks

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: A weakening partisan divide over masks, and a broad-based increase in the number of people wearing them, would be a welcome development as most of the country tries to beat back a rapidly growing outbreak.

Buildings are getting tested for coronavirus, too

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Testing buildings — not just people — could be an important way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: People won't feel safe returning to schools, offices, bars and restaurants unless they can be assured they won't be infected by coronavirus particles lingering in the air — or being pumped through the buildings' air ducts. One day, even office furniture lined with plants could be used to clean air in cubicles.