Florida has become a public health catastrophe. Its daily COVID-19 case counts now rival New York’s at the height of the pandemic there, and the death toll is rising. With the state’s big elderly population and large number of front-line employees and tourists, it’s a perfect storm.

So why did Disney World just open up and why is the state government demanding that Florida schools hold in-person classes? Two Texas A&M professors who are studying state responses to the pandemic take us inside Florida’s economy to explore why COVID-19 policies are both more necessary and politically harder to implement in the Sunshine State.

This week we also liked articles about the origins of mild-mannered synonyms for profanity, why you may need to adjust your coping strategies as the pandemic grinds on and the role teachers are playing in local decisions about how K-12 schools should operate this fall.

Stacy Morford

General Assignments Editor

Florida cities like Miami have resorted to issuing their own protective rules as coronavirus case numbers climb. Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Why the coronavirus pandemic became Florida’s perfect storm

Tiffany A. Radcliff, Texas A&M University ; Murray J. Côté, Texas A&M University

A close look at Florida's economy shows just how vulnerable the state and its population are to a pandemic, and some of the reasons state officials hesitate to take action.

Using minced oaths became a habit in NBC’s The Good Place. YouTube/NBC

Zounds! What the fork are minced oaths? And why are we still fecking using them today?

Kirk Hazen, West Virginia University

From 16th-century playwrights to 'The Good Place,' wordplay has found clever ways to get around uttering profane and blasphemous language.

Keeping your equilibrium can be a challenge in times of uncertainty. Léonard Cotte/Unsplash

Your coping and resilience strategies might need to shift as the COVID-19 crisis continues

Craig Polizzi, Binghamton University, State University of New York; Steven Jay Lynn, Binghamton University, State University of New York

As the pandemic drags on, uncertainty and fears about health and safety mix with confusion and challenges tied to re-opening society. You need flexibility when picking your coping strategies.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, discloses the results from phase 1 of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trials. YurolaitsAlbert / Getty Images

Video: An infectious disease expert explains the results from Moderna’s latest vaccine trials

Sanjay Mishra, Vanderbilt University

The results from the phase 1 trial are a promising first step in showing that the mRNA vaccine is a viable candidate, but there are unanswered questions and it is still early in the process.