Surreal scenes: How far will the government go to take away our civil liberties?

At least 17 states order non-essential businesses to close, large gatherings are banned, and entire cities are on lockdown.
3:55 | 03/24/20

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Surreal scenes: How far will the government go to take away our civil liberties?
These perilous times many Americans are sacrificing their personal freedoms for the common good tonight. One out of three Americans is under government orders to stay at home and at least seventeen states. Have ordered nonessential businesses to close in some states large gatherings are all together band. But how far can the government go in taking away or civil liberties and could we see here in the United States more extreme restrictions like those in China and parts of Europe. Our Maggie ruling has that story. And for a few days now Americans have seen so real scenes play out in their backyards entire cities among down. Canadian National Guard deployed. Flights canceled borders tightened. Not and most people's life time. And had there have been any Shang and anything similar yeah this. It's cool in nineteen rivers around the world America finds himself in to make startling decision. Public health disaster. Is not a dinner game plan stay. And maintain social distancing in times like these even our civil liberties the bedrock of our constitution. Can be restricted. As it potentially enter uncharted league. Waters liberties are being taxed at what is really important. Clinton times sacks his wrists and the government is not important. It's an and that's the real tax when China was first hit with a new corona virus back in December he's totalitarian government responded with a regional crackdowns. We launched is populated cities went dark and saw the consequences when people disobeyed orders. At the time it's still like their policies could never be implemented here. China's Communist country America has a democracy it. But China's quarantine measures seem to have worked for now. The reported number of domestic cases is down to nearly zero and now the US is facing a daily surge of new cases. And governments are imposing rules that are changing the data they lives of Americans. Be a good neighbor be a good citizen those young people they're still out there on the beaches. Thinking this is a party that time to grow up. You don't time to wake up. Ordering nonessential businesses to close their doors. Shattering schools. And. Leaving many families who wonder how they're going to make ends meet boarded up a little it's a fine line officials are treading that they jeopardized many people's livelihoods. So little box during the pandemic the states have broad powers to quarantine and ban large gatherings. And president trump can completely closed the US border but it sort of quarantined has limits. And when he declared a national emergency and the Stafford act it just gives him the power to redirect federal funds and resources. It was not a call for martial law it's easy to see how people can be alarmed. We saw in Europe close its borders major cities are completely shutting down them and it hasn't happened since World War II. In some countries people have been fine just being outside and some. And countries are increasingly using technology to keep close tabs on their citizens' movements. In South Korea officials used surveillance and credit card data to track down those infected tended Italy and Israel governments are following potential patients. Using their cell data. In us history where the government has quickly turns you how as being wedge issue in order to carry out. What would otherwise politically. In the US we might see pushed back against too many restrictions on civil liberties. And it could be up to individuals and the courts to keep the government in check. It's not unpatriotic. To hold our government. I don't know there are times rich state overreached. And courts and that we turn that he truly ABC news London.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"3:55","description":"At least 17 states order non-essential businesses to close, large gatherings are banned, and entire cities are on lockdown.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/US","id":"69761620","title":"Surreal scenes: How far will the government go to take away our civil liberties?","url":"/US/video/surreal-scenes-government-civil-liberties-69761620"}