Policy in the Pandemic

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Policy in the Pandemic

Through a collaboration with Raftelis Financial Consulting, the Nicholas Institute’s Water Policy Program has been quantifying how COVID lockdowns have affected water use in several cities around the United States. Preliminary data indicate that the big effect of COVID may actually be in water bills, potentially affecting utilities' ability to pay their debts.

As the impact of COVID-19 grows in the United States, the lack of vaccines or effective treatment, coupled with anticipated subsequent outbreaks, has made it necessary to adopt unprecedented policy interventions across many aspects of daily life. Now many people are facing financial challenges resulting from these interventions and are struggling to pay housing and utility costs.

Electricity enables health systems to detect, prevent, and treat infectious diseases. But nearly a quarter of health clinics in sub-Saharan Africa lack power, and only 28 percent actually have reliable supplies. The Energy Access Project's Rob Fetter and Jonathan Phillips write that there is a critical opportunity to make health facility electrification a central pillar of both near-term response to COVID-19 and longer-term efforts aimed at economic recovery and enhanced resiliency in this region.

"Policy in the Pandemic" is a new weekly email from the Nicholas Institute intended to start conversations on how COVID-19 is affecting environmental and energy policy. In the inaugural issue, Director Tim Profeta discusses some of the changes that the Nicholas Institute has seen in its work and sets the tone for what readers can expect in the email.