Commonwealth Policy Center

The purpose of government is generally to do for a society what individuals cannot do on their own. Defending its borders, building roads, and coining money are a few of the main functions of our government. Another is to preserve public health when threatened by a deadly disease. But what if government oversteps its bounds? The World Health Organization’s Executive Director of Emergencies Program, Mike Ryan, suggested in an interview that authorities who find family members at home with coronavirus in family homes should “remove them” because the contagion has been “taken off the streets and pushed back into family units.” Ryan said the government should “go and look in families to find those people who may be sick and remove them and isolate them in a safe and dignified manner.” It clearly overreaches and his statements are getting pushback.