How can declaring a state of emergency help U.S. state governments respond to a new coronavirus outbreak?

According tomedia The Verge reported that 10 states in the United States due to COVID-19 declared a state of emergency, the disease is caused by the new coronavirus, the number of confirmed cases worldwide has reached more than 110,000, and the United States has more than 500 people confirmed infected with the virus. The virus has been the case at a nursing home in King County, Washington, where 18 people have died. Since the end of January, dozens of U.S. counties have declared a state of emergency, the entire country has been under a federal public health emergency.

How can declaring a state of emergency help U.S. state governments respond to a new coronavirus outbreak?

Declaring a state of emergency allows federal, state and local officials to quickly mobilize and activate initiatives they can use to respond to crisis situations. “They’re speeding up the response in a way that doesn’t violate constitutional protections,” said James Hodge, director of the Center for Public Health Law and Policy at Arizona State University. It makes people say that we have to isolate 100 people now, and we will do that. “

At the federal level, public health emergencies have made the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) more flexible and can help states respond to threats. If necessary, it also allows HHS to suspend or modify certain laws, such as certain parts of the HIPAA privacy rules or laws requiring the distribution of drugs only in healthcare facilities.

Mr Hodge said state and local governments were where to take action. Although the federal government has taken the first step in its response to the new coronavirus and may put people in federal quarantine for the first time in 50 years, they will not be able to sustain it. “They rely heavily on state and local authorities,” he said. “

Actions that can be taken by states may vary, but may include the ability to require people to be segregated, schools closed or banned from holding large events. State governments may let licensed medical professionals elsewhere move there, or allow health-care volunteers to handle low-level medical tasks under the supervision of doctors. A state may or may not take all or no steps;

But declaring a state of emergency is why King County, D.C., was able to quickly buy a motel to isolate COVID-19 patients. In San Diego County, California, after a state of emergency was declared, it helped increase the resources of local hospital beds, and in Solano County, it set up an operations center to facilitate screening.

Although this is not always the case, States must declare emergencies to use other sources of funding, Hodge said. “Some states may say they are sending out emergencies to capitalize on the money,” he said, but some states may not have one to raise money. In New York State, for example, Governor Andrew Cuomo allocated $40 million to the state Department of Health without declaring an emergency.

The type of emergency declared determines who is responsible for the crisis. Hodge says emergency management experts tend to be the first if there is an emergency declaration. Public health emergencies, on the other hand, are held accountable to the health sector. That’s what’s happening at the U.S. federal level, and that’s why HHS leaders are reacting to COVID-19. Florida also declared an emergency public health emergency.

The type of emergency declared determines who is responsible for the crisis

However, not all states have laws that allow specific public health events. “For those states, this route is an emergency or a declaration of disaster,” Mr Hodge said. In these cases, he said, the general emergency declaration policy includes emergency medical situations.

More states are declaring a state of emergency as the outbreak of the new coronavirus continues to spread in the United States. As of this week, only a handful of people in the United States had been tested for COVID-19. As more and more states gain permission to run their own tests, the scope of testing will expand. With more tests, doctors may find more cases – for example, genetic evidence suggests that the virus may have not been detected in Washington state in the past few weeks.

States may analyze the risks and benefits of declaring a disaster in different ways. Hodge said some people may need more time to watch and wait because emergency declarations can hurt the economy. (Florida Gov.) DeSantis knew it would seriously damage business. Similarly, if there are unknown cases around, they must be taken seriously. “

Meanwhile, at the federal level, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is preparing for the possibility of President Donald Trump declaring a state of emergency, NBC News reported. This will complement HHS’s public health emergency statement, which will allow the agency to get more disaster support.

FEMA is not usually required for public health emergencies. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, responsibility for pandemic and disease response was shifted to HHS to improve health responseduring during a disaster under the Pandemic and Total Risk Prevention Reauthorization Act. “HHS will continue to be a leader, but FEMA may play a role in emergency management, but not in disease prevention,” he said. For example, if needed, they may be asked to help establish an isolation facility.

This will be the first real public health threat facing the Trump administration. Hodge said conflict between states and the federal government over the response to the virus had begun and was likely to continue. For example, the city of Costa Mesa, California, has filed a lawsuit to prevent the relocation of people who are in federal quarantine at military bases within the city. The federal government eventually canceled the program. Officials in San Antonio, Texas, also sued the CDC, asking them to release the quarantined.

“We’re seeing how the federal government and state governments respond,” Mr Hodge said. This will lead to some fierce legal battles. “