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Pandemics

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that his Democratic predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama, left him ill-prepared to handle a major health crisis when, in fact, Obama's administration left behind a comprehensive pandemic game plan that included a 69-page playbook. But Trump's administration abandoned those Obama-era recommendations. On top of that, National Public Radio's Brian Mann is reporting that Trump's administration, in 2017, "stopped work on new federal regulations that would have forced the health care industry to prepare for an airborne infectious disease pandemic such as COVID-19."

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Entering Helena-West Helena, Arkansas

Kevin Smith

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

Kevin Smith, the mayor of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, feels abandoned by the federal government. On Easter Sunday, a storm hit his city of 10,000, one of the poorest in the state. It knocked out power for most residents; those who'd used SNAP benefits to stock their refrigerators saw their groceries spoil. Streets flooded. Sewers overflowed. In the thick of a pandemic, debris blocked roads to the hospital.

His city faces a loss of up to 30 percent in revenue because of the coronavirus, but doesn't qualify for direct federal stimulus funding, which is reserved for those with populations of 500,000 or more. So at a time when his city needs infrastructure the most, he is weighing cuts and layoffs.

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