COVID-19 Urgently Requires New Quarantine Laws
Must Also Use New Technology to Monitor Compliance and Save Lives
For example, the first man tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire simply ignored a voluntary home quarantine, another was ordered to return to work despite a voluntary quarantine, and even someone as knowledgeable about the deadly health risks as CNN's Dr. Nancy Snyderman violated a voluntary quarantine imposed on her to protect the public from Ebola.
So both common sense, and experience with quarantine violations, strongly suggests that new laws to put some teeth into so-called voluntary quarantines are urgently needed to protect lives.
The law regarding both mandatory and voluntary quarantines, especially at the state and local level, is notoriously unclear.
What is urgently needed are some clear laws providing serious penalties for persons who undergo voluntary quarantine and then knowingly violate the order.
Such laws might also include penalties for lying about one's travel history and other possible virus exposures, factors vital in containing the spread of the disease, as well as for any person who knowingly facilitates the violation of a voluntary quarantine, suggests Banzhaf.
Also urgently needed, says Banzhaf, are simple and inexpensive means of monitoring compliance with voluntary quarantines since the public should not be required to trust the honesty of potential carriers of this deadly virus.
GPS monitoring ankle bracelets are already in wide and successful use to keep tabs on illegal immigrants.
Since most people would probably agree that preventing a potential coronavirus carrier, the subject of a voluntary quarantine, from risking the lives of others in public places is at least as important as insuring that immigrants show up for legal proceedings, these same devises could be required in appropriate cases, suggests Banzhaf.
Inexpensive and readily available software can now determine with considerable accuracy the identity of a person from the sound of his voice, or at least if the new voice matches a prerecorded one.
So, to help insure compliance with a voluntary quarantine anywhere with a home telephone, a computer could be programmed to call the person quarantined at his home number at random several times, and ask him to repeat a sequence of words in random order to be sure that he is home.