Monday, March 30, 2020

YLS Community Shares Expertise on COVID-19

Photo credit: Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAMS, courtesy of the CDC

Members of the Yale Law School community are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, offering expertise in their respective fields from healthcare to national security to the economy. Below is a list of news clips outlining just some of the different ways our faculty, clinics, and students are contributing to the dialogue and making a difference during this unprecedented moment.

WATCH: Faculty from the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale Law School participated in a Yale University virtual town hall answering questions from the public on the COVID-19 pandemic, including Professor Amy Kapczynski ’03 and epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves. The experts gathered via videoconferencing to address questions about disease symptoms; worst-case scenarios; protecting yourself and your family; coping with changing routines; legal rights; and Yale’s and New Haven’s responses to COVID-19.

GHJP has produced a fact sheet with information and links for Connecticut residents on protecting their rights during the response to COVID-19.

In early March, Kapczynski and Gonsalves were also part of a group of experts who sounded the alarm about widespread infection in the country and called on the government to act by considering new legislation, implementing important policies, and enacting spending measures.

Kapczynski and Gonsalves have published two commentaries about the crisis in the Boston Review titled "Alone Against the Virus," and "Markets v. Lives," and also were interviewed by Democracy Now! about public health policy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Over the past several weeks, faculty, staff, and students from the Solomon Center for Health Law & Policy at Yale Law School have been working on many areas of COVID-related health and legal policy, including easing restrictions to telehealth; expanding health care access to students now home from universities; and opposing executive orders that have restricted access to abortion during the pandemic. They are also putting forth important ideas for improving federal legislation and working in New Haven through innovative Medical Legal Partnerships to deliver on-the-ground assistance to those in need, including the incarcerated population and immigration detainees. Read more details about how the Solomon Center is tackling pressing legal and health issues related to COVID-19

Professor Abbe R. Gluck '00, faculty director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School, is part of a team of experts building a blueprint for federal legal assistance and coronavirus legislation. The group also includes Yale Law School student Erica Turret ’20. The group outlined their plan in a commentary on Health Affairs. The blueprint was also cited in a New Yorker article, titled "What Would a Proper Coronavirus Stimulus Plan Look Like?"

On the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Professor Gluck and Erica Turret wrote a commentary for Health Affairs about how much worse the COVID-19 pandemic would be if we did not have the protections and coverage of the ACA.

Professor Gluck also co-wrote an commentary in the CT Post with colleagues about how COVID-19 threatens to overrun Connecticut’s jails and prisons.

Professor Yair Listokin '05 writes in a commentary for CNN Business that we need targeted spending and regulatory interventions that  promote virtual goods and services to stimulate the economy while promoting public health. He also explores the economic implications of the pandemic in this Yale Law Q&A.

"Responding to the interconnected threats of coronavirus and global recession requires creative policymaking. Ordinary monetary and fiscal stimulus will not work in this case. Instead, we need to promote virtual goods and services that keep the public healthy and stimulate the economy at the same time."

Arthur Liman Professor of Law Judith Resnik writes in a commentary for Bloomberg Law that protecting prisoners from pandemics is a Constitutional imperative.

"Protecting prisoners from pandemics is not just a “should” or an “ought” but a “must”—as a matter of U.S. constitutional law."

A lawsuit filed on March 26 by the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic seeks the release of people in civil immigration detention who are at imminent risk of COVID-19 infection due to conditions at the Bristol County (MA) House of Corrections.

“The more people ICE continues to arrest, the greater likelihood that COVID-19 sweeps through Bristol County, if it is not there already. This continued detention is unjust, inhumane, and unconstitutional," said Megan Yan ’20, a law student intern with WIRAC.

The Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic has submitted a letter to the Supreme Court urging the court to consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on DACA recipients and in particular, their vital role in the healthcare sector.

“Healthcare providers on the frontlines of our nation’s fight against COVID-19 rely significantly upon DACA recipients to perform essential work.”

Professor Muneer Ahmad, Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, and Ramis Wadood '21, are also quoted in a New York Times story about this work. It was also covered in USA Today.

Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Global Health Justice Partnership Amy Kapczynski ’03 and Professor Michael Wishnie ’93 are quoted in the New York Times about quarantine procedures in Connecticut during the Ebola scare in 2014.

The Lowenstein International Human Rights Law Clinic is mentioned in a CT News Junkie article about groups that are advocating for the release of prisoners in an effort to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus within Connecticut prisons.

Professor Oona A. Hathaway ’97 and Jacob S. Hacker, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University, published a commentary on Just Security titled "Universal Health Care is a National Security Issue."

"Today, as COVID-19 spreads around the United States, George Washington’s focus on microbial threats to national security seems newly prescient. Experts tell us that the key to saving lives—within the armed service and outside it—is to flatten the growth curve of infections. That, in turn, requires those who are sick to be identified, tested, and isolated, so they cannot infect others. But as long as millions of Americans cannot afford to see a doctor or pay for a test, the virus is likely to be difficult to stop—and more people are likely to die."

Professor Paul W. Kahn has a commentary in The Hill titled, "National security matters more than ever in new era of coronavirus crisis."

"The coronavirus crisis should shake all of our assumptions about national security. The United States has been investing in a military establishment as if the next threat would look like the wars and conflicts that occurred in the 20th century. The administration has raised defense spending while at the same time cutting budgets for public health agencies. So it should be no surprise that we are drastically unprepared for the real invader."


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