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Politicians are Using Omicron as an Excuse to Return to their Autocratic Ways

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Director at Public Health and American Well-Being Initiative
Joel M. Zinberg, M.D., J.D. is the Director of the Public Health and American Well-Being Initiative at Paragon Health Institute, and a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. A native New Yorker, he recently completed two years as General Counsel and Senior Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President.

The latest example comes from New York’s new Gov. Kathy Hochul, who issued a declaration of disaster emergency that gives her and her administration broad powers.

Is this an instance of prudent precaution or just more government overreach? The answer is important since New York’s COVID-19 interventions have often been counterproductive. The last emergency declaration, in effect between March 7, 2020 and June 24, 2021, enabled then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo to impose hundreds of executive orders that micromanaged small businesses and health care and prohibited local governments from making their own rules.

New York’s Executive Law authorizes the governor to issue a state declaration of disaster emergency if she “finds that a disaster has occurred or may be imminent for which local governments are unable to respond adequately.”

The declaration allows the governor to suspend any state statute, regulation or rule if compliance with it would hinder disaster response. It also gives the state health commissioner authority to activate the Surge and Flex Health Care Coordination System, which organizes the pandemic response of all hospitals statewide, including limiting elective procedures and reassigning beds to different uses.

Read the full article in the New York Post.

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