Welcome back. There's a ton of news to cover, so let's dive right in.
U.S. cities of all sizes are facing significant fiscal pressure as they try to fight the coronavirus. Many local elected officials expect that they'll have to curtail services, raise fees or draw down reserves to absorb the blow.
Where it stands: Congress and the White House reached a deal overnight to inject $2 trillion into the economy, with $150 billion set to be allocated to state and local governments, including $8 billion for tribal governments.
The big picture: Most cities have taken aggressive steps to try to control the spread of the coronavirus, according to a survey of elected leaders of 326 cities conducted by the National League of Cities.
Yes, but: Essentially shutting down their economies while also expanding safety-net programs comes at a huge cost.
A separate Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults commissioned by the National League of Cities found that Americans overwhelmingly (86%) support the federal government providing funds directly to cities to help support coronavirus challenges.
Between the lines: Typically, emergency relief legislation directs money to state governments to then dole out to local jurisdictions. But counties and cities say there's simply not enough time to go through that extra procedural step — they need aid immediately.
County governments, which run 1,900 public health departments, expect the crisis to cost billions.
What they're saying: "If there ever was a scenario where state and local governments needed a strong stimulus injection, it is now," Tom Kozlik, Hilltop Securities' head of municipal strategy and credit, in a client note.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
New York's fight against coronavirus is also the nation's fight, as the state — and the city in particular — emerges as ground zero for the disease, with "astronomical numbers" of cases, to quote Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Why it matters: The Empire State has 5% of the world's COVID-19 cases and about 50% of the nation's.
A pivotal moment: Cuomo spoke passionately at a press conference Tuesday about the importance of devoting all resources to New York's rapidly escalating caseload.
By the numbers: New York has 25,000 cases of the novel coronavirus vs. 2,800 in California, 2,200 in Washington and 1,200 in Florida, Cuomo said.
As the densest city in the country, "New York is really a testing ground" for ways to fight the coronavirus, Tomas Hoyos, co-founder of Voro, an online social network where people share recommendations for doctors, told Axios.
Topeka, the capital city of Kansas and the county seat of Shawnee County, is a small city of 127,473 residents. Photo: Getty Images
Readers are telling me about what their own communities are doing. I'll try to highlight these stories each week.
As of today, there aren't any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shawnee County, Kansas. But Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla immediately put in place stop-gap measures to keep residents safe, both physically and emotionally.
The latest: The county's health officer on Tuesday issued a stay-at-home order for 30 days, requiring residents to stay at home except for essential needs.
Information overload is a concern as people are bombarded with information. De La Isla does a televised and livestreamed press conference every day at 5pm. Tonight local leaders are hosting a live Facebook chat at 6pm.
The coronavirus pandemic could accelerate the rise of the robots, according to a Brookings Institution analysis.
Why it matters: A COVID-19-caused recession will likely lead to a spike in automation, meaning some of the jobs lost to the virus will never return as companies restructure their operations to rely more on technology than people, reports Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.
Details: Mark Muro, a senior fellow and policy director of Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Program, says recent recessions show that companies tend to replace lower-skilled workers with a combination of technology and higher-skilled employees. A recession induced by the coronavirus would be no different.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
While the travel industry and accommodations are taking a major hit amid the coronavirus pandemic, short-term rentals in U.S. rural areas (and suburbs, to a lesser extent) are seeing an uptick, according to new data from AirDNA.
The big picture: People are fleeing densely populated areas, especially on the coasts, and taking up shelter in isolated rentals in rural and more "destination" type of locales, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
By the numbers:
Local data shows similar patterns.
Yes, but: There's no evidence this will be enough to help Airbnb cruise through the current crisis. It's in discussions with potential investors for new capital as it decides what to do with its IPO plans.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The coronavirus economy will devastate those who can least afford it (Axios)
Justice during pandemic: Police seek to protect public and prisoners (Christian Science Monitor)
What a coronavirus recovery could look like (CityLab)
Keeping the coronavirus from infecting health-care workers (New Yorker)
Coronavirus hits state and city budgets (WSJ)
Coronavirus' existential threat to local news (Axios)
Chino Hills High School Chamber Singers streaming a performance. Screenshot of Digg.com.
Because we could all use some good news, here are a few hopeful stories of how people are helping others in their communities.
Thanks to those readers who sent me their stories. Keep 'em coming!
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy.