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Michael Sinha on COVID-19, Historical Pandemics, and the Legal Limitations of Quarantine

Season 1, Ep. 523

In this episode, Michael Sinha, Research Fellow at the Harvard-MIT Center for Regulatory Science at Harvard Medical School and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Health Policy and Law at Northeastern University School of Law, discusses three of his articles, "The Perils of Panic: Ebola, HIV, and the Intersection of Global Health and Law," published in 2016 in the American Journal of Law and Medicine, "A Panic Foretold," published in 2016 in Critical Public Health, and his most recent work, "Covid-19 -- The Law and Limits of Quarantine," published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this month. Dr. Sinha starts by relating the history of American responses--political, public, and in the public health sphere--to outbreaks of diseases such as AIDS and Ebola. He discusses the usual reaction on the part of the public to outbreaks of new illnesses and how such a reaction hinders efforts to halt the spread of illness. He then discusses quarantines that may be implemented by both state and federal governments, recognizing that there are likely uncertain constitutional limitations on using such given that the United States has not experienced a serious a pandemic like Covid-19 since the early 1900s. Dr. Sinha is on Twitter at @DrSinhaEsq.


This episode was hosted by Maybell Romero, Assistant Professor of Law at the Northern Illinois University College of Law. Romero is on Twitter at @MaybellRomero.



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