Paratroopers from 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division were activated and deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq. Photo: CAPT. ROBYN HAAKE/US ARMY/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will deploy at least 3,000 soldiers to the Middle East amid fallout from an airstrike on Thursday evening that killed the leader of the elite Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The news comes hours after the Pentagon confirmed Soleimani had been killed. But defense officials told NBC News the deployment is not in response to the strike, but to an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad by protesters and militia fighters earlier this week.

  • The additional soldiers will join the nearly 750 troops deployed from the same unit, the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division, earlier this week following the embassy attack.
  • The 82nd Airborne was ordered to prepare for deployment if tensions escalated in the region, CNN notes.

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Top business leaders urge White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines

A man walks past a Ramen restaurant in Los Angeles, California on July 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Retail Federation and other top business organizations wrote an open letter on Thursday urging the White House coronavirus task force to work with governors to make face coverings mandatory in all public spaces.

Driving the news: An analysis led by Goldman Sachs' chief economist found that a national mandate requiring face coverings would "could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP," the Washington Post reports.

Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 2,715,124 — Total deaths: 128,439 — Total recoveries: 729,994 — Total tested: 32,827,359Map.
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  5. States: Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases — 5 states saw 27% spike in heart-related deaths in first 3 months of coronavirus pandemic.

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Scientists are inching closer to understanding how antibodies and immune cells are unleashed by the body in response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Natural immunity differs from that afforded by vaccination but it offers clues for the design of effective vaccines and therapies.