Is an Italian-style lockdown legally possible in the US?

The drastic measures include blanket travel restrictions, a ban on all public events, the closures of schools and public spaces such as movie theaters, and the suspension of religious services including funerals or weddings.

Do US state governments have authority for similar lockdowns?

Can the federal government order a similar lockdown for large regions of the country?

Would it require congressional approval?

What happens if a federal judge issues an order stopping it because it is unconstitutional?

State/Federal government have the authority to do it.
but it would never fly with the American public.

Italy has about 10000 cases and 500 deaths and the numbers have been doubling every few days. The hospitals in northern Italy are overwhelmed.

The US could see a similar situation in a few weeks in California, Washington state, and the New York area if attempts to control the spread are unsuccessful.

The choice may be a similar lockdown or getting bulldozers to dig mass graves.

Could Canada do something similar to Italy under its laws?

They need more power!

locking down cities doesn’t stop the spread of the virus we saw that in China.
all America can do is cast a wide net with testing and funnel resources to key areas.

Canada could do similar to Italy, so could pretty much every western country.
Governments has almost absolute power during public crisis.

The key thing to why Italy was forced to bring in the military was their healthcare infrastructure was collapsing.

compare that with country like South Korea who has been one of the best manged healthcare system in the world they have shut down a lot of public movement but not a complete shutdown yet like Italy.

we are seeing what is and isn’t working in real life.
we need to apply those lesson before the wave hits.

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.–US Constitution, article 1, section 9, clause 2

Requiring something like house arrest appears to be possible under the US constitution under congressional powers.

I am not sure what the statutes say. Does the President have authority to order a lockdown?

Yes, as does any acting Governor.

but martial law is a last resort move.

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South Korea has been testing a huge number of people and tracking cases. The US is behind in that department.

Yes South Korea opt for mass testing they set up mobile testing sites in every city.
their plan was to track ever case possible and shift supplies to highly effect areas.

They also suspend public gathering almost indemnity to lower movement.
They ask people to only travel for work or essentials.

the issue is doing something similar in the U.S would start mass panic.

Interesting questions.

We could start with shutting down travel into the US for anyone not returning home.

I am convinced this strain of Wuhan Virus is not not very deadly at all and is tough to trace and easy to transmit because it is relatively mild…Unless you are over 70.



Prove it.

Its a pretty interesting case one of the first thing America had to deal with after winning independence was a large viral pandemic.

Prove it.

when it comes to public health emergencies the states and feds actually have a lot of power.
42 U.S. Code § 264 allows the surgeon general to prevent the movement of an individual if thee is a threat of them spreading a disease to another state. individual state laws allow the states to take similar actions

the authority from it comes from the commerce clause.

during the 1918 flu pandemic orders similar to the italian lockdown were used in parts of the US to control the spread of the flu

It looks like the Surgeon General can order quarantines. I doubt the federal authority has been applied to anything like metropolitan areas or whole states.

All it takes is one federal judge to overrule that.

This lockdown came from city officials.

We may see a repeat in coming weeks if the number of cases keeps doubling every few days.

Interesting article on legal issues related to lockdowns and other actions to control the coronavirus:

“The government does have sweeping powers to combat communicable disease but there are limits,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. . . a case from the 1980s in West Virginia where a man who officials suspected had tuberculosis was involuntarily confined in quarantine. The man argued he was denied due process when the trial court delayed appointing him an attorney, and judges agreed.

Read more here:

Locking down whole states or large areas of the country has never been done before. There are real questions about what could be done under the constitution.