February 14, 2020

No Right to Quarantine Foreigners over Coronavirus

Timothy Birdnow

The Center for Disease Control is overreacting, according to some "experts".

From the Belleville News Democrat:

Law professors Lawrence Gostin and James Hodge write that the federal response to COVID-19, as the virus is now known, goes beyond how authorities responded to earlier crisis such as SARS, swine flu and Ebola.

The coronavirus had infectedalmost 47,000 around the world as of Thursday, according to the World Health Organization, and 1,368 had died. Most of the people infected with the virus have been in and around Wuhan, a city in central China’s Hubei province.

Since the outbreak started, public health officials have set up quarantine centers at military bases for U.S. citizens evacuated from Hubei. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered 200 people quarantined for 14 days after they were airlifted from Wuhan in late January.

The CDC has instituted a mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone coming from Hubei province.

Those quarantines, the scholars write, "may be justifiable.”

"Hubei is currently a ‘hot zone’ of contagion where individuals have significant risks of exposure. The quarantine period also is justified by epidemiologic data placing the outer limit of asymptomatic transmission at 14 days,” they said.

But quarantines for anyone arriving from China "appear excessive,” they said.

That is right. I had bitter arguments when the Ebola epidemic was raging about letting people come here from West Africa. I thought it a terrible idea. But now the CDC is cracking down on a flu bug.

I was a lot more worried about Ebola.

The article continues:

"Although meaningful, these due process measures are constitutionally insufficient. The Supreme Court requires ‘clear and convincing’ evidence (not reasonable beliefs) for civil confinements, with the right to appeal to independent tribunals,” the professors said in the journal.

The article also argues that banning entry to non-U.S. nationals who have visited China "are overbroad because there is no individualized risk assessment.” These people could be given health screenings and monitoring instead of being banned from the United States outright.

"World Health Organization officially recommends against widespread travel restrictions under the International Health Regulations, including the US entry ban,” they said.

Horse poop. We can ban non-nationals for any reason we so desire.

This notion that we have to let people come here is a very modern idea, and a very dangerous one. It presupposes national sovereignty doesn't really exist, that we are all "citizens of the world" and have a right to go where we will. It would have been an alien concept as little as fifty years ago.

So, does that mean we SHOULD impose strict quarantines? Depends. But I have far greater trust of this process under the Trump Administration than I did under the Obama junta.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 11:00 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Posted by: wilson bushman at February 14, 2020 07:16 PM (sUvq5)

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