State and local governments enacted various public health emergency policies during the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in lower infection and death rates than would have occurred without these policies. However, some states limited emergency public health authority of state executives, state governors, and state and local officials during the pandemic. This brief summarizes the results of a study that used data from the Center for Public Health Law Research and Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker to explore which states passed laws that limited emergency public health authority during the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of those limitations on COVID-19 death rates. The study finds that states with unified Republican control were more likely to limit emergency authority during the COVID-19 pandemic and that limiting emergency public health authority was associated with higher COVID-19 death rates.
Public health policy, COVID-19, legislative professionalism
Cornell Center for Social Sciences, the USDA Hatch Multistate Project W5001, and a National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant
Policy Briefs Series
We thank Shannon Monnat for providing edits on this brief. This research was partially supported by the Cornell Center for Social Sciences, the USDA Hatch Multistate Project W5001, and a National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant.
Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Health | Public Policy
Zhang, X., Warner, M.E., & Meredith, G., (2023). COVID-19 Mortality Rates were Higher in States that Limited Governments from Enacting Public Health Emergency Orders. Syracuse University Center for Policy Research, Policy Brief Series. Brief #6. Accessed at https://surface.syr.edu/cpr475.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.