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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations Center on June 8. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters on Tuesday that the state will not reinstate restrictions or close businesses to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: More than 50% of coronavirus infections in the U.S. are from states like Florida, Texas, California and Arizona, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) urged people to stay home last week to fight the "rampant" spread of COVID-19, as the state paused its reopening. Abbott said in a Friday interview that he regretted how quickly bars were allowed to reopen in the state.

What he's saying: When asked by reporters on Tuesday if he would tell people to stay home as Abbott did, DeSantis explained that social distancing has been recommended throughout the state's reopening and that protecting the elderly and vulnerable are the state's priorities.

  • "We're not going back, closing things. I don't think that that's really what's driving it, people going to a business is not what's driving it," DeSantis said. "I think when you see the younger folks, I think a lot of it is more just social interactions, so that's natural."
  • "We're open, we know who we need to protect, most of the folks in those younger demographics, although we want them to be mindful of what's going on, are just simply much much less at risk than the folks who are in those older age groups."

Where it stands: Florida's current phase of reopening does not put a limit on how many visitors can be in stores or gyms and allows bars to serve half as many guests as they normally would, although the state has suspended on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars. Social distancing is encouraged at all businesses.

  • Daily fatalities reported in the state have declined since last Thursday, per the state's health department. Florida recorded its highest daily increase in coronavirus infections last Friday.
  • The state has reported over 3,500 deaths, more than 14,500 hospitalizations and over 152,00 confirmed cases.

Go deeper: Fauci says he's "concerned" about "disturbing surge" of infections in Texas, Florida and Arizona

Go deeper

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

D.C. urges Rose Garden ceremony attendees to get tested for COVID-19

Staff and visitors during a ceremony to announce Barrett as Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Washington, D.C. Department of Health on Thursday asked attendees and White House staff at the Rose Garden celebration for the introduction of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26 to seek medical advice and get tested for COVID-19 by their local health department.

Why it matters: The outbreak tied to the White House contributed to an increase in the District's caseload. D.C. experienced a 26% increase last week, rising from some 40 new cases per day to about 50.

Washington's big contact tracing problem

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The D.C. Health Department is trying to jump-start contact tracing efforts around the White House's coronavirus outbreak. Tracing has been inadequate so far even as cases spread deeper into the city.

The big picture: The White House has decided not to move forward with recommended public health protocols of contact tracing and testing since President Trump tested positive for the virus.