As Missouri COVID-19 Cases Continue To Rise, Federal Leaders Need To Step Up To Protect Communities

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO)…On September 15th, Empower Missouri and the Coalition on Human Needs released a new report showing Missouri is losing ground against the coronavirus.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 cases have continued to increase all over the state. Missouri is up nine percent while nationally there has been an average decline of 17 percent. Missouri ranked in the top five for coronavirus cases in the nation in September.

The state crossed the 100,000 mark over the weekend. As of September 14th, Missouri had roughly 106,000 cases, with more than 1,800 deaths and counting, according to John Hopkins University Data.

Track the U.S. Outbreak, State by State

The virus continues to thrive in rural and suburban areas. A current map by the New York Times shows the southeastern part of Missouri remains a hotspot for new cases in the state. Over the past week, Missouri has seen an average of 1,449 cases per day, an increase of 12 percent from the average just two weeks ago.

The impact from COVID-19 on Missouri’s people and the state’s economy is severe. The pandemic is making the hardships associated with poverty far worse, with glaring disparities along racial/ethnic lines. Missouri could face an unacceptable surge in homelessness as lost income makes it impossible for households to afford rent.

The latest data signals how important it is that the U.S. Senate immediately work with U.S. House leadership to negotiate, pass, and implement a robust package of coronavirus relief.

“Last week, Sen. Mitch McConnell led the U.S. Senate in a vote on coronavirus aid legislation that some called ‘the skinny package’ and others called ’emaciated.’ The latest Household Pulse Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the depth of food and housing insecurity in Missouri, and we call on Senators Blunt and Hawley to bring Sen. McConnell and their colleagues back to the bargaining table immediately to pass the robust relief bill that is needed,” Jeanette Mott Oxford, Director of Policy and Organizing at Empower Missouri, said.

Without additional federal aid, Missouri will not be able to provide the services needed to help its people recover and move forward. Lay-offs of local and state government workers have occurred, with 3,700 fewer government jobs in Missouri in July than in July 2019.

If U.S. Senators continue to refuse to negotiate an adequate COVID relief package, potentially leaving until after the election, they are abandoning huge numbers of constituents in vulnerable communities. Failure to act will deepen and lengthen the recession for Missouri’s families and threaten a flood of evictions when the moratorium expires at the end of December.

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Empower Missouri (www.EmpowerMissouri.org) is a statewide not-for-profit organization working to secure basic human needs and equal justice for every person in our state through coalition-building and advocacy. Founded as the Missouri Conference on Charities and Corrections in 1901, Empower Missouri has operated under four names in its 119-year history, but always with a focus on access to basic human needs and basic fairness.

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