DAYTON, Ohio—Each morning, Nan Whaley walks her dog, takes an online yoga class and then, in her role as mayor of this city of 140,000, girds herself for a steady stream of calls from constituents asking for help navigating life during the pandemic.

There is the senior citizen who is afraid to leave her home because she is worried she will get sick and die. The restaurant owner, terrified he will go out of business. The pastor, racked with anxiety that the church he stewards won’t survive this crisis.

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