Coronavirus

The U.S. Response to COVID-19

Our latest investigations into the crisis response and public health infrastructure.

The Postal Service Is Steadily Getting Worse — Can It Handle a National Mail-In Election?

Postal delays and mistakes have marred primary voting, and after years of budget cuts and plant closures, mail delivery has slowed so much that ballot deadlines in many states are no longer realistic.

State Investigating Hospital With Coronavirus Policy That Profiled Pregnant Native American Mothers and Separated Them From Newborns

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham cited “significant, awful allegations” in a ProPublica and New Mexico In Depth story on a hospital where clinicians said pregnant Native women were singled out for COVID-19 testing and separated from newborns after delivery.

A Hospital’s Secret Coronavirus Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns

Pregnant Native American women were singled out for COVID-19 testing based on their race and ZIP code, clinicians say. While awaiting results, some mothers were separated from their newborns, depriving them of the immediate contact doctors recommend.

Emails Reveal Chaos as Meatpacking Companies Fought Health Agencies Over COVID-19 Outbreaks in Their Plants

Thousands of pages of documents obtained by ProPublica show how quickly public health agencies were overwhelmed by meatpacking cases. One CEO described social distancing as “a nicety that makes sense only for people with laptops.”

Did Your Job Give You Masks or Other Protective Gear? Send Us a Picture.

You can help us find out if the equipment issued to federal employees is certified for protective use.

Federal Agencies Have Spent Millions on KN95 Masks, Often Without Knowing Who Made Them

Government employees at several agencies are relying on KN95 masks that the agencies cannot guarantee offer the most protection. Some agencies have paid little attention to important manufacturing details and been tripped up by shifting regulations.

Advocates Sue Trump Administration Over Mass Border Expulsions

The suit, which draws on ProPublica’s story illuminating the secretive policy, seeks to stop a 16-year-old boy from being expelled to Honduras and to reunite him with his father who’s already living in the U.S.

Capital One and Other Debt Collectors Are Still Coming for Millions of Americans

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Americans got protection from evictions, foreclosures and student debt. But debt collectors have continued to siphon off their share of paychecks from those who still have jobs.

On the Minds of Black Lives Matter Protesters: A Racist Health System

Black lives are being lost to COVID-19 at twice the rate of others. For protesters we talked to, that’s one more reason to be on the street. “If it’s not police beating us up, it’s us dying in a hospital from the pandemic,” one said.

Small Businesses Failed by Federal Bailout Program Turn to Cash-Strapped Local Governments for Help

Thousands of small businesses, especially those owned by people of color, have been left behind by the stipulations of the Paycheck Protection Program. In Texas, local governments are lending millions of dollars and it’s not enough.

Tear Gas Is Way More Dangerous Than Police Let On — Especially During the Coronavirus Pandemic

In the middle of a respiratory pandemic, law enforcement agencies have used tear gas in especially dangerous ways. The chemical agent also seeps into homes, contaminates food, furniture, skin and surfaces, and can cause long-term lung damage.

She Paid Thousands for a Visa to Work in the U.S. Then She Got Laid Off. Now, She’s Trapped.

Thousands of workers in the U.S. with J-1 visas have been laid off as the coronavirus shut down the economy. They can’t afford to fly to their home countries — and can’t afford to stay.

How Germany Saved Its Workforce From Unemployment While Spending Less Per Person Than the U.S.

The pandemic has cost jobs around the world. Comparing people who lost the same position in the two countries reveals that the U.S. government is spending more on unemployment — but its citizens are getting less.

Contractors for Trump’s Controversial $3 Billion Food Aid Program Have Hired a Longtime Lobbyist to Tout Their Work

Lawmakers are asking why some federal contractors in Trump’s food aid program apparently lack qualifications to deliver the goods. Companies hired a consultant to tell positive stories.

Senior Citizens in Subsidized Housing Have Been Dying Alone at Home, Unnoticed Because of Coronavirus Distancing

The patchwork system of well-being checks in some of Chicago’s public and subsidized housing was not enough to prevent deaths in heartbreaking circumstances.

This Treasury Official Is Running the Bailout. It’s Been Great for His Family.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich has an increasingly prominent role. He still has ties to his family’s investment firm, which is a major beneficiary of the Treasury’s bailout actions.

The Secret, Absurd World of Coronavirus Mask Traders and Middlemen Trying To Get Rich Off Government Money

The federal government and states have fueled an unregulated, chaotic market for masks ruled by oddballs, ganjapreneurs and a shadowy network of investors.

Overdose Deaths Have Skyrocketed in Chicago, and the Coronavirus Pandemic May Be Making It Worse

Opioid-related deaths in Cook County have doubled since this time last year, and similar increases are happening across the country. “If you’re alone, there’s nobody to give you the Narcan,” said one coroner.

ProPublica Files Lawsuit Seeking Medical Stockpile Records From HHS

The suit claims HHS failed to promptly process a FOIA request for records about the Strategic National Stockpile.

Nursing Homes Fought Federal Emergency Plan Requirements for Years. Now, They’re Coronavirus Hot Spots.

The long-term care industry resisted a federal mandate to plan for disasters including pandemics. About 43% of nursing homes have been caught violating the requirement, including facilities that have now had deadly COVID-19 outbreaks.

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