Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, backlash against public health authority is significantly limiting the ability of public health officials to do their job. Public health leaders have experienced personal threats, and many state legislatures have approved or are currently considering laws that would strip powers from local and state public health agencies. In many cases, these policy changes would diminish preparedness for future emergencies and worsen existing inequities in health and wealth.
Public health agencies are crucial for protecting Americans from threats to health and safety from man-made crises, natural disasters, and outbreaks of disease. Public health authority encompasses the legal rationales and processes that allow public health agencies in a specific jurisdiction to regulate business and public life and carry out both preventive and emergency actions.
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