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WASHINGTON, June 2, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In the wake of public pushback against government overreach through recent public health directives, at least fifteen U.S. states have passed or are considering legislation to limit the power of public health authorities. In response, a national public health conglomerate has organized a webinar claiming the laws will “lead to preventable tragedies.”

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is a Washington-based organization representing around 2,800 public health departments across the U.S. The publicly funded body’s mission is purportedly to “improve the health of communities by strengthening and advocating for local health departments.” However, on their “Strategic Priorities 2018–2021” website, the first priority listed is “equity.”

To this end, NACCHO has established a “Health Equity and Social Justice” program, the sole goal of which is to “advance the capacity of local health departments (LHDs) to confront the root causes of inequities in the distribution of disease and illness through public health practice and their organizational structure.”

The program runs a number of initiatives centered on “social justice,” including a training course for public health workers designed to “address systemic differences in health and wellness that are actionable, unfair, and unjust.”

A complementary course, entitled “Health Equity and Social Justice 101,” instructs participants in “how structural racism and class oppression are implicated as root causes of health inequities as well as strategies for acting upon root causes.” The course also offers training in intersectionality, allegedly showing “how multiple social identities (i.e. race, gender, class) intersect and are experienced at the individual level and reflect interlocking systems of privilege and oppression at the structural level.”

The same public health association will run a webinar on June 8 to address “the role of public health authority in protecting the health of communities, and [examining] specific laws that would limit public health authority.”

NACCHO, working in conjunction with the Network for Public Health Law, compiled a 12-page report into “the forces seeking to limit public health authority,” taking on proposed prohibitions on health authorities to impose burdensome and unconstitutional requirements such as mandating face masks, business closures, and vaccination requirements.

Taking account of all their complaints, the public health report drew four major conclusions:

1. Legislation to block reasonable public health measures like mask wearing, social distancing, and quarantine poses an immediate threat to life and health.

2. Legislation to stop expert public health agencies from leading the response to health emergencies creates unforeseen, serious risks to life and health.

3. Legislation that strips authority from public health agencies and the executive branch infringes on the constitutional separation of powers and undermines effective government response.

4. These laws could make it harder to advance health equity during a pandemic that has disproportionately sickened and killed Black, Hispanic and Latino, and Indigenous Americans.

The report dedicates a significant portion (over one third) to laying out the proposals of 15 U.S. states currently considering or having recently passed one or more pieces of legislation that limit the reach and power of their local public health authority.

For example, Arizona is listed as introducing a bill (House Bill 2190) that would “prohibit Arizona’s state, county, and local governments, as well as state officials, from: (1) requiring a person to receive a vaccination, except in K-12 school settings; (2) conditioning receipt of government benefits, financial benefits, services, licenses, permits, certifications, public building entrance, or public transportation use on receipt of vaccination; or (3) offering special privileges, financial benefits, or other incentives for vaccination.”

In short, the new law would allow citizens to freely choose to reject vaccinating without the fear of reprisal, or state-sanctioned coercion. Furthermore, “[b]usinesses may not refuse to provide services, products, admission or transportation on the grounds that a person does not have a vaccine.” The report added that infractions against the new law “would constitute a Class 5 felony.”

NACCHO, clearly dismayed by Arizona’s proposal to protect individuals’ freedoms, explained the “implications” of the above legislation as limiting “the ability to reach herd immunity quickly in the state,” resulting in an “unnecessary and dangerous spread of and morbidity or mortality from communicable diseases.” The implications are drawn without sustaining evidence to support the claims.

In fact, regarding COVID-19, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine professor, Dr. Marty Makary, explained in a May 25 radio interview that natural immunity to COVID-19 has already tipped the nation over the herd immunity threshold.

Despite federal and state governments pushing a monolithic approach to immunity through vaccination, Makary explained that “about 150 million people” already have a natural immunity to COVID by being previously infected.

“One of the biggest failures of our current medical leadership is ignoring natural immunity,” he said. “They’ve given out no guidance to those who’ve had the infection, they just tell them to get the vaccine as if they don’t already have antibodies and they demonize them when they’re hesitant.”

He added that the members of the medical establishment “don’t know what to do with those who already had the infection,” leading them to simply suggest taking one of the experimental vaccines. Accordingly, Makary accused the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of being the “most slow, reactionary, political” public health organization “in American history.”

Like the bill in Arizona, North Dakota’s House Bill 1323, enacted in April, also brought the ire of NACCHO. The bill prevents any “state-wide elected official or the state health officer” from mandating “an individual in this state use a face mask, face shield, or other face covering.” According to NACCHO, this law “impedes a coordinated response to pandemics and other airborne threats that require face coverings as a mitigation measure.” Again, no supporting evidence for the claim was provided.

On the contrary, much evidence against the efficacy of using face masks to mitigate the spread of viruses exists.

Indeed a May 2020 study, published by CDC’s peer-reviewed journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, “did not find evidence that surgical-type face masks are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when worn by infected persons (source control) or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility.”

Moreover, a newly completed study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, suggests that mask mandates “are not predictive of smaller or slower shifts from low to high case growth” of COVID-19. The group stated that its main finding was that “mask mandates and [mask] use are not associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 spread among U.S. states.”

“80% of US states mandated masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mandates induced greater mask compliance but did not predict lower growth rates when community spread was low (minima) or high (maxima),” the researchers continued. “We infer that mask mandates likely did not affect COVID-19 case growth, as growth rates were similar on all days between actual or modelled issuance dates and 6 March 2021.”

But perhaps the most controversial of all the objections raised by NACCHO is regarding Tennessee’s dual-filed bill proposing to prohibit “governmental entities and officials from mandating or limiting the number of persons who may congregate in a residence, or in a church.”

The new law would therefore “prevent the Governor, the executive head of a city or county, or a governmental entity … from placing limitations on the number of people ‘who may exercise their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble’ at either a personal residence or a place of worship.”

But, taking umbrage with the protection of rights afforded by the First Amendment, NACCHO stated that “these bills would limit the ability of state and local authorities to issue orders that may mitigate the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 by limiting contact between individuals and groups of individuals,” such as by closing churches and banning social visitation. As yet, no outbreaks of COVID-19 have been verifiably traced to a church or religious congregation.