Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

States and cities are trying to fill in the gaps that could prevent many vulnerable people from successfully isolating themselves — an important part of tracing coronavirus infections and reducing the virus' spread.

Between the lines: People who don’t have a home, who live in communal settings, or who don’t have a way to meet their basic needs without leaving the home pose complicated challenges to the U.S.’ containment effort.

The big picture: Testing and contact tracing is the only way to contain the virus until there's a treatment, and isolating infected or potentially infected people is part of making that process work.

  • For people who can work from home, order groceries online and avoid interacting with vulnerable family members, self-isolation is very doable.

Yes, but: People experiencing homelessness, by definition, do not have a place to quarantine.

  • Those living in communal settings, like nursing homes and prisons, will also struggle to isolate — part of the reason these facilities have been so prone to outbreaks.
  • Millions of Americans live with someone who's vulnerable to the virus, whether because of their age or pre-existing health conditions, or are caregivers for elderly relatives.
  • Congress has mandated paid sick leave for certain workers, but the benefit is limited.

What they're saying: "We always pay lip service to if you’re sick, stay home. It can’t be lip service anymore. It has to be the norm," said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs at the National Association of County & City Health Officials.

What they’re doing: Some communities are trying to remove these barriers.

  • Colorado is requiring long-term care facilities to create isolation plans.
  • Massachusetts created five state-operated isolation and recovery sites for homeless residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Communities within the state also set up quarantine sites for homeless people who have been exposed to the virus but are asymptomatic.
  • Nebraska is partnering with the University of Nebraska to provide quarantine housing.
  • New York City is offering hotel rooms to mildly symptomatic patients who need to isolate away from family, WaPo reports. While isolating, these patients will be provided food, pharmacy access and laundry service.

The bottom line: Successfully containing the coronavirus relies on sick or potentially sick people opting to isolate themselves. That isn’t going to happen all on its own.

Go deeper

Updated 10 hours ago - World

PM prepares for "COVID election" as NZ marks 100 days of no community spread

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attends the launch of the Labour Party's election campaign in Auckland on Saturday. Photo: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — New Zealand has now gone 100 days with no detected community spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health confirmed in an emailed statement Sunday.

Why It Matters: New Zealanders are going to the polls on Sept. 19. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been widely praised for her leadership that saw NZ lock down hard for several weeks before all domestic restrictions were lifted in June. She sees her government's response to and recovery from the coronavirus outbreak as key to her Labour Party being re-elected.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 19,863,850 — Total deaths: 731,374 — Total recoveries — 12,117,346Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,044,864 — Total deaths: 162,938 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says states don't have the funds to comply with Trump's executive order on unemployment — Mnuchin says Trump executive orders were cleared by Justice Department.
  4. States: New York reports lowest rate of positive coronavirus test results since pandemic began
  5. Public health: Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths by end of 2020. 
  6. Schools: 97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks — Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo showing packed hallway went viral .
Updated 11 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

Australian officials in Victoria announced another 19 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday morning local time, breaking the state and national record set the previous day of 17. Victoria also reported 322 new cases — the lowest in 13 days.

The big picture: Australia was on track to suppress the virus in May, but cases have been spiking in Victoria in recent weeks, where a state of disaster was declared last week, enabling officials to introduce restrictions including a night-time curfew in state capital Melbourne.