New York State Bar president on legal rights during the coronavirus outbreak

Hank Greenberg, president of the New York State Bar Association, spoke about the rights people have regarding their health while reacting to the news that 21 people tested positive for the coronavirus on a cruise ship off the coast of California.

"Society has a right to be kept safe from communicable diseases. But individual liberties are also significant," Greenberg told "America's News HQ" co-host Arthel Neville. "And how those rights are balanced in the context of what we're living with, with this particular virus, is a significant legal question."


"Do you have any rights to say no?" Neville asked Greenberg on whether or not someone from the cruise ship has a right to say "no" to being quarantined.

"You have the right to say no. And you also ultimately have the right to have an administrative proceeding, a hearing at which the government would have the burden of demonstrating that your continued confinement was necessary to protect the public health," Greenberg explained.

Neville asked if that person could be detained or say "no" if they were infected.

"But potentially in those circumstances, the government has the ability to maintain you in a confined situation to be quarantined even against your wishes until such time that your release would no longer pose a threat to the public," Greenberg said.

Twenty-one people aboard a cruise ship called the Grand Princess tested positive for the virus, and19 of them are crew members, Vice President Pence announced Friday amid evidence that the vessel was the breeding ground for a deadly cluster of more than 10 cases during its previous voyage.


Pence said federal officials are working with California authorities to bring the Grand Princess -- carrying more than 3,500 passengers -- to a non-commercial port over the weekend and test everyone for the virus. There was no immediate word on where the vessel will dock.