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July 30, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending residents of states like Florida, with high rates of coronavirus transmission, to resume wearing masks - even if they’re vaccinated. Some state leaders are pushing back on the idea, but doctors say if Floridians want to return to normal, more people need to get vaccinated and listen to science. And for now, that means wearing a mask as we hear from Regan McCarthy.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida are reaching some of their highest levels yet during the pandemic. Nearly 9,000 people are now hospitalized with the disease statewide, according to the latest update from the Florida Hospital Association. That’s close to the peak number of patients the state recorded last July, which was just over 10,000. Health News Florida’s Stephanie Columbini talked to association president and former State Health Secretary Mary Mayhew, who says there are some differences in this recent spike of hospitalizations.

To mask or not to mask Governor Ron DeSantis says that’s a personal choice and he’s signing an executive order to make sure it stays that way. The question is one parents, teachers and students are grappling with as they prepare to head back to school in August. Lynn Hatter reports the issue is again coming to a head amid rising cases of the highly transmissible Delta Variant of the coronavirus.

A federal moratorium on evictions has been extended through the end of September. Florida’s pause on evictions ended in August. Since then, the current number of weekly eviction notices filed hasn’t changed much from pre-pandemic levels. Valerie Crowder spoke with the Florida Landlord Network’s Paul Howard.

Advocates for North Florida’s burgeoning hemp industry say it could be taken to the next level, but it needs a boost. Robbie Gaffney reports local growers and processors are grappling with how to raise the profile with suggestions ranging from more grower awareness to the prospect of bringing in a new processing plant.

Advocates in Tallahassee are hoping congressional budget negotiations will result in permission for the Medicare program to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. They also plan to push a constitutional amendment forcing the Florida Legislature to expand the Medicaid program to more recipients.