Construction workers wearing masks work on a road in New York City in May. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Major infrastructure projects have been put on ice, economic development programs are getting the ax, and workers are losing their jobs.

Why it matters: These are the realities for localities dealing with multimillion-dollar budget holes while also continuing to pour money into COVID-19 response as cases spike.

By the numbers, per a survey of 1,100 municipalities by the National League of Cities:

  • 65% of cities are delaying or canceling capital expenditures and infrastructure projects, with 61% of cities delaying or canceling equipment purchases.
  • 24% of cities are slashing community and economic development programs.
  • 33% of cities say they will have to furlough or lay off employees.
  • 20% said cuts are happening across the board, 54% said they are more targeted.

Job losses are mounting at the local level, with more than 1.3 million jobs lost since March, according to numbers from the National Association of Counties.

  • Most job losses were related to education, but more than 523,000 job losses included social workers, law enforcement, maintenance crews and construction workers.

"There will be a lot of cuts to parks and recreation and economic development programs — things that are important but maybe not essential," said Michael Belsky, executive director of the Center for Municipal Finance at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.

  • A number of local officials have said they don't plan to raise taxes to fill funding gaps, but the option may soon be on the table as the pandemic drags on and rainy day funds and borrowing capacities are exhausted.
"The worst time you can tax people is when their incomes are down. Many places are furloughing people, property values will be depressed. You don't have enough income and demand for housing so prices will go down, and property taxes will go down. All these things point to very difficult decisions."
— Michael Belsky

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Sep 17, 2020 - Health

WHO: Health care workers account for around 14% of coronavirus cases

A health worker collecting coronavirus samples in New Delhi on Sept. 16. Photo: Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Though health workers represent less than 3% of the population in many countries, they account for around 14% coronavirus cases reported to the World Health Organization, the organization announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The WHO called on governments and health care leaders to address threats facing the health and safety of these workers, adding that the pandemic has highlighted how protecting them is needed to ensure a functioning health care system.

Updated Sep 18, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Though health workers represent less than 3% of the population in many countries, they account for around 14% of the coronavirus cases reported to the World Health Organization, WHO announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The WHO called on governments and health care leaders to address threats facing the health and safety of these workers, adding that the pandemic has highlighted how protecting them is needed to ensure a functioning health care system.

Pandemic may drive up cancer cases and exacerbate disparities

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Doctors are concerned the coronavirus pandemic is going to lead to an uptick in cancer incidence and deaths — and exacerbate racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities seen with the disease.

Why it matters: The U.S. has made recent advances in lowering cancer deaths — including narrowing the gap between different race and ethnicities in both incidence and death rates. But the pandemic could render some of these advances moot.