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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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AP / Toby Talbot

Last week, we reported on the heroin-and-opioids crisis in the U.S. jobs market — a lot of skilled positions are going unfilled because a lot of people can't pass a drug test required for this work — and about a new trend in which Americans have stopped moving to find work. The posts generated many more than the usual number of letters, not a few which were powerful. We asked some of these readers whether we could reprint part of their letters.

Robert Legge, Etlan, Va.: Our drug war has only made things worse. People who have never hurt anyone but are convicted of drug possession are given a felony so they can't get SNAP, college loans, job that requires a state license, [and they have] difficulty finding housing ..., all things that often contribute to loss of relationships. They may see selling drugs as their only viable way to survive. And their drug using/selling friends will still be their friends when few else will.

Chris in Colorado: I'd sooner say, "Our employment situation is needlessly worsened by benighted and indefensible drug policies" than, "Employers can't find qualified workers because everybody is on drugs."

Walt Kotuba, Youngstown, Ohio: I can't find a job to save my life. I have a very rare neuromuscular disease that I was diagnosed with almost three years ago. I have a college degree and almost 20 years experience in environmental and health and safety. I've trained over 100 people. I could've worked from home. I could've done many different jobs. Now, I'm pretty much blackballed. Employers don't want any problems from anyone. Heck. I even was told I wasn't qualified to hand out towels and check in people at the local Air Force base. I took so much pride in my work. Now, I could care less. I've totally given up.

Elliott Cole, Montana: I am a paramedic and National Guard flight paramedic. And I have never once met a drug addict who was upset about the drugs being too potent. ... Heroin addicts are so testy when given the reversal agent (Naloxone) that they will fight you. Being brought out of that high that they paid good money for makes you their enemy. I usually give them just enough naloxone to keep respiratory drive intact but stop short of a full reversal of the high. I let the doctors deal with that nightmare.

Karen Porter, Orange County, NC: Our country and economy simply offer no support for different "tribes" locked in places that appear hopeless — at least those societal prisons offer friends and family if nothing else. Sad state of affairs. Doesn't matter if it's the inner city or the midwestern farms or the rust belt cities or the Appalachian hills. It's too scary to move now, Move where? Why? How? For how long? With what support? Sad answers to all of this. Yet I never see this addressed anywhere in the articles full of statistics.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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