As a handful of states begin to reopen certain businesses, with support from the Trump administration, the policy divides over stay at home orders are as fractious as ever. With federal estimates predicting 3,000 COVID-19 deaths a day by the summer, it’s a long time till we’re back to normal.

This week in OtherWords, Scott Klinger argues that as long as small businesses are shuttered and workers are unemployed, corporate landlords should be restricted from hounding them for rent or mortgage payments. Jill Richardson writes that whatever side of the “reopening” question we’re on, we should remember our empathy. And Jim Hightower reports on how the administration is using the confusion to attack the public postal service.

Also this week, Chuck Collins and Helen Flannery offer a smart idea to free up hundreds of billions in relief funds, at no cost to taxpayers: a charity stimulus. With private foundations sitting on over $1 trillion, they write, Congress needs to help get that money in the coffers of local nonprofits.

Finally, we offer a firsthand account from Arizona, where progressive care unit nurse “Alex” — whose last name we’ve withheld — reports on medical staff going without protective gear, while a nearby construction company gets billions to build a border wall. In the age of COVID, what does the wall mean for health care in the borderlands?

New This Week…

I’m a Frontline Nurse in Arizona. We Need Masks, Not a Border Wall. | Alex
Wall construction threatens to put our rural hospital systems in the borderlands at a much higher risk.

Time for an Emergency Charity Stimulus | Chuck Collins and Helen Flannery
Vast private foundations are sitting on over $1 trillion in assets. In this crisis, we need to get that money to frontline nonprofits.

If Small Businesses Aren’t Essential, Neither Is Collecting Rent | Scott Klinger
Without rent and mortgage relief, millions of families and smaller landlords could lose their homes and businesses.

Remembering Our Empathy | Jill Richardson
Stay at home orders are necessary. But we need to remember that they can be economically, or emotionally, difficult to follow.

Don’t Let Trump Gut the Post Office | Jim Hightower
What kind of leader thinks in a pandemic: “Here’s our chance to kill the postal service!”

The COVID Slippery Slope | Khalil Bendib
Free testing? Less pollution? What’s next?!

In Case You Missed It…

Rural America Deserves a Real COVID-19 Response | Gloria Oladipo
Rural residents are more likely to be older and uninsured, while 350 rural hospitals are at risk of closing. They can’t afford neglect now.

Stop Hospitals from Hounding Poor Patients | Leo Lopez
No family should have to worry about a hospital taking them to court when their loved one is connected to a ventilator.

A Death Sentence for Meatpackers | Jill Richardson
Meatpackers are contracting COVID-19 and dying. Trump is requiring them to work — and shielding their employers from liability.

Postal Carriers Are Essential Workers. They Need a Stimulus, Too. | Sarah Anderson
The president is trying to use the coronavirus crisis to kill the public postal service. We can’t let him.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of OtherWords.org.