COVID-19 General Tips and Updates

Press Release - texts and posts predicting doom

I know most of you have seen many of the texts and posts that warn of the “government” taking over everything and limiting freedoms.  The “doomsdayers” never explain how these things are to be done or as one says “the military was in a two hour briefing” but never says what it was about.  I have endeavored to research this to give you some info.  NOTE: I am getting about 300 emails per day so if you send me a message and I don’t respond soon please call/text my cell.  Thanks.

Federal, state and local officials have declared a state of emergency, which allows them to wield additional powers in an effort to protect residents and curb the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak.  The result has been varying degrees of life-disrupting events such as quarantines, shuttered businesses and school closures -- which raises a multitude of questions about what the government legally can and cannot do. 

The federal government is relatively limited in what it can do to control people’s daily lives, as “police power” such as measures aimed at promoting public safety is generally reserved for the states. What Washington can do is impose certain travel restrictions and international border protections and issue warnings to avoid travel to certain areas. The Secretary of Health and Human Services also has the ability to declare a Public Health Emergency.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can also take certain steps under the Public Health Services Act. This includes imposing quarantines, like they did in the case of 200 people who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, and others who had been on cruise ships. The CDC can also isolate and examine individuals who they suspect or know to be infected.  

While the federal government can quarantine individuals or groups suspected of being infected by coronavirus, they cannot enforce broad lockdowns of groups in “hot zones.”  The government can make medical triage decisions based on scientific recommendations, but not based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, or ability to pay. Even individuals cannot be isolated without confirmation of infections.  Individuals also have due process rights, meaning they cannot be subjected to forced treatment.  

President Trump has invoked two laws that enhance the federal government’s ability to respond to the crisis. The Stafford Act allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to utilize government programs to provide assistance to local governments. (this is one of the predicted things that is going to happen.)  The Defense Production Act, which Trump invoked in case of "a worst case scenario," requires companies to accept and prioritize contracts from the government and to prioritize “materials, services, and facilities to promote the national defense or to maximize domestic energy supplies.”  While this provision has historically been used to ramp up military production, in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic the act will be used for medical supplies.  

For the States, police power can impose restrictions statewide, while mayors have the ability to put in place additional measures at the local level.  For example, “shelter in place” lockdowns, closures of establishments such as concert venues and bars that do not serve food, with restaurants restricted to takeout and delivery only, curfews, and closure of all schools, gyms, movie theaters, and casinos are some things that can be done by state and local officials if laws allow.

BUREN R. (Ric) MOORE

GOHSEP Intelligence Officer

Louisiana State Analytical & Fusion Exchange (LA-SAFE) Liaison

7667 Independence Blvd.

Baton Rouge, LA  70806

Office: 225.925.3674

buren.moore@la.gov 

In the case of terrorism, to wait for an indication of crime before investigating it is to wait too long. There is no guarantee of success, but there has to be a guarantee of effort.  Let's make it hard to hurt us.  If you see something suspicious, report it.    

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