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COVID-19: Intergovernmental Relationship and Census


The paper discusses the relationship between state and local governments and the census role in developing these relationships in the context of Covid-19. Public policy, intergovernmental relations, and federalism provide the necessary framework for understanding the government’s response to COVID-19. Moreover, the reasons and difficulties in the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic are discussed, despite the presence of a considerable number of highly qualified specialists and the world’s wealthiest country resources. Coordinated action at different government levels is essential to ensure that the crisis’s response is useful in all regions within countries.

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International human rights norms guarantee everyone the right to the highest attainable standard of health and oblige states to prevent threats to public health and provide medical assistance to those who need it. International human rights standards give that in circumstances of severe risks to public health and emergencies that undermine the nation’s life, confinements on individual rights and freedoms are permissible. Besides, such detentions are proportionate to the aim pursued and subject to control.

The severity and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly reach a danger to public wellbeing that can legitimize the restriction of individual rights and flexibilities, as is the case with confinements on freedom of movement due to isolation. Simultaneously, careful consideration of such powers as the proper not to be segregated against, and standards such as respect for human dignity and transparency, can ensure a compelling response to the specific conditions in a crisis.

State and Local Government Cooperation

The COVID-19 crisis underlines the importance of effective multi-level governance in managing the interdependence that characterizes the relationships between different government levels, whether the government is functioning in a crisis. It also emphasizes the risks associated with inconsistent and highly bureaucratic approaches to crisis management (Paquet & Schertzer, 2020). Coordination between governments and at different levels is just as necessary between government and non-government actors, including citizens. Successful management of the asymmetric impact of a pandemic based on asymmetric responses highlights the potential benefits of experimentation and a place approach for exit and recovery strategies.

Vertical and horizontal collaboration are trademarks of the COVID-19 emergency in American federalism. Although the control and obligations of a national government have expanded since its initiation, states still hold sway and noteworthy power, counting the specialists to guarantee the open-being, security, and ethics of citizens. Preparing, impersonation, and competition have been all portions of the government’s reactions to COVID-19. Interstate participation that developed amid COVID-19, such as the Western States Pact, is one political reaction to government activity and inaction (Mallinson, 2020). In this way, COVID-19 allows assisting in investigating the sources of contrasts in approach input over states.

Local governments were involved as well as states in resolving the situation. For illustration, even though Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has given clashing bearings to neighborhood governments, Hillsborough District utilized the existing Emergency Policy Group, ordinarily used for storm reaction, to create steady approaches on commerce closures, cover prerequisites, shoreline closures (Mallinson, 2020). Therefore, smaller collaborative interactions can help spread future unrelated policies and enhance intergovernmental relationships.

An increase in state centralization can be noted in many states. COVID-19 has provided an opportunity for the development of relations between the country and the local population. The dissemination of power between state and local governments has been smooth, but states will often move during a crisis like COVID-19 to strengthen their police powers. It creates friction with local governments and citizens over the proper balance between security and freedom, as manifested in protests over government orders at home. But states have also fueled tensions with local governments by applying biased restrictions during the current pandemic, primarily as Southern Republican governors have implemented statewide policies to address the crisis. Over time, as governors stepped up their efforts to implement state responses, some have used cap preemption to create a standard at the state level.

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Challenges in Intergovernmental Relationships

The emergency put pressure specifically on state and local governments. First of all, an accurate picture of the country’s infection rate as a whole was needed. It required producing or purchasing as many coronavirus tests as possible as soon as possible to track the contacts of each newly infected person and, if necessary, isolate him from healthy ones. Due to the inability to test the U.S. population, they were blind before COVID-19. Besides, the test for the coronavirus contained a critical defect. Unlike the German one, the CDC test to detect coronavirus’s presence in the patient’s smear material used three, not two probes that detect three small fragments of the SARS-CoV-2 genome Theoretically, such a test should have been more accurate, and this third fragment of the virus genome often gave an uncertain result when analyzed, and testing had to be stopped urgently.

The commission has been established to develop regulations for responding to epidemics and pandemics at the national level. Precisely, in 2018, the country adopted the National Biodefense Strategy (Goodman & Schulkin, 2020). However, the practice has shown that the Ministry of Health cannot effectively coordinate the work of various federal ministries and departments due to the lack of real powers. Therefore, bureaucratic desynchronization during the crisis has complicated the relationship between states and local governments.

Government investing has skyrocketed as states buy therapeutic supplies and make brief restorative offices to combat the spread of COVID-19. Most states have moved their salary assessment recording due dates from April 15 to July 15 to meet the current government due date, making a transitory liquidity issue (Felix, 2020). Third, shelter-in-place orders in numerous states are anticipated to decrease altogether customer investing and, in this manner, diminish deals expenses. Even though buys of nourishment for domestic utilization have expanded, numerous states absolved nourishment from deals charges.

Role of the Decennial Census

Programs and services that communities need, such as school meals, health services, housing programs, and primary construction programs, are funded based on the number of people they can potentially serve in a given area. Moreover, census data are essential for future emergencies because first responders can use census data to identify community needs and focus. It is crucial that this data is accurate and can help first responders in future emergencies.

However, the pandemic situation complicated the population census, and the time frame was extended. Even though the Census was already conducted online, working with people who did not answer online questions was stopped due to the pandemic. This fact determines the role of the Census in intergovernmental relations. “If the outbreak ultimately makes it impossible to gather self-reported information from certain households in time, the bureau may have to turn to alternatives to fill in the gaps, including a cache of existing government records from other federal agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Postal Service” (Lo Wang, 2020). Therefore, the bureau will have to rely on government documents to fill in the missing information.


Felix, A. (2020). COVID-19 challenges state and local government finances. Economic Bulletin. 1-4.

Goodman R. & Schulkin D. (2020). “Timeline of the Coronavirus pandemic and U.S. response”. Job Security. Web.

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Mallinson, D. J. (2020). Cooperation and conflict in state and local innovation during COVID-19. The American Review of Public Administration. 1-8.

Lo Wang, H. (2020). “Coronavirus is making it even harder for the Census to count every U.S. Resident”. National Public Radio News. Web.

Paquet, M., & Schertzer, R. (2020). COVID-19 as a complex intergovernmental problem. Canadian Journal of Political Science. 1-5.

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