ATLANTA (AP) — A widely available drug is showing promise of treating the most seriously ill coronavirus patients. It's a welcome bit of hope as countries grapple with spikes in contagion as they loosen restrictions and reopen their economies. Researchers say the steroid, called dexamethasone, reduced deaths by 35% in patients who needed breathing machines and by 20% among those using supplemental oxygen. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the drug was the “biggest breakthrough yet” in treating the virus, and top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci called it “a significant improvement in the available therapeutic options that we have.” Since the virus emerged in China last year, there have been more than 8 million confirmed cases and more than 435,000 deaths around the world.

UNDATED (AP) — The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 now exceeds the number of American service members who died in World War I. The current pandemic mortality tally for the United States from Johns Hopkins University reached 116,526 on Tuesday. The number of Americans who died in World War I is 116,516. Both figures are far from precise, due to a lack of widespread virus testing and the challenges of counting the dead in the trenches of World War I a century ago. But historians and the Congressional Research Service believe that 116,516 is the best figure for WWI battlefield deaths

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A union representing U.S. coal miners has asked a court to force the federal government to take unspecified measures to protect them from the coronavirus. The petition seeks an emergency order from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. The petition was filed by the United Mine Workers and the United Steelworkers unions. The petition says if MSHA fails to issue an emergency temporary standard for infectious diseases that would be legally binding on all mine operators, it would put the lives and health of tens of thousands of miners in grave danger.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he'll propose making Juneteenth an official holiday in a state that was once home to the capital of the Confederacy. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. It is also called Emancipation Day and Freedom Day. It's celebrated annually on June 19. Texas first made it a state holiday in 1980. The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when news finally reached African Americans in Texas that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves living in Confederate states two years earlier. When Union soldiers arrived in Galveston to bring the news that slavery had been abolished, former slaves celebrated.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed an executive order on policing following weeks of national protests after the death of George Floyd. The order is aimed at encouraging best practices and tracking officers with excessive use of force complaints. In the Rose Garden, Trump stressed the need for higher standards and commiserated with mourning families, even as he hailed the vast majority of officers as selfless public servants and held his law-and-order line. The order comes as Senate Republicans prepare to unveil their own package of policing proposals after Democrats did the same.