Trump wants to quarantine: does he have the right to make such a decision and where it will lead
US President Donald Trump does not hide his desire to "reopen" the country, even as the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus continues to rise, and the vaccine may appear in more than a year, writes USA Today.
The president’s desire to put an end to social distancing put him in a contradictory position with respect to the opinions of his best health advisers. As the time for quarantine weakening approaches, a debate erupts over how America will emerge from collective self-isolation.
On April 13, Trump announced a unilateral decision, opposing himself to the heads of the executive in states across the country, where a huge increase in COVID-19 cases and mortality dictated conditions for self-isolation for residents.
"This is the president's decision," Trump wrote.
In fact, this is not entirely true.
Federal law allows Washington to impose quarantine in certain circumstances and restrict travel between states, but the Trump administration did not use these powers. The Supreme Court thwarted attempts by the federal government to intervene in state decisions.
“First and foremost, states currently retain the power to decide who stays at home and for how long,” said an analysis of the national security blog Lawfare. "Among the powers usually reserved for states is the power to quarantine people and otherwise protect public health."
Kentucky Governor Andy Bisher announced that parishioners attending Easter services would need to be self-insulating. Senator Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massey, both Republicans from Kentucky, took the governor's statement as an abuse of power.
Attorney General William Barr suggested in an interview with Fox News that such restrictions are “draconian” and that the Department of Justice will carefully monitor the restriction in order to balance public health needs and religious freedom.
When governors began issuing home stay orders
California was the first state to enact a residence order on March 19, and other governors followed that decision with orders of various restrictions.
Arkansas is one of the few states where there is no such order. “If we need to do more, we will do more,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday.
Without a federal directive, the system of restrictions on the country is a patchwork device, the efforts of which are mainly aimed at limiting large meetings and closing down non-essential enterprises. As a result, governors and mayors played a huge role in the coronavirus crisis for at least two reasons: the states enjoy wide autonomy under the Constitution, and the Trump administration has provided them with most of the decision-making process.
When Trump declared a state of emergency in the country
The president issued a national emergency declaration on March 13, a few days after the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic, and the Trump administration changed its initial outlook. The national emergency was separated from Trump's public health emergency announcement in late January.
This designation, formally made by Alex Azar, head of the Department of Health and Human Services, has made it easier for states to redirect staff who respond to the virus. The announcement was made in tandem with a quarantine order for US citizens returning from the affected areas of China.
What does a national emergency order mean?
Trump declared a state of emergency in accordance with the Stafford Act, which the presidents have been using since 1988 to declare disaster zones after storms and other natural disasters. This allowed the administration to release billions of dollars from the funds of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to combat coronavirus.
“This pandemic could have serious consequences for the national and economic security of our country,” the president said in announcing his decision.
Trump also cited the National Emergency Act, which allows the Department of Health and Human Services to change or repeal the rules for Medicare, Medicaid, and others.
Among other things, the changes facilitate the provision of telemedicine services, so patients do not need to personally come to the doctor’s office for some consultations, contrary to certain medical licensing requirements. This is also necessary so that doctors can provide assistance in different states and abandon bandwidth limits for hospitals.
When isolation orders expire
Although such orders in some states, including Alabama and Kansas, expire in April, others have an indefinite duration. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered the self-isolation regime to remain in effect until June 10.
Timing emphasizes the various conditions of state restrictions. Florida and Texas included religious services as important events, leading to potential conflict with health officials who cautioned against such gatherings.
Why Trump is in a hurry to "open the country" after quarantine
As explains Fox NewsThe president appears poised to begin opening up parts of the US economy as unemployment rises to depression levels. Unusual and severe restrictions imposed by federal, state and local governments have brought the economy to a standstill and prompted many Americans to claim their civil liberties are another victim of the coronavirus. People are prohibited from going to church, visiting relatives, and holding weddings and funerals. But Trump's main concern is the economy, which lost more than 16 million jobs in three weeks.
“Doctors could say, 'Let's keep shutting down - let's shut down the whole world,” Trump told reporters in March. - You can't do it with a country - especially with the world's # 1 economy. It causes more problems than illness. "
On April 13, Trump told reporters that he had "general" authority over when to reopen the US and said he believed the economy would "take off" as soon as he gave the green light. He said that he has a new task force that will focus exclusively on this task. The president said he is holding discussions with senior aides about how to proceed with federal social distancing guidelines, which will expire at the end of the month. Trump stressed that he wants Americans to be "completely safe."
But with such a “restart” of the nation, there are huge risks, primarily in the fact that a deadly virus can gain momentum. Trump said the challenge facing him is the "biggest decision" of his life.
From the early days of the virus to this day, healthcare professionals have emphasized that the most effective way to protect themselves from the virus is to practice social distancing and good hygiene, such as frequent hand washing. But until there is a herd immunity, drug or vaccine, the threat to the population is likely to remain.
Little has changed from the federal government’s 100-page response plan, which warned in March that the coronavirus threat would last "18 months or longer," according to The New York Times.
“It won't be like clicking on a switch: it's June or July, click and the lights will turn on again. It will depend on where you are in the country, the nature of the outbreak that you have already faced, and the threat of an outbreak that you may not have encountered, ”explained Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. ...
Neil Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, said that at best, the US will face a mild economic downturn, like after the September 11 attacks.
“If this is a three month stop, it will end soon,” he said. "If this is a stop for a year, it can be very detrimental to the US economy, and most importantly, to the American people."
Trump said Americans' health is always at the center of his political decisions. As of early April 14, Johns Hopkins University reported that 582 official coronavirus infections and 607 deaths were reported in the United States.
George Lowenstein, professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, said that choosing between human lives and economics could be a “false dichotomy”. According to him, it is not clear what long-term impact will be severe depression on human life.
“This will drastically reduce the quality of human life and will undoubtedly kill people as well,” he said. “We already had an unprecedented death rate from despair, and if we lose a generation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be fatal.”
Trump himself said that state governors should lead the response to the coronavirus outbreak - and for good reason. States such as Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana have fewer than 750 cases. In New York, on the other hand, there are about 200 cases.
Six governors from states in the northeast formed a joint task force on the discovery after signs that the curve is flattening. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, part of the group, said the economy would have to “open up” slowly.
“If you see [the infection is starting to grow], then you opened the valve too quickly,” he said.
Besides the country's health and economy, another problem for some Americans was how quickly individual freedoms were sacrificed throughout the state. The Americans were ordered to stay home, and state governments were instructed to determine which enterprises were “substantial” and which were “non-essential.”
Pastors in some southern states found themselves on the wrong side of the law for allegedly violating social distancing principles and using public services. Some of these pastors wondered how the grocery store could be considered “necessary” and the church “optional,” the newspaper notes.
John Yu, a professor of law at Berkeley, and Harmit Dillon, a lawyer and representative of the Republican Party, co-authored a column for the Hoover Institute, which states that, in accordance with the constitutional system of the Constitution, “the authority to quarantine orders rests with the same people who released: state governors. "
“Our officials need to explain if they could implement other policies to reduce the spread of the disease without causing such massive economic disruption,” they wrote. - Has the health impact of self-isolation been considered, including worsening mental health problems, projected increases in domestic violence, business owner suicides in the face of debt and ruin? We just don't know. ”
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