Trump can’t enforce state lockdowns. Contain the coronavirus, but protect our rights, too.
OPINIONChris Truax, Opinion columnist Published 7:00 a.m. ET April 1, 2020 | Updated 12:24 p.m. ET April 1, 2020CLOSE Social distancing matters. Here is how to do it and how it can help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. USA TODAYMedical science teaches us the need for social distancing. But distancing ourselves from the Constitution and the rule of law is no remedy at all.President Donald Trump recently floated the idea of an “enforceable” quarantine of New York, Connecticut and parts of New Jersey. He backed off the idea and settled, this time, for a travel advisory issued by the Centers for Disease Control discouraging people in those states from traveling domestically. But could he have done that? Could he have locked down 32 million people with a stroke of his pen? While America hasn’t experienced anything like the coronavirus pandemic in living memory, infectious disease epidemics were all too common in the first half of the 20th century. Polio, typhoid, influenza, measles and diphtheria all presented major health threats at one time or another. Vaccines and improved public health standards have made these diseases a matter for historians. Nonetheless, the lessons learned about controlling these outbreaks remain embedded in our laws. And they barely involve the federal government at