Pandemic Response In The News

Tracking the impact of coronavirus in US Cities

This article first appeared on Smart Cities Dives website. MMC engages in content partnerships with several organizations, and cross-posting does not indicate an endorsement or agreement.

U.S. cities are currently responding to heightened concern around the growing outbreak of the new coronavirus, or COVID-19. To stay on top of local-level mitigation, Smart Cities Dive will regularly update this tracker with aggregated news and headlines regarding the virus’ impact on cities.

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JULY 24, 2020
  • Twelve major U.S. cities including Miami, New Orleans and Las Vegas are seeing a ‘concerning’ rise in new coronavirus cases, according to White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. (CNN)
  • Huntington Beach, CA City Hall has closed for the second time as 33 city employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since testing began in March. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The City of Las Vegas is deploying compliance ambassadors to help educate businesses about COVID-19 mandates. The ambassadors can’t hand out citations, but they will be able to alert compliance officers. (KSNV-TV)
  • The Mayors Migration Council announced a joint commitment to implementing local policy that addresses the pandemic recovery needs of migrant and refugee communities in their respective cities, including Los Angeles. (Mayors Migration Council)
  • Health experts warn that the pandemic is exacerbating the risk of extreme heat exposure for groups who are already more vulnerable to COVID-19. (CNN)
  • The Glendale, CA City Council has authorized $400 fines for individuals who violate mask-wearing mandates, and up to $2,000 for third-time violations. (ABC7)
  • Chicago’s Black and Latino students were more likely to receive “incomplete” grades compared to White students during the pandemic, and were more likely to receive “passes” instead of letter grades. (Block Club Chicago)
JULY 23, 2020
  • The Portland City Council passed a $114 million spending plan with funds from the CARES Act. The city plans to spend $101.1 million on community programs and food access, with the remainder tentatively spent on its COVID-19 response. (Oregon Live)
  • A recent research paper by German professor Klaus Kunzmann said the COVID-19 pandemic has increased public exposure to local government guidance, which will make it easier for cities to pursue smart solutions and technologies like traffic and data sensors. (Fast Company)
  • An Upwork study assessed how remote work opportunities will bridge the “geographic wage gap” as workers move out of expensive metropolitan areas. On average, hourly earnings in the 15 most expensive metros to live are $40.50, compared to $28.36 for an average location. (CNBC)
  • Almost two-thirds of the homes in the City of Oakland, CA are rentals, with housing advocates saying 10-20,000 residents could be vulnerable to evictions due to COVID-19. (KPIX)
  • The median price of a single-family home in the Hamptons has jumped 25% as affluent New Yorkers escape the city, a new report says. (CNBC)
  • Anchorage, AK Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is imposing new restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and other businesses as cases surge across the city and state. The city has an average of 37.9 cases per day. (Anchorage Daily News)
  • Every local government in Nevada, except Clark County and Las Vegas, is still waiting on federal coronavirus relief money from the state. The delay is hindering the local government responses to mitigate the rising number of COVID-19 cases. (KVVU)
  • Washington, DC expanded its face mask requirement, ordering residents to wear a mask at all times outside the home, following an increase in the city’s COVID-19 cases. (WUSA9)
JULY 22, 2020
  • The Climate Mayors coalition sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday urging COVID-19 recovery action that prioritizes resiliency, sustainability and a zero-carbon economy. (Climate Mayors)
  • The Ohio Department of Health is conducting a study with the Ohio EPA to test samples from the state’s sewage and wastewater treatment systems to understand coronavirus fragments and potentially provide an early warning about COVID-19. (
  • Southern California cities are enforcing face mask mandates with violators subject to varying fines. In West Hollywood, violators will have to pay $300, Irvine rule-breakers will have to pay $500, and Beverly Hills residents would have to pay $100 for their first offense. (KNBC)
  • The testing sites in San Antonio, CA that serve mostly Black neighborhoods have wait times that are about 128% “busier” than in White neighborhoods. Meanwhile, Los Angeles testing sites that serve mostly Black neighborhoods were found to be 28% busier than those serving White neighborhoods. (KFSN)
  • El Paso, TX Mayor Dee Margo broke a tied city council vote, deciding in favor of withholding information about the exact locations of COVID-19 clusters and denying a plan for more virus testing centers. (KVIIA)
  • Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague is defying Gov. Kim Reynolds’ assertion that face masks can’t prevent the spread of coronavirus by ordering a mask-wearing mandate for the city of 75,000. (KCCI)
  • The Navajo Nation, which once had the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the U.S., is now seeing a drop after months of reported cases in the triple digits. A New Mexico Indian Affairs Department official said the nation could serve as a case study for mitigating the coronavirus. (KOAT)
JULY 21, 2020
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo flew to Georgia on Monday to deliver PPE to residents in Savannah. He vowed to help the City of Savannah set up two new public testing sites and boost contact tracing. (CBS News)
  • A temporary New York City hospital, built at the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in April to relieve overwhelmed hospitals, cost more than $52 million and only served 79 patients. (The New York Times)
  • The Citi Open men’s tennis tournament, slated to occur in Washington, DC in mid-August, has been canceled. (The Washington Post)
  • Los Angeles County health officials reported that coronavirus infections are continuing to increase, with hospitalizations reaching record-high rates. The county is also seeing a growing number of cases among young people. (KTLA)
  • The City of Boston will have 20 cooling centers open to the public during a heat wave, with each center only allowing up to 40% of the building’s capacity due to coronavirus restrictions. (WGBH)
JULY 20, 2020
  • In an interview on Sunday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said his city is “on the brink” of another stay-at-home order due to a lack of federal leadership. (CNN)
  • Uber has quietly launched a service to give public health officials some rider and driver data for contact tracing purposes. (Reuters)
  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has asked for an emergency injunction to restrain Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms from speaking to the press about coronavirus. “Far more have sacrificed too much more for me to be silent,” she said. (Twitter)
  • Florida reported nearly 12,500 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, marking the fifth day in a row that the state has seen its case number grow by more than 10,000. The virus’ spread through Florida is attracting “worldwide attention.” (Tampa Bay Times)
  • Every city and town in Connecticut has submitted a “Safe Polls Plan” to assess if localities have enough funding and resources to keep voters safe during the state’s Aug. 11 primary election. (Hartford Courant)
  • U.S. Navy medics were deployed to aid hospitals in four Texas cities identified as the state’s “hot spots”: Harlingen, Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Rio Grande City. (Texas Tribune)


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