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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

WH: Getting vaccinated "most important" step in hurricane preparedness

President Biden speaking at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The "most important" step Americans should take to prepare for peak hurricane season is to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in case they have to evacuate, the White House said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The statement followed President Biden's meeting on hurricane preparedness with senior FEMA officials and others, who advised him of the measure — hours before Tropical Storm Fred formed near Puerto Rico. Florida is in the path of the storm, which could possibly intensify into a hurricane.

Aug 11, 2021 - Health

New data on coronavirus vaccine effectiveness may be "a wakeup call"

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new preprint study that raises concerns about the mRNA vaccines' effectiveness against Delta — particularly Pfizer's — has already grabbed the attention of top Biden administration officials.

What they're saying: The study found the Pfizer vaccine was only 42% effective against infection in July, when the Delta variant was dominant. "If that's not a wakeup call, I don't know what is," a senior Biden official told Axios.

Updated Aug 11, 2021 - Economy & Business

New COVID restrictions could slow air travel

Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Leisure air travel is booming, but with COVID-19 cases soaring in the U.S., the airline industry can expect a slowdown after Labor Day — and that might actually be a good thing.

Why it matters: Airlines have struggled to keep up with the unexpectedly strong rebound in travel demand this summer, with Spirit Airlines' chaotic, cancellation-filled episode last week as the most extreme example.