Newswise — University of Delaware epidemiology professor Jennifer Horney said the White House's decision to force government health officials and scientists to coordinate statements about the coronavirus with the Vice President's office is unparralleled and extremely dangerous.

Public health emergency powers at the State level – to use the least restrictive means consistent with medical guidance – to control the spread of infectious diseases have been in place since the 1905 Jacobson v. Mass. case that established the legal justification for quarantine, said Dr. Horney, an expert on disease outbreaks who has trained rapid response teams to respond to outbreaks of novel and reemerging diseases. 

"While novel, this corona virus outbreak is not unprecedented. Federal investments in state and local public health since before the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent anthrax attacks have built capacity and expertise necessary for an effective response. Let these experts do their jobs."

Journalists can feel free to email Dr. Horney for comment or to set up an interview.