Passengers on a plane wearing masks.

The Future of Public Health Law Lies in the Past — And Lawyers Need to Learn It

By Barbara Pfeffer Billauer

Currently on appeal before the 11th Circuit is the question of whether a federal Administrative Agency (here, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has the power to mandate masking on public transportation.

The case stems from the decision of a Florida judge, Kathryn Mizelle, in Health Freedom Def. Fund v. Biden, who ruled the agency overstepped its powers as enumerated under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

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ACCRA, GHANA: April 23, 2020 - The testing of samples for the coronavirus in a veterinary lab in Accra, Ghana.

Does It Really Matter How the COVID-19 Pandemic Started?

By Barbara Pfeffer Billauer

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, much air time and social media space has been allocated to the lab leak vs. natural spillover dispute regarding the origins of SARS-CoV-2.

To summarize briefly, the question is whether the pandemic was caused by a leak from a biosafety level (BSL) four lab in Wuhan, China, or whether it arose naturally as a consequence of a virus jumping from a bat to an animal and then to humans.

Given that the “truth” will likely never be known, and certainly not provable, the question becomes: is it important to seriously consider the lab leak theory?

The answer, I suggest, is an unabashed yes — but not for the reason you might think. The question is important prospectively, not retrospectively. Debating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic is a fool’s errand. Considering laboratory accidents writ large, however, is important, as they remain a potent threat to international biosecurity.

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