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Countries Move Towards Reopening Despite COVID-19 Concerns
Despite the continued COVID-19 pandemic around the globe, many countries have started taking steps to reopening after lockdowns kept many inside and stopped businesses over the last few months.
Doctors and scientists, however, have cautioned against not opening up prematurely, and that if their advice isn’t heeded spikes in coronavirus cases could happen.
The fiercest debates over reopening are happening in the United States. The country’s unemployment rate shot up to 14.7 percent by the end of April, the worst number the country has seen in nearly 100 years. Reports indicate 20.5 million people lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Many companies and establishments are expected to go out of business.
Some, such as President Donald Trump, want the country to reopen so that the economy can avoid further downturn. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease doctor, warned that doing so could lead to serious consequences.
The United States has so far recorded the most cases of COVID-19, along with the most deaths in the world from the disease.
China, where the disease originated from, has already undergone the process of reopening. In the past month, schools across the country have started up again, albeit with new safety measures in place to prevent the spread of the disease.
This includes in the city of Wuhan, where COVID-19 came from. Restaurants, gyms and other establishments are also slowly moving back to normalcy after being disrupted since the start of the year.
While many nations eye a return to normalcy, countries that appeared to fight the virus successfully early on are showing it is much harder to avoid slipping back. South Korea reported over 100 new infections tied to a single person who visited a nightclub recently, prompting the government to clamp down on entertainment venues.
Experts expect COVID-19 to change many aspects of life that once felt familiar, at least for a while. Travel, dining, shopping and much more will take on new forms in a post-coronavirus world.
In Japan, the State of Emergency was lifted in late May after cases decreased, though issues are still being discussed.
One of the biggest changes being mulled over is about school. Most schools across the country have been closed since the start of March after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recommended the move.
Some have suggested the Japanese school year now start in September, a move that would put the country in line with many other nations.
The plan, however, has many critics who also argue it would be too difficult to make it happen.
Japanese companies are also wrestling with the idea of telework, and how long to continue letting employees work from home.
At time of writing, nearly 6.4 million people globally have contracted COVID-19, with over 380,000 having died from it.
Key Words and Expressions
- caution — to give warning or advice to someone
- spike — a sudden, rapid increase
- unemployment rate — the proportion of people not being employed within working population
- go out of business — to close one’s company or go bankrupt
- safety measures — something that you do in order to ensure safety
- move back[return] to normalcy — to get back to the condition of being normal
- disrupt — to destroy normal continuance of system, process, or event
- slip back — to return to the former state
- in line with — in agreement or accordance with someone or something
- telework — to work from home or remotely, while communicating with your office by phone or email
Reading Comprehension Test
- How has the U.S. economy not been impacted by COVID-19?
a. Over 20 million people have lost their jobs so far.
b. Many companies are expected to go out of business.
c. The unemployment rate has decreased.
d. The unemployment rate is more than 14 percent.
- Why do some experts warn against reopening?
a. Opening too early could lead to serious consequences.
b. Opening too early could hurt the economy.
c. Opening too early could result in less positive tests.
d. Opening too early could extend the time of teleworking for many companies.
- Why is the Japanese school year starting in September being considered?
a. Because many schools in the country have not been in session since early
b. Because students can’t take the trains to school until the fall.
c. Because the weather in September is better for combating COVID-19.
d. Because Shinzo Abe proposed the change in a press conference.
- Why does Donald Trump want to reopen the U.S. economy?
- What happened in South Korea that shows how hard it is to go back to normal from COVID-19?