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CDC Must Ensure New Quarantine Measures Grounded In Science; Congress Must Ensure Agency Has ‘Respected Leadership, Appropriate Funding’

New York Times: Why the CDC’s Power to Quarantine Should Worry Us
Kyle Edwards, student at Yale Law School; Wendy Parmet, director of the Program for Health Policy and Law at Northeastern University; and Scott Burris, director of the Public Health Law Research Program at Temple University

“…It’s imperative that whenever the next outbreak hits, emergency health measures are grounded in scientific evidence and guided by clear, fair rules to protect people from wrongful deprivation of their liberties. … [W]e want to ensure that federal officials applying the new [CDC] regulations [on quarantines] will act on the basis of science and evidence and not on politics and public fear. … Congress must make sure that the nation’s top health agency has what it needs to do its job effectively and constitutionally: respected leaders and appropriate funding. In the confirmation hearings ahead, the Senate should insist that the nominees to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, and the CDC have the experience, scientific knowledge, and integrity to respond to frightening health threats appropriately. And Congress should ensure that the CDC has the funding and mandate to fulfill the broader role it seeks. It should amend the federal quarantine law to ensure the availability of immediate judicial review of all CDC quarantines. With good leadership and good law, we can protect public health without compromising basic rights” (1/23).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.