Alan Wakim and Dustin Bass go all the way back to 1944 with a not-so-talked-about law that was passed during World War 2 that gave incredible power to non-elected officials. The Sons of History discuss how this has worsened with newer laws, mostly passed at the state level, which will explain why health officials and other elected and non-elected government officials has so much power - near absolute power. And the demands from the power need not be logical.
Here are some sources you may want to view for further research:
Section 264 of the Public Health Service Act
Model State Emergency Health Powers Act
ACLU on the MSEHPA