Oct 22, 2021 1 min, 35 secs
As the pandemic showed their importance, across the US laws have sought to restrict public health actions: ‘It’s a pretty grim future’.

More than half of US states have introduced new laws to restrict public health actions, including policies requiring quarantine or isolation and mandating vaccines or masks.

“We’re very, very concerned about the rolling back of public health powers,” Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, told the Guardian.

Separate investigations by Kaiser Health News and the New York Times found that at least 32 states have introduced about 100 new laws to restrict state and local authorities from addressing health crises.

Montana, for instance, has seen some of the greatest restrictions, with limits on quarantine and isolation requirements, new control from elected officials over health boards, and a ban on requiring vaccinations in workplaces – even in health systems.

“We never want to take away local control from any county official, much less a local public health official, in a pandemic.

Many public health workers have faced long hours and short budgets while carrying out historically wide-scale campaigns around contact tracing, testing and vaccinating – all while seeing precipitous drops in public support and facing threats and harassment.

More than one in five Americans have seen a local health official depart during the biggest health crisis in a century, taking with them decades of invaluable experience.

But little of the funding offered by the federal government has gone toward long-term public health planning, and it’s not clear if health departments will continue to have enough funding after the pandemic.

Public health measures have been in effect in the US since the country’s founding, and Americans have long had an attitude of individualism that permeates health as well, Rosner said.

It’s that the crisis of public health is a signal of a coming crisis in political culture,” Rosner said

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