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Presidential Powers and Response to COVID-19

Published time: 18 March 2020

Authors: Lawrence O. Gostin, James G. Hodge Jr, Lindsay F. Wiley


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) modeling suggests that, without mitigation, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), could infect more than 60% of the US population.1 President Trump has declared a national emergency along with 50 governors declaring state emergencies (Figure), which are unprecedented actions. Social distancing aims to flatten the epidemic curve to moderate demand on the health system. Consequently, whether through voluntary actions or state mandates, individuals are increasingly sheltering at home, schools and universities are closing, businesses are altering operations, and mass gatherings are being canceled. On March 16, the health officers of 6 local governments in the San Francisco Bay Area issued mandatory orders to shelter in place, making it a misdemeanor offense to leave home for any nonessential purpose.

Presidential Powers and Response to COVID-19



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