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Planning, Public Health, and Responses to COVID-19

Monday, September 28, 2020 at 3:00pm


State responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have been highly politicized in the US. We explore when stay-at-home orders were enacted and lifted across the fifty US states. Results show a strong linkage between social safety net protections (paid sick leave, expanded access to Medicaid Health Insurance, higher state minimum wage, higher welfare benefits) and the likelihood a state will shut down earlier and reopen later. Republican controlled states impose stay home orders later and reopen sooner. This comparative empirical policy research shows protecting public health and providing social safety net protections go hand in hand. We also assess what cities and states have done to protect access to drinking water during the COVID-19 pandemic. Water affordability is a problem in many US communities. As a result of unpaid water bills, an estimated 1 in 20 households experienced a water shutoff in 2016. With the onset of COVID-19, 35 states and over 400 cities issued moratoriums on water shutoffs. This session will discuss what factors differentiate localities and states which protect consumers from shut off, and will also discuss recommended best practices for local policy.

The panel will be moderated by Jamila Michener, Associate Professor of Government at Cornell, and co-director of the Cornell Center for Health Equity, co-director of the Politics of Race, Immigration, Class, and Ethnicity (PRICE) research initiative, and board chair of the Cornell Prison Education Program.

Panelists include:

Mildred Warner
Cornell University, Professor, Departments of City and Regional Planning and Global Development; Director, Local Government Restructuring Lab

Xue Zhang
Cornell University, Post-Doctoral Associate, Departments of City and Regional Planning and Global Development

Marcela González-Rivas
University of Pittsburgh, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Mary Grant
Campaign Director, Public Water for All, Food and Water Watch

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City and Regional Planning

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Alumni Affairs and Development

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