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Responding to COVID-19

Resources for US states

US state and local governments are facing an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation. Public servants, first responders, healthcare workers, and more are displaying heroic leadership in the face of the crisis. State and local governments are facing the extraordinarily difficult task of addressing unprecedented crises in both public health and the economy simultaneously—and the crises continue to evolve daily.

The documents on this page are meant to provide leaders with information as they respond to the unique health and economic challenges posed by COVID-19 and to offer examples of actions that governments and private-sector organizations have taken as they aim to protect their people and economies. They are based on our work with private-, public-, and social-sector organizations around the world. They are not exhaustive, and they necessarily reflect only this moment in time. Last updated on April 22, 2020.

Section 1: Organizing to address the crisis

States are managing many urgent issues simultaneously across healthcare, economic, and other critical domains. As this section explains, senior leaders might consider creating a “nerve center”—a temporary, targeted organizational construct that is effective in managing major, fast-moving crises.

Section 2: Addressing the public-health crisis

COVID-19, with a high volume of hospitalizations at peak demand, will have a significant public-health impact for states. States may face strains on capacity and access to care. This section looks at how to potentially mitigate those strains with swift and assertive actions in the following areas: managing capacity, testing, and containment.

Section 3: Addressing the economic impact of the crisis

The COVID-19 epidemic will likely continue to put significant pressure on each state’s economy, people, and businesses. This section presents a number of examples of internal actions state leaders may consider to prepare to effectively implement federal relief and fiscal recovery efforts.

Section 4: Meeting the demand for public services

COVID-19 is disrupting government services across the nation at an unprecedented scale. States may face challenges in delivering public services and meeting levels of demand. To meet the unprecedented surge in demand for public services, leaders can consider and implement immediate actions such as those described in this section.

Section 5: Caring for the most vulnerable populations

COVID-19 exacerbates many of the challenges already faced by vulnerable populations: food security, transportation, housing, and more. This section describes a number of case studies that offer insight into planning to meet citizens’ basic needs. In addition, leaders may consider targeted actions to care for exceptionally vulnerable homeless populations.

Section 6: Reopening

Against a backdrop of tremendous uncertainty, leaders across the globe are thinking about how to responsibly reopen their economies. In this section, we share sample frameworks for thinking about how to reopen economies.
The contents of this site, including any statements, articles, graphics, charts, checklists, and other materials (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or constitute medical advice. This content was previously posted on McKinsey’s COVID Response Center and is subject to our commitment to the Open Covid Pledge under these Terms of Use.