play_arrow

keyboard_arrow_right

skip_previous play_arrow skip_next
00:00 00:00
playlist_play chevron_left
chevron_left
  • cover play_arrow

    Atlantic 195 Atlantic 195

News

For small U.S. towns, just one coronavirus infection can put governance at risk.

todayJanuary 23, 2022

Background
share close

In Marvell, Ark., a tiny Mississippi Delta town of 855 residents tucked into a sea of cotton, soy bean and corn fields, Lee Guest is a particularly essential essential worker.

He is the mayor and the assistant fire chief, and his day job is as a rural mail carrier. If the four employees of the local water utility don’t show up, he knows enough about the system to keep the water flowing, too.

“There’s a handful of us — we can go get stuff taken care of,” he said.

So when he was away from work for a week after contracting Covid-19 at the beginning of the year, the worn engine of small town governance and administration in Marvell, about a 90-minute drive southwest from Memphis, sputtered and coughed, but it chugged on.

Out of 13 full-time and 11 part-time employees, six have gotten Covid-19. One, who went to a hospital but wasn’t admitted, got sick in 2020. The rest of the cases have tested positive in the last three weeks.

It’s a familiar story in small towns across the country, where the spike in infections from the Omicron variant hit local governments with particular force. The virus has ripped through big cities like Los Angeles and New York, sidelining thousands of police officers and transit operators. In many, leaders have rushed to reassure residents that firefighters and paramedics will show up when they call amid record absences.

But in small communities, the people responsible for keeping crucial public services up and running say the strain is acute: With bare-bones workforces already stretched thin, there is no margin for error when multiple workers have to call in sick.

Original story from https://www.nytimes.com

Written by: admin

Rate it

Previous post

News

Number of seals born on Norfolk beach up 25 fold in 20 years

Pupping season for grey seals on a beach in Norfolk has seen births go from less than 100 to around 2,500 in 20 years. Pupping season for grey seals on a beach in Norfolk has seen births go from less than 100 to around 2,500 in 20 years. This year’s count was called off due to high tides which forced the animals on top of the dunes at Horsey Gap […]

todayJanuary 23, 2022


0%