State and local governments enacted various public health emergency policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in lower infection and death rates than would have occurred without these policies. However, some states limited the emergency public health authority of state executives, state governors, and other 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 limits 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.
COVID-19, Public Health, Health Policy
Health Policy | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Policy
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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.
Cornell Center for Social Sciences, USDA Hatch Multistate Project , National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant.
Zhang, Xue; Warner, Mildred E.; and Meredith, Gen, "COVID-19 Mortality Rates were Higher in States that Limited Governments from Enacting Public Health Emergency Orders" (2023). Population Health Research Brief Series. 230.
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