President Greenberg appeared on Capital Tonight with Susan Arbetter on March 5, 2020. He discussed the legal and civil liberties implications of a public health crisis.
Greenberg, former counsel to the State Department of Health, said, “Public health officials have immense authority to take steps necessary to protect the public from communicable diseases.”
He confirmed that the government’s “breathtaking” powers can enforce a quarantine, deprive people of liberty, mandate examinations and seize property. These powers date back to the late 19th century/20th century when medical science was not as sophisticated. “The only way for public health officials to try to maintain calm and contain the disease was through these extreme measures,” he said.
Greenberg acknowledged that we are not in a true public health crisis now, but “there is a serious public health issue that has arisen.” He added, “We are blessed in New York to have extraordinary public health officials. These are doctors, epidemiologists, people with PhDs who have devoted their whole life to addressing situations like this and they’re doing a superb job.”
He advised that we should listen to public health officials when it comes to advice on how to stay safe.
Watch the interview here: