ASTHO Statement Following COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration

March 13, 2020

ARLINGTON, VA—Michael Fraser, chief executive officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), issued the following statement today after President Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency.

“The President’s emergency declaration was necessary and important to support the ongoing state and local response to COVID-19. It’s necessary because it will accelerate federal, state, and regional response efforts. It’s important because it recognizes the major impact COVID-19 has had on the everyday life of Americans and the impact to come as state and local leaders attempt to mitigate the virus’s spread.

"While CDC is diligently working to get needed financial resources to state, territorial, tribal, and local public health agencies, a federal emergency declaration allows for additional rapid resource distribution. It also provides public health and healthcare systems the opportunity to quickly respond to COVID-19 by waiving regulations and conditions that might impede emergency response.

"Our nation’s public health leaders continue to work around the clock to respond to this unprecedented global pandemic. The President’s action today acknowledges both the potential severity of COVID-19’s spread in the United States and the fact that we will be responding to COVID-19’s impact for the foreseeable future.”

For more on ASTHO’s work to support state and territorial response to COVID-19 visit


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.