Disappearing Public Toilets, Public Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Neighborhood and Built Environment

May 6, 2020

Frequent hand washing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19, yet not everyone has easy access to running water. Lack of toilet facilities contributes to a variety of illnesses and can trigger outbreaks of contagious diseases, like Hepatitis A. Along with the homeless, others, including taxi drivers, utility workers, gas and electric service workers, people doing street repair, and people with certain medical conditions can encounter difficulty accessing toilet facilities. Today, access to public toilet facilities is even more restricted in states that have mandated closure of nearly all businesses. However, there are a variety of ways that cities can increase access to clean and safe public toilets.

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Matching Supply and Demand: Connecting Farms with Food Banks for Hunger Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Law & Policy InsightsFood and Housing Insecurity MeasuresFood Safety and SecurityFood Security

May 5, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

The devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in over 26 million Americans filing unemployment claims. This rising level of unemployment will push America further into a food security crisis. The USDA’s most recent food security report, published in September of 2019, indicated that 37.2 million Americans were food insecure. Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic will force an additional 17.1 million Americans into food insecurity.

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Protect and Improve Air Quality to Prevent High Mortality Rates from Future Pandemics

Law & Policy InsightsEnvironment, Climate and Health

April 21, 2020
by Betsy Lawton

As the earth’s climate warms and animals and humans relocate to more habitable locations, increased interactions with a variety of wildlife in new and different contexts places humans at risk of new viruses, making preventative measures to reduce pollution and address underlying health vulnerabilities such as asthma, chronic lung disease, or heart conditions even more important.

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Disclosure of COVID-19 Information by Domestic Violence Agencies or Shelters

Legal Technical Assistance HighlightsCOVID-19Health Data Sharing and PrivacyDomestic ViolenceSocial and Community Context

April 8, 2020
by Colleen Healy Boufides

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised numerous questions with regard to public health reporting requirements. This guidance addresses whether domestic violence agencies or shelters have an obligation to report cases of COVID-19 to a state or local public health department.

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A Public Health Framework for Implementing Economic and Social Supports

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Emergency Legal Preparedness and ResponseEconomic Stability

April 2, 2020
by John T. Monahan

The $2 trillion-plus Coronavirus response law, along with two other pandemic-related funding bills earlier this month, provide for a vast array of new federally-funded programs and policies aimed at helping individuals and families battered by a global pandemic and harmed by the economic downturn precipitated by our broad-based public health response. An overarching public health framework can guide the shared work of federal, state and local agencies to implement these new policies and programs.

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Supporting Mental Health in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Mental Health and Well-Being

March 26, 2020
by Jill Krueger

The COVID-19 outbreak occurring in the United States and in many other countries has profound implications for mental health. Just as public health is leading the way to protect physical health in the context of COVID-19, public health can take steps to promote mental health and community resilience. While public health has emergency isolation, quarantine, and social distancing powers, taking small steps where consistent with good public health practice can support mental well-being.

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