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The coronavirus pandemic has been the main focus for governments around the world since early 2020. Different countries have utilised various tactics for fighting the virus and as such, there have been varying levels of success. In Asia, most countries acted quickly and with strong actions. Due to these strong, early actions, Asia has been one of the least affected areas of the world, despite the fact that the virus originated there. Europe, which was slow to react to the virus, was much more severely hit by Covid-19. The lack of early actions and the reluctance for most European countries to make tough decisions meant that most of Europe essentially closed for months. People couldn’t leave their homes except to buy essential items, all shops, restaurants and other public areas were closed and life changed completely for most people.

In the US, the reaction to the virus has varied. Early on, President Trump refused to take action against the pandemic, saying in February about the coronavirus cases in the US “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero”. The US now has 2.7m cases as of July 3. For the past week, the US has had more than 40,000 cases almost every day. The US passed 50,000 cases in one day on July 1 and it is expected that the cases could rise to 100,000 per day. The virus is spreading rapidly around the country as people argue over whether or not to wear masks, whether or not to close businesses and in some cases, over whether or not the virus is even real.

The discord in the US is largely political. To some people, wearing a mask is now a political action. Some people see wearing a mask as a sign that you dislike President Trump and not wearing a mask as a sign that you like or follow Trump’s example. Trump has so far refused to wear a mask in public which has fuelled his followers into doing the same thing. Although the virus is badly affecting all areas of the US, states which typically vote for Trump’s political party, the Republicans, are starting to be the worst-hit areas.

The plight in the US has had repercussions around the world. The European Union announced that they would begin allowing some travellers from other countries into the EU again starting from July 1. This was after banning almost all travel into and within the EU early on in the pandemic. The EU will now allow travellers from 14 countries to enter the EU. Countries such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and others will all be able to travel to the EU and EU citizens will be allowed to travel to the same countries. Travellers from the US are still prohibited from entering the EU, a significant sign of how bad the situation is in the US as the EU and US normally work very closely together.

As the virus spirals out of control in the US, attention is turning to the Presidential election in November 2020. The disapproval rating of President Trump has hit new highs due to his response to the Covid-19 pandemic. People are angry at the fact other countries are starting to go back to normal with very few new cases, while the US is experiencing record-breaking numbers for new cases almost every day. There is some speculation that Trump could suffer the worst election defeat in decades.

Difficult words

Tactic (n): An action or strategy planned to achieve a goal.

Originate (v): To come from a specific place.

Reluctance (n): A feeling of doubt when doing something.

Discord (n): Disagreement between people.

Fuelled (v): To give power or strength to something.

Plight (n): An issue or difficulty.

Repercussion (n): A consequence or negative effect.

Prohibit (v): To not allow.

Spiral (v): To show a continuous and dramatic increase or decrease.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Tactic A. Disagreement
2. Originate B. Not allow.
3. Reluctance C. Problem
4.  Discord D. Strategy
5. Fuelled E. Consequence
6. Plight F. Dramatic change.
7. Repercussion G. Come from.
8. Prohibit H. Power
9. Spiral I. Doubt

True or False?

1.  All countries around the world have used the same tactics to control the coronavirus. T / F

2. Asia acted quickly when fighting the coronavirus. T / F

3. Europe was reluctant to make tough decisions when it came to the coronavirus. T / F

4. In Europe, people could leave their homes for anything except going to restaurants. T / F

5. President Trump reacted to the virus quickly and immediately took action. T / F

6.  Everyone in the US knows the virus is real. T / F

7. President Trump has refused to wear a mask so his followers are doing the same. T / F

8. States that usually vote Republican are the least affected areas. T / F

9. The European Union has banned travellers from the US. T / F

10. President Trump’s approval rating in the US has been rising and rising recently. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1.  main / coronavirus / has / pandemic / focus / The / been / the

2.  have / utilised / countries / various / Different / tactics

3.  homes except / couldn’t / essential items / leave / People / to / buy / their

4. US, / to / the / reaction / the / In / the / has / virus / varied

5.  in / US / is / largely / The / discord / the / political

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English:

Focus Political Masks
Refused Typically Announced
Citizens Essentially Disapproval

The coronavirus pandemic has been the main (1)__________ for governments around the world since early 2020. Different countries have utilised various tactics for fighting the virus and as such, there have been varying levels of success. In Asia, most countries acted quickly and with strong actions. Due to these strong, early actions, Asia has been one of the least affected areas of the world, despite the fact that the virus originated there. Europe, which was slow to react to the virus, was much more severely hit by Covid-19. The lack of early actions and the reluctance for most European countries to make tough decisions meant that most of Europe (2)_______________ closed for months. People couldn’t leave their homes except to buy essential items, all shops, restaurants and other public areas were closed and life changed completely for most people.

In the US, the reaction to the virus has varied. Early on, President Trump (3)__________ to take action against the pandemic, saying in February about the coronavirus cases in the US “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero”. The US now has 2.7m cases as of July 3. For the past week, the US has had more than 40,000 cases almost every day. The US passed 50,000 cases in one day on July 1 and it is expected that the cases could rise to 100,000 per day. The virus is spreading rapidly around the country as people argue over whether or not to wear (4)__________, whether or not to close businesses and in some cases, over whether or not the virus is even real.

The discord in the US is largely (5)____________. To some people, wearing a mask is now a political action. Some people see wearing a mask as a sign that you dislike President Trump and not wearing a mask as a sign that you like or follow Trump’s example. Trump has so far refused to wear a mask in public which has fuelled his followers into doing the same thing. Although the virus is badly affecting all areas of the US, states which (6)______________ vote for Trump’s political party, the Republicans, are starting to be the worst-hit areas.

The plight in the US has had repercussions around the world. The European Union (7)________________ that they would begin allowing some travellers from other countries into the EU again starting from July 1. This was after banning almost all travel into and within the EU early on in the pandemic. The EU will now allow travellers from 14 countries to enter the EU. Countries such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and others will all be able to travel to the EU and EU (8)___________ will be allowed to travel to the same countries. Travellers from the US are still prohibited from entering the EU, a significant sign of how bad the situation is in the US as the EU and US normally work very closely together.

As the virus spirals out of control in the US, attention is turning to the Presidential election in November 2020. The (9)_______________ rating of President Trump has hit new highs due to his response to the Covid-19 pandemic. People are angry at the fact other countries are starting to go back to normal with very few new cases, while the US is experiencing record-breaking numbers for new cases almost every day. There is some speculation that Trump could suffer the worst election defeat in decades.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Did your country do a good job of fighting Covid-19?
5. Is your country allowing Americans to visit?
6. What do you think about the arguments over Covid-19 in the US?
7. Is wearing a mask common in your country since Covid-19 started?
8. How is life in your country different since Covid-19 began?
9. What do you think about Covid-19 becoming a political issue in the US?
10. What should the US do now?
11. Who do you think is to blame for the handling of the pandemic in the US?
12. Do you think things would be different in the US if there was a different President?
13. Do you think things will change in the US after the election in November?
14. Do you think there will be a second wave of the virus?
15. Do you think your country is doing enough to stop a second wave?
16. What do you want to do again once things go back to normal?
17. How do you think the world will be different after this pandemic is over?
18. Has there been anything about the pandemic that has been positive for you?
19. Do you think Covid-19 will stop only when a vaccine is discovered?
20. Has your healthcare system handled Covid-19 well?