Restrictions easing in US and Europe amid disaster in India; plus more virus news

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Air travel in the U.S. hit its highest mark since COVID-19 took hold more than 13 months ago, while European Union officials are proposing to ease restrictions on visitors to the continent as the vaccine sends new cases and deaths tumbling in more affluent countries.

The improving picture in many places contrasts with the worsening disaster in India.

In the U.S., the average number of new cases per day fell below 50,000 for the first time since October. And nearly 1.67 million people were screened at U.S. airport checkpoints on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration, the highest number since mid-March of last year.

But with more-contagious variants taking hold, efforts are underway to boost vaccination efforts, which have begun to lag. The average number of doses given per day fell 27% from a high of 3.26 million on April 11 to 2.37 million last Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As the U.S. and other countries rushed in aid, India reported nearly 370,000 new cases and more than 3,400 deaths Monday — numbers that experts believe are vast undercounts because of a widespread lack of testing and incomplete reporting.

In other developments:

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation giving him sweeping powers to invalidate local emergency measures put in place during the outbreak. While the law doesn’t go into effect until July, the Republican governor said he will issue an executive order to more quickly get rid of local mask mandates.
  • New York City’s subway will begin rolling all night again and capacity restrictions for most types of businesses will end across New York state in mid-May. And in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is moving to suspend all remaining COVID-19 restrictions imposed by communities across his state.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says there’s a “good chance” that social distancing rules in England will be scrapped on June 21 if coronavirus infections and deaths stay low.
  • StubHub is offering some customers cash refunds for tickets to events that were canceled during the pandemic, creating an exception to a no-refunds policy it adopted in March 2020 to the dismay of many customers.