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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Los Angeles. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Washington and California, which originally appeared to be epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., have slowed their surges of new cases — although it can't be ruled out that California is just behind on testing.

Why it matters: These states were early adopters of stringent social distancing measures, and these policies appear to be making a difference. That should offer us all fresh encouragement to keep staying home and practicing good hygiene.

Yes, but: As Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned yesterday during a White House coronavirus briefing, the numbers nationwide will likely get worse before they get better.

  • The U.S. is still adopting social distancing policies state-by-state, and there's a lag between when these measures are implemented and when people who have already been exposed begin to experience symptoms.
  • It then takes a few days for some of these people to need to be hospitalized, and then a few more days for deaths to rise.
  • This pattern will keep repeating until the virus stops spreading, which will continue as long as sick Americans continue to interact with healthy ones. But if we all stay home, that spread can't happen.

The bottom line: "In the next several days to a week or so, we're going to continue to see things go up. We cannot be discouraged by that, because the mitigation is working and will work," Fauci said.

  • Remember that things looked really bad in Washington and California a few weeks ago, too.

Go deeper

Democrats drubbing Trumpless GOP on social media

Data: Twitter/CrowdTangle (Feb 24, 2021); Chart: Will Chase/Axios

In a swift reversal from 90 days ago, Democrats are now the ones with overpowering social media muscle and the ability to drive news.

The big picture: Former President Donald Trump’s digital exile and the reversal of national power has turned the tables on which party can keep a stranglehold on online conversation.

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to announce details of a plan to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
52 mins ago - Health

New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

New research is bolstering the case for delaying second doses of coronavirus vaccines.

Why it matters: Most vulnerable Americans remain unvaccinated heading into March, when experts predict the more infectious virus variant first found in the U.K. could become dominant in the U.S.