COVID-19

No, It’s Not Over

The threat of COVID-19 continues to loom over us.

We’re all sick of being locked down, and the economic downturn has been brutal.  There’s a palpable sense that it’s time to put the coronavirus behind us and move on.  Unfortunately, the coronavirus does not agree. People now seem used to the idea of hundreds of new coronavirus deaths a day. Yet, even 500 deaths …

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Coronavirus Tests and Their Limits

Eyeballing trends in the epidemic? Proceed with caution!

Many of us anxiously scan coronavirus statistics, looking at trends and cross-country comparisons. Warning: We need to be cautious in interpreting those numbers.  There’s lots of noise in the data, meaning that it’s not always an accurate measure of what we want to know about the disease. Even death counts are not always reliable — …

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Do Epidemic-Based Business Closures by Government Trigger an Unconstitutional “Taking”?

Longstanding U.S. Supreme Court Precedents Indicate the Answer is an Unequivocal “No”

Lately, an increasing number of public and private voices have been raised in opposition to business closures ordered by state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.  In many such cases, that opposition has taken the form of lawsuits filed by business owners, claiming a violation of their constitutional rights.  Gun shops across …

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Climate’s Future in the Face of COVID

Even as emissions decrease, climate activists shouldn’t get comfortable

As many have pointed out, air and water pollution have plummeted because of COVID-19. My colleague Ben Harris wrote about the many positive environmental impacts that global-scale quarantine has caused – and they’re truly inspiring. Some have pointed to this massive pollution reduction to illustrate that “we are the virus”. Perhaps the pollution reduction is …

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How to Jump Start the Economy? Regulate

Smart Regulation Can Overcome The “Paradox of Thrift”

Once we begin to dig ourselves out from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to think seriously about how the rebuild the economy. And that should scare environmentalists. Expect a whole series of pushes from the usual suspects about we “can’t afford” environmental protection when the nation is in depression. That is precisely wrong. Suppose …

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Coastal Beaches, Public Access & the Pandemic

Important Legal & Policy Considerations in Closing Beaches to Protect Public Health

As part of America’s steadily growing restiveness over state and local shelter-in-place directives, the issue of government-mandated public beach closures has recently emerged as a particularly contentious issue.  It’s especially prominent now, given that many coastal states are experiencing their first heat waves of 2020. Many Americans are increasingly weary of and angry over public …

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In Support of Public Health Federalism

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Reactionary State Responses to COVID-19 (and Other Threats to Public Health) Don’t Mean Federalism Is For Suckers

For decades, “states’ rights” has been a rallying cry of the right wing. Most Americans are familiar with the dynamics that required the federalization of civil rights law, both in the 1860s and again in the 1960s, the protection of much of our nation’s federal lands, and the national crises that necessitated the federal government …

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What Can We Learn from Modeling a Pandemic?

Individual-based modeling offers untapped opportunities for policymakers and researchers

With the emergence of the corona virus, modeling – the science of representing processes and systems for purpose of analysis—has been at the center of debate how to respond to this public health crisis. Experts and non-experts alike follow the latest modeling predictions, and federal and state public health policies are grounded, at least in …

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What Do Tomorrow’s Leaders Think About This Mess?

Listening to student voices on the pandemic, climate change, and the future

One thing I’ve always loved about teaching is the opportunity to see important issues through my students’ eyes. So for my last Climate Law and Policy class at UCLA Law this week, I asked my students to tell me what they are thinking about the future of climate policy in light of today’s global circumstances, …

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Despite COVID-19, This Earth Day Brings Animals Closer to Human Society

Sheltering in place during the pandemic has had dramatic impacts on various wildlife, raising questions about our relationship with animals in urban spaces.

Two months into a global pandemic, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on human society. But outside of the monumental human suffering and disruption to our livelihoods, Earth continues to turn at the same rate, and the natural ecosystem continues to operate as it normally does. Except this time, the human influence on the natural environment is …

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