On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared novel coronavirus (also known as “2019-nCoV” and “SARS-CoV-2”) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) named it a public health emergency (PHE). In the United States, the declaration of a PHE empowers HHS to direct funding to: (1) allow the distribution of information about the virus; (2) encourage research and development of diagnostic and treatment techniques; (3) improve efforts on screening and detection; and (4) support local and state in efforts to restrain the spread of the virus. Working in tandem with HHS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to watch the outbreak closely, and a diagnostic test for the virus has already been fast-tracked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through its emergency authorization power. The diagnostic test is only one example of the emergency activities we expect to see undertaken as federal and state agencies rush to respond to the 2019-nCoV outbreak.
In our full client alert, you will find an overview of information on the powers that enable state and federal governments to respond to a PHE, and the rules and regulations that are set forth by state and federal agencies concerning which health care providers, suppliers, and facilities may or must comply when a federal PHE has been declared or an infectious disease outbreak occurs under state law.