1. Fifolt, Matthew PhD
  2. McCormick, Lisa C. DrPH
  3. Wilson, Mark E. MD
  4. Erwin, Paul C. MD, DrPH


This case study describes how one county health department in Alabama used the best available evidence to address the needs of its citizens during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors explore issues of scope of authority by government officials, individual freedom versus population health, and challenges of health communication during a disease outbreak. Despite the availability of vaccines, boosters, and access to vaccines by children as young as 5 years, COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the United States more than 2 years after the official news broke out of Wuhan, China. Health officials have expressed concerns that backlash against governmental public health during the pandemic will limit public health authorities from responding to the traditional challenges that were present pre-COVID-19 and will remain in a post-COVID-19 world.