On August 15th, The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) released a proposal for new rules that greatly empower the CDC and HHS when it comes to controlling communicable diseases, like Ebola. If the conditions are met, then these agencies will be able to detain, vaccinate, and quarantine any person or persons for an indefinite amount of time without Due Process. To do this the “CDC must reasonably believe that the individual is infected with a communicable disease in a qualifying stage. 42 U.S.C. 264(d)(1).” This includes a “precommunicable stage” which is defined as the “beginning upon an individual’s earliest opportunity for exposure to an infectious agent.”
The problem here however is that the wording is such that the qualifications for being detained can be interpreted purely on the suspicions of the CDC/HHS. This power can easily be abused if not properly checked/defined and could enable the return of a McCarthyism type era where instead of accusing individuals of treason or terrorism, the government can detain someone with accusations of having a communicable disease.
Luckily, comments on this proposal are being requested so please read over the proposal and provide your thoughts here.