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Critical Decisions: Which Texas Leaders Call The Shots On COVID-19

Texas Standard

The pandemic elevated tensions between state and local leaders to new heights. Texas Standard is documenting their decisions in a timeline and interactive map.

From Texas Standard:

Texans are hardly rookies when it comes to the back-and-forth between local government officials and Austin. They’ve seen it countless times during weather emergencies or the legislative session.

But the pandemic elevated these tensions to new heights, and Texans looking for a coordinated response were quickly let down. Leaders of Texas’ major cities acted early to “flatten the curve” only to have the state step in and reverse those decisions. Other times, the state took the lead, and those rules eventually trickled down to local levels.

Texas Standard is documenting those decisions here, in a timeline and interactive map, to illustrate state and local leaders’ responses to this year’s deadly pandemic. It’s an effort to hold leaders accountable, but also to begin to understand whether state or local authority, or a mix of both, is best for managing a widespread public health crisis.

View the project to see how state versus local decision-making is affecting your area.

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Caroline Covington is Texas Standard's digital producer/reporter. She joined the team full time after finishing her master's in journalism at the UT J-School. She specializes in mental health reporting, and has a growing interest in data visualization. Before Texas Standard, Caroline was a freelancer for public radio, digital news outlets and podcasts, and produced a podcast pilot for Audible. Prior to journalism, she wrote and edited for marketing teams in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. She has a bachelor's in biology from UC Santa Barbara and a master's in French Studies from NYU.
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