Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic's economic collapse is making it harder for local leaders to address the inequalities in their cities — even as the unrest over police violence has magnified the need for change even further.

The big picture: Evening out some of these disparities requires money — and city budgets are shot.

What's happening: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, the city's former police chief, said this week has been a "turning point in awareness" in her city.

  • "Some individuals in some neighborhoods have never been in the low-income areas, and are unaware of the problems and issues," she said. "This has broadened awareness of systemic issues and will foster community engagement."
  • Tampa will still be able to fund existing plans for affordable housing, public transportation and a new effort on workforce development. But an anticipated $20 million budget shortfall will hamper new investments.

Cincinnati is dipping into reserves, furloughing employees and facing cuts to city services to deal with an $80 million budget deficit, said Mayor John Cranley.

  • "We have the resources we need to to get through it," he said. "But we need to be investing in public health, police and fire, economic empowerment and small business loans to help people get back on their feet. We're not going to be able to do that."

The bottom line: Many cities are struggling to marshal the resources to help residents recover from recent health and economic blows, let alone support new levels of community reinvestment.

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Updated Sep 22, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Some 90,000 New York City children in pre-K and those with advanced disabilities went back to school for in-person classes on Monday.

The big picture: All other students in the city resumed classes online. Elementary schools are due to open on Sept. 29, with middle schools and high schools following on Oct. 1.

FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

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