Practice English Speaking&Listening with: As coronavirus cases soar in Florida, Miami struggles to respond

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-The beaches and restaurants are busy.

The turquoise waters are warm.

It's summer in the Sunshine State,

which seemed to have been spared the worst effects

of coronavirus.

-Whenever you do anything that increases human interactions,

that's a gateway for the virus to spread.

-Over the past few weeks,

new cases have been quickly rising in Florida,

a state that was one of the first to open in early May.

-So, that's tuberculosis. That's typhoid fever.

-Infectious disease specialist Dr Dave Dodson is concerned.

-I've been practicing infectious disease in West Palm Beach

for 35 years.

And we've gone through the AIDS epidemic.

We've gone through Ebola, SARS, H1N1.

And this is the worst epidemic I've seen.

This is like the AIDS epidemic,

which played out over many years,

compressed into a few months.

So this is really new, different, and horrific.

-On June 24th, Florida's Department of Health

confirmed 5,500 additional cases of COVID-19,

setting another daily record.

The state is now approaching 110,000 confirmed cases.

-Obviously, it's a major concern.

We are seeing a large volume of the new cases

in the 18-to-35-year age range.

We are seeing an uptick in hospitalizations,

an uptick in ICUs and ventilator use.

Thankfully, we have not seen an uptick,

at least not so far, in deaths.

-Because of the coronavirus surge,

several counties and cities have implemented emergency orders

requiring the wearing of masks in public places,

Miami being the first to do so this week.

-If you're gonna be in public, you gotta wear a mask.

Obviously, if you're at a restaurant, eating,

you can take the mask off to eat.

If you're exercising, you can take the mask off.

But, otherwise, we're gonna require you to wear

a mask in public and the reason

why is for your safety, for your protection,

and for the protection of those around us.

-By his own admission, Mayor Suarez knows

this will be tough to enforce across the city, though,

if a person resists wearing a mask,

they can be arrested on a misdemeanor,

fined $500, and spend 60 days in jail.

-Governor Ron DeSantis said that he does support

the masks in the Miami area

and will help crack down on anyone not wearing them

in restaurants, public places, or inside buildings.

But he did say that he is not going to mandate

that across the state and that he will not change

any of the reopening plans for Florida.

-In the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami,

usually abuzz with social activity,

restaurants are mostly empty

and there are few people on the streets.

-I think that is necessary, at this point in time.

It has become a part of the new norm.

-For many small businesses here,

the virus has been an economic disaster.

This cigar shop thrives on tourism.

Owner Byron Marin says there is none,

and his frustraions go beyond that.

-I'm here, trying to run an establishment, right?

I don't wear a mask, I go to jail.

But there's people out there going, looting, breaking things,

getting into businesses, making the economy worse, as it is,

and they're getting away with it.

-Patron Gus Manessis also disagrees

with the city's mask-wearing policy.

-It's your responsibility to take care of your health,

nothing else, you know?

And, if I don't wanna wear a mask, I don't have to.

But if you don't feel comfortable

because I'm not wearing a mask, wear your mask.

And that's where the whole dilemma comes in.

Are these masks that good, that they're actually helping?

I guess not, because everybody's so fearful,

even when they're wearin' a mask.

-Medical experts and elected officials

have attributed the rising number of cases

to a combination of more testing and more social contact

as businesses reopen, and, in recent weeks,

to people's participation in large protests.

When asked if the city of Miami will consider

another full lockdown, the mayor answered with this.

-Listen, everything is on the table, unfortunately.

It's not something we wanna do.

Part of the reason why we implemented the mask rule is

so we wouldn't have to go back and start closing businesses.

That's not something we wanna do in the economy

that we're facing right now.

But, if the health crisis gets to a point

where we feel that people's lives are in jeopardy,

lives are at risk, then it's very possible

that we may have to do something like that.

-In the meantime, empty boats float idle

on the waters of the Miami cruise terminal.

Places like South Beach, which are usually jam-packed

this time of year, are holding steady,

but people are concerned that the COVID-19 surge

may put them in reverse once again.

-So it's still dangerous, in my opinion.

Just, I don't see it easing up anytime soon, honestly.

I just hope everyone stays safe.

That's it.

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