This week we discuss how to reduce medical supply shortages; who calls the shots on COVID-19 response; what can be done to help people experiencing homelessness; parenting through the pandemic; North Korea's nuclear blackmail; and how teachers use digital instructional materials.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated, medical supply shortfalls may hit different regions at different times. “Hot spots” that have high levels of need may have insufficient supplies. Meanwhile, “cool spots” may hang on to their existing cache and even acquire new medical supplies because they fear becoming hot zones in the future.
A new RAND paper identifies a mechanism that could help ensure that resources end up where they're needed most. The authors suggest assuring cool spots that, if they release supplies to hot spots and delay acquiring new supplies, then they will have priority access to medical supplies in the future.
The Trump administration made a case this week to shift toward reopening the U.S. economy. A number of governors pushed back, arguing that it's too soon to relax social distancing, which is helping slow the spread of COVID-19. This tension highlights a fundamental challenge of fighting the pandemic: Who's in charge? In a new Q&A, RAND experts provide some insights, discussing the implications of federal, state, and local authorities pursuing different agendas during this crisis.
The recently passed federal stimulus package was designed to provide much-needed support to households affected by COVID-19. But what protections are offered for those experiencing homelessness? After all, “sheltering in place” is not an effective option for this high-risk group. And stimulus checks may not help either. RAND experts Aaron Clark-Ginsberg and Sarah Hunter, and USC's Benjamin Henwood, have outlined what a relief package might look like that better addresses the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
Parents are used to balancing acts. But the COVID-19 crisis has upended family routines like never before. To learn more about how the pandemic is affecting parents, a RAND team recently analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Their analysis provides insights into the number of parents working right now, the childcare options they might have access to, and the biggest challenges they face. Our team also assessed the coronavirus relief bill to better understand what kind of aid working parents might expect going forward.
Last month, as the rest of the world battled COVID-19, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un conducted four missile tests. This suggests that—even during a pandemic—Pyongyang will continue to use nuclear and ballistic missile testing to retain some international relevance and maintain pressure on Washington and Seoul. That's according to RAND's Soo Kim. And while the pandemic will pass, North Korea's nuclear blackmail will likely remain “a perennial affliction for which the world has yet to find a cure,” she says.
Before COVID-19 struck, RAND researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of educators about how they use digital instruction materials. Now that many districts have shifted to full-time online learning, the insights from this new study are arguably even more relevant. For instance, when asked what barriers they face in using digital materials, teachers most often cited the costs—both for schools and for students at home. This was particularly prevalent among teachers with more low-income students.
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