Areas swamped last year are still recovering, Dahl said. "From what we saw last year, there are towns that have struggled to recover for months."
"People's livelihoods were decimated," she said. "And that was without the background of a deadly virus circulating in those communities."
Another concern: Emergency shelters are not set up with infectious diseases in mind, and noncoronavirus disasters could force people into close quarters, like Red Cross or Federal Emergency Management Agency tents, where the pathogen could more easily spread.
"These types of facilities generally aren't designed to keep people as a distance with COVID-19 in mind," Dahl said.
The Red Cross updated its coronavirus guidelines this month, saying it would enforce social distancing rules to place people at least 6 feet apart when possible.
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