Americans are voicing their concerns about the government taking aggressive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Public closures and restrictions vary across the United States, leading some to question if the limitations are constitutional. James Hodge, a Public Health Law Professor at Arizona State University, says the short answer is yes, if it's a state or local government.
“States have what we call the police powers,” Hodge said. “These aren’t law enforcement powers. These are the powers to protect the general health and welfare of society. We use these constantly, but in emergencies, states’ powers there are extensive and expedited.”
Hodge says Americans never lose their constitutional rights, but governments can ask individuals to stay at home or close public spaces during a health emergency.
“Actual lockdowns, like the ones you saw in China, if it’s attempted in the United States, I think you are going to see significant constitutional challenges” Hodge added.
Hodge doesn’t anticipate that kind of lockdown in the United States.