Quarantine and Isolation during aCOVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.
It would be reasonable for the state government to deploy isolation or quarantine in the case of a viral outbreak in the U.S., such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The majority of the power to segregate or quarantine people under specific circumstances belongs to state governments, not the federal government, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Tushnet, 2018). It is essential to understand the difference between isolation and quarantine. According to the CDC, isolation separates people who are known to be unwell from people who are healthy. Quarantine is the isolation and restriction of movement of healthy people exposed to a contagious disease but not yet ill.
When there is a legal foundation, the restriction is strictly essential, and scientific data support it; the restriction is justified. Additionally, they are of limited length, protect human dignity, are open to review, and are proportional to the purpose (Tushnet, 2018) when they are not arbitrary or discriminatory in their implementation. Because of the scope and severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, there may be grounds for restricting some rights, such as those resulting from the imposition of isolation or quarantine, which obstructs the right to freedom of movement.
The federal, state, and municipal governments are permitted to quarantine or separate individuals to contain an outbreak. The Public Health Service Act’s section 361 gives the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to put policies in place to stop the spread of infectious diseases between states and other nations (Tushnet, 2018). The CDC represents the Secretary in these situations.
Tushnet, M. (2018). The constitutional politics of emergency powers: Some conceptual issues. Emergencies and the Limits of Legality, 145-155. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511552021.007
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In the event of a viral outbreak in a U.S. state, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, do you think it would be appropriate for the state government to use quarantine or isolation to control the outbreak?
Under what conditions would it be appropriate? Explain your rationale.
In general, discuss whether you think federal, state, and local governments have the authority to quarantine or isolate citizens to control an outbreak.
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