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DeSantis looks on during the third round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10 in Augusta, Georgia. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday signed an executive order to end all local emergency orders relating to COVID-19, effectively halting enforcement of restrictions across the state, the Miami Herald reports.

Why it matters: DeSantis argued that continuing to mandate restrictions would undermine confidence in the vaccines, which he stressed are effective and have been administered to much of the state's elderly population.

The big picture: New coronavirus infections are falling across most of the country and 38% of the adult U.S. population is fully vaccinated, though health experts caution that variants could still threaten to reverse the country's progress.

  • Florida, which became one of the world's epicenters for the virus in July, has fully vaccinated 37.3% of its population.
  • About one in 609 residents in the state have died from the virus, compared to a national rate closer to one in 569 people, per the Orlando Sentinel.

What they're saying: DeSantis accused governors of seizing power during the pandemic through executive orders meant to enforce social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

  • "Now in the state of Florida, we worked very hard, particularly since this summer, to jettison those types of policies and we focused on lifting people up. We wanted people going back to work, we wanted our kids to be in school, we thought that that was very important," he said.

The other side: Rick Kriseman, the mayor of St. Petersburg, tweeted, "To be clear, cities like St. Pete, Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Miami Beach, saved Florida and the governor's behind throughout this pandemic. Can you imagine if each city had been led by Ron DeSantis? How many lives would have been lost? What would our economy look like today?"

Go deeper: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis bans coronavirus "vaccine passports"

Go deeper

May 3, 2021 - Health

Colorado extends mask mandate while easing restrictions for vaccinated

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. Photo: Chet Strange/Getty Images

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) on Sunday extended the state's face mask mandate for another 30 days but loosened restrictions for groups of people vaccinated against COVID-19.

Details: Under Colorado's new order, people gathering indoors in groups of 10 or more are no longer required to wear masks if at least 80% of them is vaccinated against the virus, per a statement from Polis. 

John Frank, author of Denver
May 3, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado battles COVID vaccine hesitancy with get-out-the-vote tactics

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Colorado is using tried-and-true get-out-the-vote tactics to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates across the state.

Why it matters: The novel approach is part of a broader effort by state public health officials to reach herd immunity by targeting populations that are hesitant or too busy to get vaccinated.

May 3, 2021 - World

EU proposes lifting non-essential travel restrictions for fully vaccinated

Eiffel Tower. Photo: Xinhua/Gao Jing via Getty Images

The European Commission on Monday proposed easing restrictions on non-essential travel for visitors who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: The recommendation could be adopted by the European Union's 27 member states as early as May 5, paving the way for the return of summer travel to one of the world's most popular tourism destinations.