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There is a new variant of COVID-19. It is called the Delta variant. It started in India but it has now spread to many countries. Doctors and scientists are worried about this variant because it spreads much faster and is more dangerous than previous strains of COVID-19. There is concern that vaccines might not be able to stop it because of how quickly it spreads.

Vaccinations have been going well in many countries since they started at the end of 2020. However, as more people get vaccinated, some governments are struggling to increase the number of people who are vaccinated. In the US, there has been a big drop in vaccinations. In the beginning, it was easy to get vaccinations to people. Hundreds of thousands of doses could be given every day. Now, 50% of the US is fully vaccinated but the number is not increasing as quickly as before. The government is struggling to convince people who are not vaccinated to get the vaccines. This problem is happening in other countries too. Some people are refusing to get vaccinated and others think they don’t really need to. Governments are trying to educate people about why they need to get the vaccines. The Delta variant is spreading quickly because not enough people are vaccinated and because vaccinations are slowing down. COVID cases are rising quickly again. As many people as possible need to get vaccinated so that COVID cannot spread. 

In the US, some places have offered money or other things to try and get people vaccinated. In France, the government has said people cannot go to restaurants, cinemas, sports events, shopping malls and other places unless they have the vaccine. France is one of the first countries to make a rule like this. Many governments don’t want to make this kind of rule because they don’t want to exclude people. However, the rule seems to be working in France. On the day the rule was announced, almost 1 million people signed up to get their first vaccination. The percentage of people who are fully vaccinated has been steadily increasing. Other countries may start introducing rules like the ones in France in order to stop more variants from appearing. As the Delta variant spreads, scientists and doctors are worried that there could be more variants. They are especially worried about a variant appearing which cannot be stopped by the vaccines.

Difficult Words

Variant (n): A different form or version of a virus.

Strain (n): A form, type or version of a virus.

Concern (n): A worry, feeling anxious about something.

Convince (v): Cause someone to believe what you believe.

Steadily (adv): Without change, continuously.

Activities

For listening practice, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio:

Match the Synonym!

 1. Variant A. Worry
 2. Strain B. Different form.
 3. Concern C. Cause to believe.
 4. Convince D. Type
 5. Steadily E. Continue

True or False?

1. The Delta variant began in India. T / F

2. The Delta variant does not spread as fast as regular COVID-19. T / F

3. Less than 60% of the US is fully vaccinated. T / F

4. The US government has been able to convince most people to get the vaccine. T / F

5. Unvaccinated people can go to restaurants in France. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. started / It / spread / in / India / has / it / but / now

2. are / Doctors / variant / this / scientists / about / worried / and

3. going / well / Vaccinations / countries / many / in / have / been

4. the / In / a / been / US, / has / big / vaccinations / in / there / drop

5. places / In / offered / the / some / have / money / US,

Listening and Vocabulary

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

American English Audio:

AppearingRisingOffered
PreviousStrugglingAnnounced

There is a new variant of COVID-19. It is called the Delta variant. It started in India but it has now spread to many countries. Doctors and scientists are worried about this variant because it spreads much faster and is more dangerous than (1)______________ strains of COVID-19. There is concern that vaccines might not be able to stop it because of how quickly it spreads.

Vaccinations have been going well in many countries since they started at the end of 2020. However, as more people get vaccinated, some governments are (2)______________ to increase the number of people who are vaccinated. In the US, there has been a big drop in vaccinations. In the beginning, it was easy to get vaccinations to people. Hundreds of thousands of doses could be given every day. Now, 50% of the US is fully vaccinated but the number is not increasing as quickly as before. The government is struggling to convince people who are not vaccinated to get the vaccines. This problem is happening in other countries too. Some people are refusing to get vaccinated and others think they don’t really need to. Governments are trying to educate people about why they need to get the vaccines. The Delta variant is spreading quickly because not enough people are vaccinated and because vaccinations are slowing down. COVID cases are (3)_____________ quickly again. As many people as possible need to get vaccinated so that COVID cannot spread. 

In the US, some places have (4)____________ money or other things to try and get people vaccinated. In France, the government has said people cannot go to restaurants, cinemas, sports events, shopping malls and other places unless they have the vaccine. France is one of the first countries to make a rule like this. Many governments don’t want to make this kind of rule because they don’t want to exclude people. However, the rule seems to be working in France. On the day the rule was (5)______________, almost 1 million people signed up to get their first vaccination. The percentage of people who are fully vaccinated has been steadily increasing. Other countries may start introducing rules like the ones in France in order to stop more variants from (6)______________. As the Delta variant spreads, scientists and doctors are worried that there could be more variants. They are especially worried about a variant might appear that can’t be stopped by the vaccines.

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. How are vaccinations going in your country?
5. Have you been vaccinated?
6. What is the most common COVID vaccine in your country?
7. Has your government been having trouble convincing people to get vaccinated?
8. How can governments educate people about vaccines?
9. Why do you think people don’t want to get vaccinated?
10. Do you think vaccines are the only way to stop COVID-19?
11. Do you know anyone who doesn’t want to get vaccinated?
12. What is the best way to convince people to get vaccinated?
13. Has the Delta variant been an issue in your country?
14. What do you think about France’s strict vaccination rules?
15. Do you think your country would ever make vaccination rules similar to France?
16. Do you think forcing people to get vaccinated takes away their freedom?
17. What was the opinion of vaccines in your country before COVID-19?
18. Do you think your country will be able to get to an 80% vaccination rate?
19. Do you think social media has played a role in the slow vaccination rates?
20. Are there any other things that you think unvaccinated people should not be able to do?