Day: April 1, 2020

Background Briefing: April 1, 2020


Why There Is No National Lockdown in the US

We begin with the lack of a national plan or effort to implement a national stay-at-home shutdown as was the case in China, and is underway in Italy, the UK and India and speak with Lawrence Gostin, University Professor and Chair in Global Health at Georgetown University’s Law Center who directs the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law. He joins us to discuss his article at The Atlantic “Why There’s No National Lockdown: Enforcing a large-scale quarantine would be legally murky, even if it’s what the country needs to slow the spread of the coronavirus”. As governors and state officials become increasingly frustrated with the federal government’s confused, conflicting and haphazard response to the urgent need for medical supplies such as masks and ventilators, many are wondering why states with Republican governors who praise Trump like Florida and Oklahoma are getting more supplies than they need while states like Illinois whose Democratic governor is very critical of Trump, can’t get their hands on vitally-needed supplies and equipment. This has led many governors to be wary of angering our thinned-skin and spiteful president but while the chaos increases as the crisis worsens, it is harder and harder for governors to remain silent. But since the states have what are called “police powers” to control the response to the virus in their states and the feds can only close our borders but cannot shut down interstate travel, it is up to the president to lead, not by threatening to quarantine New York, New Jersey and Connecticut which he has no authority to decree, but by persuading Red State governors to joins in with the rest of the country to stay at home and stop spreading the virus.


Getting Around Trump With a Bipartisan Approach to Deal With the Crisis

Then with Trump’s partisan attacks hampering a coordinated and targeted response to the growing challenges states are facing, we speak with a bi-partisan veteran of health care politics Christine Ferguson, who was the lead staff member for both the Senate Republican Health Reform Proposal and the Bipartisan Mainstream Coalition bill during the Clinton Administration’s health care reform debate as well as Commissioner of the Department of Public Health in Massachusetts under Governor Romney and Director of the Rhode Island Health Insurance Exchange implementing the ACA. She joins us to discuss how both Republican and Democratic governors will eventually get their hands around this crisis in spite of the partisan and incoherent federal response.

How the Pandemic Will Impact Geopolitics as China Rises and the US Declines

Then finally we speak with Alexander Cooley the Director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute who is a professor of Political Science at Barnard College and Daniel Nexon who is a Professor in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University who helped coordinate the foreign policy group for the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign. Together they are the co-authors of the new book just out, Exit From Hegemony: The Unravelling of the American Global Order and we discuss how this pandemic will impact geopolitics and China’s rise and America’s decline under Trump.