Michael Bloomberg. Photo:Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, through his foundation Bloomberg Philanthropies, announced on Tuesday an online network of mayors and public health experts to help communities deal with the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Local officials are on the front lines of handling the economic, health and social fallout of the spread of COVID-19 virus.

What they're saying: "There's an enormous gap between what the federal government is providing and the local governments need," Bloomberg said at the National League of Cities Conference on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

  • "The failure to prepare and to speak honestly and forthrightly to the public has economic consequences. If the market continues to slide, local governments are going to see the economic fallout in their main street shops and social services caseloads."
  • Bloomberg said the goal is to help local leaders achieve three things: 1) Decrease the spread of the disease; 2) Help those who contract it to recover; and 3) Protect the economic well-being of communities.

How it works: The virtual network is forming in collaboration with Johns Hopkins and Harvard public health experts.

  • The network is open to all U.S. mayors. Mayors who are already dealing with with ramifications of the coronavirus in their cities, such as Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, will share their insights and lessons learned.
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies will identify and document the needs of cities experiencing the outbreak and share with other local officials.
  • The program is designed to supplement, not replace, information coming from the federal government, Bloomberg said. "It will help provide guidance on managing medical facilities, handling quarantines, supporting people who are ill who have to stay home because their workplaces or schools are closed."

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 18,364,694 — Total deaths: 695,848 — Total recoveries — 10,965,634Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 4,742,277 — Total deaths: 156,133 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — New York ER doctor on pandemic advice: "We know what works"
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll Atrium Health CEO says "virtual hospital" has treated 13,000 COVID patients.
  5. Politics: Republicans push to expand small business loan program Trump tells "Axios on HBO" that pandemic is "under control," despite surges in infections.
  6. Sports: Indy 500 to be held without fansRafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open.