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Greater than half of US states have launched new legal guidelines to limit public well being actions, together with insurance policies requiring quarantine or isolation and mandating vaccines or masks.
Between the brand new legal guidelines and the large workforce departures in the course of the pandemic, public well being in America is now in disaster, specialists say.
The brand new restrictions and shortages not solely have an effect on responses to the coronavirus but in addition make it more durable to include outbreaks of the flu, measles and different well being crises, and so they put the US in a weaker place to fight future pandemics.
Simply because the pandemic has fuelled a burnout disaster amongst frontline medical employees, it has been calamitous for the psychological well being of staff in public well being. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer on the Affiliation of State and Territorial Well being Officers, advised the Guardian:
We’re very, very involved concerning the rolling again of public well being powers. We thought there was going to be a renaissance for public well being, and we could also be on the cusp of a significant decline.
Separate investigations by Kaiser Well being Information and the New York Instances discovered that no less than 32 states have launched about 100 new legal guidelines to limit state and native authorities from addressing well being crises.
David Rosner, a public well being and social historian at Columbia College, advised the Guardian:
It’s a reasonably grim future. That is an eye-opening second in American historical past, the place we see all of those traditions and concepts being mobilised to principally create discord fairly than concord round illness. I’ve simply by no means seen this earlier than.
Legislators in each US state have proposed payments to completely restrict officers’ capability to guard the general public’s well being. Some didn’t make it via the legislature or have been vetoed by governors, whereas others are mired in authorized battles.
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