The World Health Organization declared the 2019 outbreak of a novel coronavirus COVID-19, also known as SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on January 21, 2020. Since its arrival, state governments have taken varying degrees of legal action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and mitigate its devastating impact on the public’s health and health care systems. Primarily issued through state executive orders and emergency proclamations, social distancing measures include travel restrictions, stay at home orders, curfews, mask-wearing requirements, business and school closures, and gathering bans. States have also restricted medical procedures like abortion, and implemented temporary policies regarding the operations of correctional facilities, like the mandatory release of inmates. Certain states have also preempted local governments from enacting their own mitigation policies, while others expressly allow local governments to act and impose additional requirements that go beyond state measures.
Thursday, April 30, 2020