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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."

Go deeper

NRA files for bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for voluntary bankruptcy as part of a restructuring plan.

Driving the news: The gun rights group said it would reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment." Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.